Sprains vs Strains

Sprains & Strains: what’s the difference, how do they effect us and what are the different severities.


Stretch and/or tear of a ligament (a strong band of tissue that connects bone to bone). These most commonly occur in the lateral ankles, knees, wrists and thumbs.

Sprain Classification:

  • Grade I: Mild stretching of the ligament complex without joint instability.
  • Grade II: Partial rupture of the ligament complex without joint instability.
  • Grade III: Complete rupture of the ligament complex with instability of the joint.


  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Loss of functional ability


Stretch and/or tear of muscles fibres and/or tendon (fibrous cord of tissue that attaches muscle to bone). These typically occur in the fit, leg (most commonly hamstring) and back.

Strain Classification:

• First-degree (mild) strain: Only a few muscle fibres are stretched or torn. Although the injured muscle is tender and painful, it has normal strength but power may be limited by pain.

• Second-degree (moderate) strain: There are several injured fibres and more severe muscle pain and tenderness. There is also mild swelling, noticeable loss of strength, and sometimes a visible bruise.

• Third-degree (severe) strain: The muscle tears all the way through, sometimes producing a ‘pop’ sensation as the muscle rips into two separate pieces or shears away from its tendon. There is a total loss of muscle function, severe pain and swelling, a visible bruise, and difficulty bearing weight.


• Muscle Spasm

• Muscle Weakness

• Localised Swelling

• Pain

• Muscle Cramping

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Angus Gould Osteopathy

103 Goods Station Road

Tunbridge Wells


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