Soccer is fun, but let’s be honest – sprains and strains aren’t.
Injuries can be avoided to some extent, if you’re taking necessary precautions and wearing proper soccer equipment. But, what about the ones that can’t be prevented by these safety measures as well?
If you’re an athlete, you’re probably familiar with the excruciating pain caused by sprains. However, most of us get confused between sprains and strains, mostly because they sound almost the same.
So, are sprains and strains any different?
Yes, of course! However, they are both very common soccer injuries.
You’ll find numerous differences between these two types of injuries. On that note, let’s take a more in-depth look and acknowledge the differences, causes, and symptoms related to these injuries.
Time for kick-off!
Difference Between Sprain and Strain
A sprain is what you call a twisted or torn ligament. To be precise, a ligament refers to the sturdy band made from fibrous tissue, which helps keep the bones connected. Sprains usually occur around the wrists, knees, thumb, or other areas with lock joints.
On the other hand, a strain is when a muscle or tendon is either torn or twisted. In case you’re confused, tendons refer to the tough fibrous tissues that keep the bones and muscles connected with precision. The areas where strains mostly occur are legs, back, knees, and feet.
Symptoms of Sprain
This type of injury mostly occurs around the joints and may have either mild or severe symptoms. Some of the most common signs you’d observe are acute pain and swelling. However, other symptoms such as immobility around the areas occur when the problem is a little more severe.
Symptoms of Strain
Even though a strain happens out of the blue, you’ll still be able to notice symptoms, as it takes a while to develop. Like sprains, the most common sign of this injury is pain that keeps increasing with time.
With time, you’ll observe mild swelling and bruising. Occasional cramps are inevitable, which eventually leads to muscle weakness. Finally, you won’t move as freely, mainly because the torn muscle will be restricting your bodily functions.
Causes and Treatment
The most common way of hurting your joints is by accidentally falling, twisting your ankle, or sudden impact. For instance, if you continue to run on uneven ground, the chances of spraining your joints rise exponentially.
On the other hand, strains occur when you try to lift heavy objects suddenly. Physical activities requiring repetitive movements can also harm your muscle tendons, causing a strain.
Athletes follow a four-staged RICE protocol to recover from these types of injuries. RICE refers to Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, all of which combine to relieve the pain.
Although they may not seem different to the average person, both of these injuries are worlds apart.
However, the fundamental difference between sprains and strains is that one is caused around the joints, and the other one affects your muscles.
The symptoms may vary, but only proper rest and precautions help you recover from such injuries at the end of the day. But, of course, it’s best to prevent these soccer injuries right from the start!
That’s all, folks!
Janet Phelps is the owner and founder of This is American Soccer and an avid soccer lover! She played soccer for about 25 years in Flagstaff, AZ. She was forced to stop playing because of a permanent injury!