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What is the difference between a strain and a sprain?

What is the difference between a strain and a sprain? 🤔

You may think these terms are interchangeable though there is 1 big difference between them.

A sprain occurs in a ligament and a strain occurs in a muscle or tendon.

Ligaments join bone to bone, for example across the knee joint there is the MCL which connects the shin bone to the thigh bone.

Muscles attach to tendon, which attaches to bone.

There are exceptions to this rule, such as the patellar tendon… but this is a subject for another day!

Sprains and strains fall into 3 categories:

Grade 1 is a minor disruption which normally feels better within 2 weeks.

Grade 2 is a more serious disruption which takes between 2 weeks to 6 months.

Grade 3 is a complete tear which takes several months to heal or may require surgery.

Often you will feel good long before this but this is how long it can take for the tissues to heal.

With time, most sprains and strains will heal by themselves, but it is really important to get some advice from a physiotherapist who can help with how to manage these injuries.

We can ensure they heal properly so you can return to activity as soon as possible!

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