There is quite a difference between strains and sprains. They are commonly confused with each other; however, it is important for athletes as well as anyone who is highly active to know the difference. Strains and sprains are both quite common sports injuries, but they affect different parts of the body. A sprain affects the ligament. Ligaments are the fibrous tissues that connect the bones together in a joint. A strain affects the tendons and muscles. Tendons are the tissues that attach the muscle to the bone. Because strains and sprains are so commonly found among athletes, there should be some ways to prevent these injuries from occurring more than they should. The best way to treat a strain or a sprain is to practice proper prevention. Treatment does not always mean that the injury will heal properly or that re-injury will not occur, so preventative measures are the best way to make sure that your bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons all remain as healthy and strong as possible.
There are six steps to preventing strains and sprains from occurring. These tips come directly from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The first tip is to practice a conditioning program. Condition programs are meant to build muscle. Strong muscles get strained less and prevent from the twisting and rolling of joints that cause sprains. The second tip is to always stretch. This does not necessarily mean just before activities, but it means daily. The third tip is always wear the proper shoes. This means shoes that are fitted properly and have good support, especially in the ankle and foot arch. The fourth tip is to have a well balanced diet. A well balanced diet keeps muscles and bones strong. The fifth tip is to always warm up before any physical activity, even if the activity is just practice. Warm muscles and joints get injured less. The last or sixth tip is to always wear the right equipment for the sport. Wearing protective equipment that fits well and is designed for that sport will make sure that injuries are going to occur less. Strains and sprains of course can not be totally prevented and there is no way to make sure that they do not occur, but following these six tips can definitely reduce the chances. This way athletes can keep doing what they love and remaining safe and healthy at the same time. However, if strains and sprains do occur the advice of a physician should be sought to make sure the best treatment for the injury can be obtained.