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Sprains and strains are common injuries. What is the difference?

A sprain is a stretch or tear of a ligament, the fibrous tissue that connects the end of one bone with another.  Ligaments stabilize and support our body’s joints.  A common example is anterior cruciate ligaments in the knee which connects the upper leg with the lower leg.   A moderate sprain partially tears the ligament, producing joint instability.


A strain is an injury of a muscle and or tendon.  Tendons are fibrous tissue that attaches muscles to bone.   A common example is the biceps tendon which attaches the biceps to the shoulder socket (glenoid).   In severe strains, the muscle and or tendon is partially or completely torn.


Why do these occur?

Sprains are typically caused by trauma that displaces a joint out of position and overstretches the supporting ligaments. In severe cases, the ligament tears or ruptures. A common example is a snowboarder who falls on an outstretched arm.

Strains can result from overuse of muscles and tendons, excessive muscle contraction or trauma.

Treatment for torn ligaments and tendons often involves  surgery. At the Centeno-Schultz Clinic these injures have successfully been treated with prolotherapy and stem cell therapy.  Regenexx allows the patient to use their own stem cells to repair torn ligaments and tendons.

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