What is the Difference Between a Strain and a Sprain?

Any active lifestyle puts the participant at risk of injury. Whether incurred while playing sports, during an everyday activity like walking the dog or working out, or as the result of an Ontario car accident, at some point in their lives most people will experience a strain and sprain.

A sprain is occurs when a ligament, the thick, fibrous tissue that connects bones to each other, is stretched beyond its normal elasticity. These ligaments prevent abnormal movements and hold your skeleton in alignment, but too much force can stretch or even tear the ligament resulting in a sprain. Sprains are commonly found in joints like the wrists, knees and ankles. When someone says they have a “twisted ankle”, they actual are suffering from a sprain.

A strain, on the other hand, refers to an injury to a muscle or tendon. Muscles and tendons work together to stretch and contract as they move bones from position to position, enabling our body’s to perform a dizzying array of contortions. When these muscles or tendons stretch too far, are stretched while simultaneously contracting (often sustained in weight lifting related injuries like a groin pull or pulled hamstring), or torn, it is called a strain.

Both strains and sprains are characterized by joints that may appear swollen or bruised and may stiff or painful. Treatment is usually non-invasive and may include anti-inflammotories, over-the-counter or prescription pain medications, immobilization, icing the injury, compression, elevation of the affected limb, and most importantly rest.

While you may not be able to completely prevent sprains and strains, there are some ways to lessen the odds of such an injury happening:

  • Stretch before working out or engaging in other strenuous physical activity
  • Also wear footwear that fits properly and provides the necessary support
  • Be careful walking on dangerous surfaces like ice or rocky terrain

If you are sidelined by a strain or sprain resulting from your Ontario accident, contact an experienced Ottawa personal injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth.  We will provide you with the information you need to make the right decisions about compensation in your case.  Call our law firm today 613 233-4529.

About the Author: Brenda Hollingsworth

Brenda Hollingsworth co-founded Ottawa’s Auger Hollingsworth in 2005 with her husband Richard Auger. Together, their mission was to create a personal injury law firm for Eastern Ontario that is unrivalled in the province for customer service and legal expertise. Brenda was named an Ottawa Business Journal Forty Under 40 award recipient and took home the Women’s Business Network’s Businesswoman of the Year award in the Professional category. She was also recognized as one of Ottawa Life Magazine’s “Top 50 People in the Capital.” She is often quoted as an expert and has appeared in media outlets such as CTV, The Globe and Mail, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, Sun Media, CBC, Toronto Star, Montreal Gazette, CFRA and many legal publications.

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