What is the difference between a ‘strain’ and a ‘sprain’?

strainIn last month’s newsletter, we announced a new section of our newsletter where you, the patient, could ask Drew a health related question that you have been curious about. We had several responses and have chosen the following question in our first installment of ‘Ask Drew’.

Q: What is the difference between a ‘strain’ and a ‘sprain’?

A: This is a very commonly confusing distinction. At one point or another in most of our lives we have suffered from both, most of the time we didn’t care what it was called because it hurt the same.

A strain is an overload of muscles or tendons that causes tearing of the fibers. They are also commonly refereed to as a ‘pulled muscle’. Depending upon the amount of fibers that are torn, a muscles strain is classified by first-degree, second-degree and third-degree (the worst) strains.

sprainA sprain refers to an overload on the ligaments that stabilize a joint. They are also labeled according to degrees of first, second and third depending upon the number of torn fibers involved.

It is not uncommon to suffer both in an injury. Both sprains and strains can be painful, but oddly enough sometimes first and second-degree occurrences of these conditions can be more painful than third degree injuries. This is because the fibers are completely torn and there isn’t a tensile load being placed upon the fibers.

If you have a health related question, please ‘Ask Drew’

(Comments and suggestions from Drew do not constitute a diagnosis. ‘Ask Drew’ is intended for informational purposes only.)


Ask Drew!

Each month we will be selecting a question from one of our patients to explore in the following month’s newsletter. We know you have many questions about wellness related topics such as understanding injuries, managing stress, etc…and we want to offer you a platform to ask Drew a question directly that would also benefit other patients.

We look forward to receiving your questions!