Sprains vs. Strains

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Sprains and strains are both common injuries that are painful and can interrupt your daily life, and the two are often confused. However, sprains and strains are different injuries with different treatments. Read on to learn the difference between a sprain and a strain.

An ankle sprain is caused by the stretching or tearing of the ligaments that connect the bones in the foot, ankle, and lower leg. It is a common injury among athletes, particularly in football, basketball, and soccer, as these sports require constant cutting and pivoting.

Ankle sprains are treated with R.I.C.E.—which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. A severe ankle sprain may require wearing a walking boot to help support the ankle.

An ankle strain occurs when the muscles in the ankle become overstretched. There are varying degrees of pain associated with muscle strains, from minimal discomfort to severe swelling. However, an ankle strain can generally be treated at home. Resting for several days will help to limit pain and prevent further damage. You can also ice the ankle to reduce pain and apply heat to help loosen up the muscle. Anti-inflammatory medications can also be taken to help reduce pain and swelling if needed.

For more information about sprains, strains, and other foot and ankle injuries and conditions, schedule an appointment with one of our foot and ankle experts at Anchorage Fracture & Orthopedic Clinic by calling 907.885.0221.