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Sprain vs. Strain

Injuries suck! But it does help to know the name of your enemy and the difference between a strain and a sprain.

  • Strain: A strain involves injury to a muscle or a tendon, which attach muscles to bones. Strains, aka "pulled" muscles, are caused by over stretching or tearing a muscle or a tendon.
    Common strains: hamstring and back injuries.
  • Sprains: A sprain occurs at a joint and is the tearing of ligaments, which connect bones to bones. Ligaments are tough and fibrous bands, and can gradually stretch over time decreasing the structural integrity of a joint.
    Common sprains: Ankle and knee.

Fit's tip: To avoid both of the above injuries you should stretch after working out to ensure flexible, responsive muscles so your ligaments and tendons have less chance of being pushed beyond their natural limits and tear.


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Spectra Spectra 9 years
I've never had a sprain. Lucky for me, I suppose. I have had a strained IT band, which hurt like hell. I do also sometimes get a bit of tendonitis in my ankles if I run too much in a week (and that ALSO sucks).
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
I totally sprained my ankle a couple weeks ago, walking down the stairs. I just plopped down and sat there for a while. hurt so bad. I had surgery on it a couple years ago, it didn't get much better. My Ankles are sucky!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Been through this before...
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I hurt my knee really bad a few years back - I ripped my MCL - and to this day it still gets so fricken sore when I run! It's the only part I hate about running... :(
DesignRchic DesignRchic 9 years
Ugh talk about a strain, I strained my neck 2 weekends ago doing shoulder lifts with resistance bands. It was so bad, I had to get an Xray and MRI because I couldn't get out of bed for 3 days!
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