I get this question all the time: “Dr. Jeanette, what’s the difference between a sprain and strain?”
Before I can answer that, I need to review a bit of terminology:
A ligament is soft tissue that connects bone to bone. A sprain is an injury to the ligament.
A tendon is soft tissue that connects muscle to bone. A strain is an injury to the muscle or to the tendon.
The severity of a sprain is graded as I, II, or III.
- Grade I Sprain = an overstretched but not torn ligament- you will feel discomfort and may see mild swelling but you can usually put weight on it; Example: “I rolled my ankle.”
- Grade II Sprain = a partial tear of the ligament – you will feel more pain than a Grade I, see swelling present with bruising due to broken blood vessels and torn tissue, and you will most likely not be able to put full weight on it; Example: “I twisted my knee.”
- Grade III Sprain =...