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Whether you were injured at work, playing sports, or simply had a misstep while walking down a set of stairs, accidents can happen. Sprains and strains are common injuries, and they can affect different body parts, including your ankles, knees, lower back, hamstrings, wrists and thumbs. A sprain involves the stretching or tearing of your ligaments, while a muscle strain involves the stretching or tearing of your muscles or tendons.
These types of injuries can happen easily, sometimes from common activities. For example, walking on an uneven surface and twisting your joint can result in a sprained ankle. Strains typically result from running, falling or lifting something heavy, and they can affect your back and leg muscles. Repetitive motion can cause a chronic strain.
Sprains and strains can have similar symptoms, including:
At the time of injury, you may also hear a “pop” when you sprain a joint. Additionally, strains can cause muscle spasms. Severe strains and sprains can be accompanied by a bone fracture, which is why it’s especially important to have even seemingly minor pulled muscles or ligaments examined by a medical professional.