What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?

According to the Mayo Clinic a sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments. A strain is the stretching or tearing of muscles.

Sprains are often associated with knees, ankles, and wrists, where muscle strains most commonly involve backs and hamstrings. Sprains occur when ligaments are overextended as in landing wrong while jumping or pivoting. Strains happen when muscles suddenly contract during strenuous physical activity and from overuse as in repetitive throwing or lifting.

Mild sprains and strains may cause minor discomfort and may excuse you from a few chores but severe ones may find you in the surgeon’s office and off kitchen duty for an extended period of time. Signs that should send you limping to the doctor’s office are a popping sound when the injury occurred, not being able to place any weight on the injury, or severe pain. Swelling and bruising may also be present.

Anti-inflammatory over-the-counter drugs may be recommended, icing during the first 48 hours, immobilizing the joint or area, and elevating a limb. If the muscle or ligament is torn then sometimes surgery may be required. Check out the full article at the Mayo Clinic Web site.

If you need ice for an injury to reduce swelling, try freezing a Neck Warmer or Back Warmer for a few hours (place in a plastic bag in the freezer) and Thermal Neck Warmerapply it to the affected area. The coolness is comforting, without the harshness of ice cubes and skin damage from overexposure to cold. Doctors usually recommend 10 – 15 minutes of icing at a time. If the cold of frozen whole corn is not cold enough, try our Knee Pack, which holds a bag of frozen peas.Knee Packs by Catagory

After the swelling has gone down, take the “warmer” from the freezer and place it in the microwave. Heat helps stimulate circulation and improve flexibility. Our Comforting Creatures can be folded up and heated in the microwave as well as frozen.

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