Sprain vs Strain – Difference and Comparison

What is Sprain?

There is a strong band of tissues that is present in your joints to connect two bones; this band is called ligaments. A sprain is an injury that happens to ligaments. In a sprain, there is a painful tearing, twisting, and stretching of your ligaments. According to medical experts, a sprain occurs in your ankle for multiple reasons. Their treatment ranges from remedies to surgery.

There can be a number of causes that produce sprain in your body. An ankle sprain occurs when you are walking or jumping on a bumpy or unparallel surface that causes your bones to move unevenly, thus causing them to displace. A wrist sprain is mainly caused by landing on a hand when you are about fall somewhere. Thumb sprain is caused when you make unallowed extensions of your thumb while doing an activity, e.g., playing.

A sprain is equally happenable and excruciating for both children and adults. However, it can be severe in children because their tissues are not as strict as in adults. People confuse sprain with minor injuries. A sprain is characterized by severe pain in the aforesaid areas of the body, harsh brushing in an accident or fall, swelling on any of these areas, inability to move joints, or by hearing a crackling sound in your joints.

What is Strain?

Strain refers to the injury that occurs to a muscle or the tissue that joins muscles and bones. It is marked by the stretching, twisting, or wholly tearing of the part. The most targeted areas of sprains are your lower back and thighs. As per the testimonies of patients, strains are highly painful and temporarily impair you from performing daily activities.

Some of the common causes of strains are lifting heavier objects in a wrong posture or continuing to act in an injurious position of muscles. Usually, legs, ankles, elbows, and hands are the most vulnerable body parts to strains. In order to avoid strains, health experts suggest that while practicing and playing sports or doing heavy toil, you make sure you are in an appropriate posture of your body.

When a strain occurs in any muscle of the body, it starts to ache beyond endurance. There starts to appear redness on the surface of the muscle. Your ability to move is minimized. Swelling and weakening of muscles are also two of the major symptoms of strains. A sprain becomes likely if these indicators are seen.

Difference Between Sprain and Strain

  1. A sprain occurs in a joint, whereas the targeted area of a strain is a muscle or tendon.
  2. A sprain is when a joint is extended more than its flexibility, whereas a strain is likely when excessive force is applied to muscle fibers.
  3. A sprain is injurious to the workability of a joint, whereas a strain makes it hard for you to move because of its targeted areas.
  4. A sprain occurs in the wrist, thumb, or ankle, whereas a strain is caused in the lower back and thighs.
  5. A sprain is caused by inappropriate landing and unallowed extension of joints, whereas a strain is caused by the wrong positioning of muscles.

Comparison Between Sprain and Strain

Parameter of ComparisonSprainStrain
OccurrenceJointsMuscles or Tendons
CauseUnallowed ExtensionExcessive Force
AreaWrist, Thumb, AnkleLower Back, Thigh
ActivityInappropriate LandingInappropriate Positioning
SymptomsPain, Swelling, ImmobilityPain, Redness, Weakness


  1. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/28/2/112.short
  2. https://read.dukeupress.edu/jhppl/article-abstract/23/6/905/93271