Muscle Strain – Is it Always Serious?
Generally, sprain and strain are considered to be analogous. But in reality they are two different conditions.
Difference between sprain and strain
Strain: Strain occurs when a muscle is injured or when the tissue that connects a muscle to a bone is injured. Acute strain which is common among young active adults usually occurs due to road accidents, having a fall, or wrong movement during heavy lifting.
A chronic muscle strain occurs when a muscle is subjected to repeated injuries from the same movement, and this is prevalent among manual labourers and elderly people.
Sprain: When a ligament (fibrous tissue between the bones) gets injured, a sprain occurs. This can be classified into 3 degrees – first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree sprain.
- Any rough sport which involves body contact like football, boxing, etc., can increase the cause of strain
- Some sports increase the chance of strain in a specific area – basketball affects Achilles tendon, gymnastics can strain hand muscles, and such
- Weak muscles and poor tone can increase the chance of strain and sprain
- Fatigue and failure of muscle and ligaments
- Maintaining proper posture while lifting weights
- Regular endurance exercises
- Proper stretching before sports and gym activities
- Utilising protective gears like ankle braces and running shoes while playing
- Regular exercise and a calcium-rich diet for increasing muscle strength
- For people with physically challenging jobs, a suitable strength and conditioning program will help prevent injuries.
Also Read: 4 Questions to ask your Orthopedician
Ligament injury can cause the pain and swelling to worsen after few hours, unlike fractures. If you have mild pain, it can be managed with rest, ice fomentation, and analgesic medicines at home.
If the pain worsens, restricts mobility, or you experience tingling or numbness in the region, it is time to consult an orthopedic doctor.
Diagnosis involves a clinical examination and sometimes a scan or X-ray. Most conditions only require restriction or modification along with physiotherapy and bracing. Severe injuries might require arthroscopic or open surgical repair.
Though sprain and strain are not serious in most cases, prevention is always better than cure. Thus make sure to take all the preventive measures when working out or playing sports. In case of sprain or strain with prolonged pain, do not hesitate to visit the orthopedic doctor immediately.
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