Is it a strain or a sprain?

Posted on in Industry News, News

legsYou’re out for your morning run and all a sudden it happens: pain. You try and power through it, but when you get back home you realize this is unlike the typical soreness you experience after a good run. Is it a strained muscle? Maybe you sprained your ankle? Did you tear something? What’s going on?

People often use the terms “sprain” and “strain” to describe an injury. But what exactly those injuries include and how they happen are often unclear.  We recommend many of our products for the treatment of sprains and strains so we decided to look into what the difference is between them, how they happen, healing methods, and how to prevent future injuries. The experts at Greatist wrote this article which answers many of these questions.

What is a strain?
Strains involve tearing or overstretching a muscle or tendon.

Ok, how about a sprain?
A sprain is the tearing of a ligament.

Both injuries come in three different severities: grade I, grade II, and grade III. The higher the grade, the more painful and severe the injury.  A grade I will cause some minor discomfort. A grade III will be so severe you may not be able to walk on it.

How do these happen?
Strains and sprains can happen in any way. Let’s go back to the running example above. Let’s say you decided to increase your regular run from 2 to 6 miles. This sudden increase in mileage can cause a strain or sprain.

In some cases, you’ll know you sprained something almost immediately after it happened. Maybe you tripped and heard a loud pop or twisted your ankle while running and you can’t put pressure on it.

In the event of a sprain, maybe during your run, you felt a small tweak of sharp pain in the middle of a muscle. Maybe the day following your six-mile run your ankle feels sore. If you’re sore a day or two after a tough workout it may just be delayed onset muscle soreness.

How do I treat a sprain/strain?
We are not medical professionals, so this question is best answered by one. The experts at Greatist consulted Colleen Brough, a physical therapist and assistant professor at Columbia University in New York City. She says if the pain isn’t excruciating (remember, you’ll know immediately if you have a grade III strain or sprain) try the R.I.C.E. method. RICE stands for Rest, the injured area, Ice with a cold pack, Compress the injury with a brace, and Elevate the injured area. Brough suggests resting for three to five days and then try a short warm-up workout. If you feel pain during the workout after resting, it’s time to see a doctor.

How do I prevent a strain or sprain?
Everyone is excited when they start a new exercise program, but if you try and push too hard or not letting your body rest between training sessions you’re putting your body at risk for injury. The same thing goes for getting back to your routine after sustaining an injury: give your body time to heal. Take the time to warm up, ease into new workouts, and know your limits.

Click here for the original article on Greatist.