Sprains and strains happen to the best of us. Basically, the difference between the two lies in what has been injured. A sprain happens when your ligaments, which is a tissue that connects two or more bones at a joint, is stretched or torn. A strain on the other hand, is an injury, where your muscles or tendons are stretched or torn.
This can happen in a number of ways:
Due to an overexertion of the muscles, in any situation, whether at work or playing sports, or even just walking on the way home, your muscles may just give in to fatigue and fail, leading to a sprain or strain.
2. Awkward/bad posture
When maneuvered into an awkward posture, your joints and muscles may not be able to handle the excessive force that is suddenly placed upon it, thus causing a strain or sprain to occur. For example, when you trip and sprain your ankle, it is because it’s push into an awkward position by your body weight, which it cannot support in that position, thus causing the ligament to be stretched.
3. Poor health habits
People who abuse substances such as tobacco and alcohol, or are obese, or have other bad health habits, may be making themselves prone to strains and sprians, as they may develop musculoskeletal disorders which will leave their muscles, tendons and ligaments weak and susceptible to injury.
4. Not letting your body rest
Tying in with overexertion, when your body is not able to get enough rest to recover, and you continuously push yourself past the point of fatigue, you may over exert and cause your muscles to be strained, which would be disastrous to your body.
5. Malnutrition and dehydration
Those who do not watch their diet may lack proper nutrition, and thus be physically weakened, leading to increased susceptibility to injuries of the muscles, tendons or ligaments. This also applies to water intake, as hydration is a must for the muscles to work efficiently and recover properly. Therefore, a lack of water may lead to the occurrence of more injuries too.
6. Fitness levels
Fitness plays a huge part in how prone you are to getting injuries such as sprains and strains. As you develop your muscles through fitness training and activities, your muscles get denser and stronger, and will be able to bear more weight, thus this will decrease your chances of getting a sprain or a strain.
Naturally, the best way to prevent sprains or strains is then to keep yourself in good physical shape, so that your muscles, ligaments and tendons can be kept well functioning, strong and flexible enough to withstand any excessive physical force. This can be done through various stretching and strengthening exercises, especially in areas such as your ankles, calves and thighs, which are the most prone areas for sprains and strains.
In the case of recurrent sprains and strains, you may want to check with a doctor, and go through physiotherapy to help your muscles recover. Afterwards, you may choose to wear a brace to protect the area from further trauma, at least until you’ve fully recovered. However, wearing a brace for too long may cause your muscles to weaken and become reliant on the brace, so do take note.