Strains – muscle or tendon
A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon (a strong tissue that connects muscle to bone), is overstretched or torn. Strains are usually caused by putting stress on tight or weak muscles. For example, if you have not warmed up enough before explosive stop-start exercise or if your muscles become tired and you overstrain during exercise.
If a strain isn't allowed to heal properly, or if scar tissue forms, the muscle or tendon can remain weak or painful.
Sprains – ligament
A sprain is a tear in a ligament (a tough fibrous cord that connects a bone to another bone). Sprains are caused by the sudden, forceful twisting of a joint. The extent of the injury will depend on how badly the ligaments are torn or stretched:
- Mild sprain: ligaments are only slightly stretched or torn.
- Moderate sprain: ligaments are partly torn.
- Severe sprain: ligaments are completely torn.
If a sprain is not allowed to heal properly, there is a good chance the same injury will recur.