A sprain is a stretch and/or tear of a ligament (a band of fibrous tissue that connects two or more bones at a joint). One or more ligaments can be injured at the same time. The severity of the injury will depend on the extent of injury (whether a tear is partial or complete) and the number of ligaments involved.
A sprain can result from a fall, a sudden twist, or a blow to the body that forces a joint out of its
normal position and stretches or tears the ligament supporting that joint.
Typically, sprains occur when people fall and land on an outstretched arm, slide into a baseball base, land on the
side of their foot, or twist a knee with the foot planted firmly on the ground.
Most ankle sprains happen when the foot turns inward as a person runs, turns, falls, or
lands on the ankle after a jump.
A blow to the knee or a fall is often the cause; sudden twisting can also result in a sprain.
Sprains frequently occur at the wrist, typically when people fall and land on an outstretched hand.
A sprain to the thumb is common in skiing and other sports.
To diagnose neuropathic pain, a doctor will conduct an interview and physical exam.
An electromyogram (EMG) may be helpful in defining a specific anatomic level
when nerve compression is present.
He or she may ask questions about how you would describe your pain, when the pain occurs, or whether anything
specific triggers the pain
The doctor may also request both blood and nerve tests.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms can vary in intensity, depending on the severity of the sprain. The usual signs and symptoms include:
Loss of the ability to move and use the joint (called functional ability).
You have severe pain and can't put any weight on the injured joint.
The injured area looks crooked or has lumps and bumps (other than swelling) that you do not
see on the uninjured joint.
You can't move the injured joint.
You can't walk more than four steps without significant pain.
Your limb buckles or gives way when you try to use the joint.
You have numbness in any part of the injured area.
You see redness or red streaks spreading out from the injury.
You injure an area that has been injured several times before.
You have pain, swelling, or redness over a bony part of your foot.
You are in doubt about the seriousness of the injury or how to care for it.
A strain is an injury to either a muscle or a tendon (fibrous cords of tissue that connect muscle to bone). Depending on the severity of the injury, a strain may be a simple overstretch of the muscle or tendon, or it can result from a partial or complete tear.
A strain is caused by twisting or pulling a muscle or tendon.
Strains can be acute or chronic.
An acute strain is associated with a recent trauma or injury; it also can occur after improperly lifting heavy
objects or overstressing the muscles.
Chronic strains are usually the result of overuse: prolonged, repetitive movement of the muscles and tendons.
Two common sites for a strain are the back and the hamstring muscle (located in the back of the thigh).
Contact sports such as soccer, football, hockey, boxing, and wrestling put people at risk for strains.
Gymnastics, tennis, rowing, golf, and other sports that require extensive gripping can increase the risk of
hand and forearm strains.
Elbow strains sometimes occur in people who participate in racquet sports, throwing, and contact sports.
Signs and Symptoms
People with a strain experience:
Some loss of muscle function in minor or moderate strain
Severe strains that partially or completely tear the muscle or tendon are often very painful and disabling.