Sprains, strains and dislocations - What's the difference?8:19 AM Mon, Oct 16, 2006 | Permalink
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Rhode Island high school sports blog
I think I sprained my ankle. Or maybe I strained it. Are you sure you didn't break it?
We toss those sports injury terms around all the time. But do we know what they actually mean?
In this week's Visit to the Training Room, Kai Aboulian, who is both a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Foundry Sports Medicine in Providence, helps shed some light on the most common injuries suffered on the athletic field:
Sprains vs. Strains
Sprains can range from first degree (minor) to third degree (the worst). Areas of the body most vulnerable to sprains are ankles, knees and wrists. Signs of a sprain include varying degrees of tenderness or pain, bruising, inflammation, swelling, inability to move a limb or joint or joint looseness, laxity or instability.
A strain is a twist, pull or tear of a muscle or tendon - a cord of tissue connecting muscle to bone. It is an acute, non-contact injury that results from overstretching or over-contraction. Symptoms of a strain include pain, muscle spasm and loss of strength. While it’s hard to tell the difference between mild and moderate strains, severe strains not treated professionally can cause damage and loss of function.
Knee injuries can range from mild to severe. Less severe would be tendinitis, patella femoral compression syndrome, iliotibial band syndrome and bursitis, to name a few.
Knee injuries can result from a blow to or twist to the knee, from improper landing after a jump or from running too hard, too much or without proper warm up.
Other common sports injuries suffered by athletes are shin splints, Achilles tendon injuries, patella dislocation and hamstring, quadriceps and calf injuries.
The most common symptom of a stress fracture is pain at the site that worsens with weight bearing activities. Tenderness and swelling often accompany the pain. This is very important for the coaches to recognize and refer the athlete to the trainers or the team physicians.
If you have a specific sports medicine question for Kai, e-mail it to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.