These two types of injuries (sprains and strains) get confused very often. They are the most common type of injury in youth athletics. This is why trainers, coaches, parents and athletes must understand how to prevent or treat them.
Strains are stretching or tearing of the muscle or tendon structure. While sprains are stretching or tearing of the ligament which attaches to the bone. Sprains most times occur in the ankle, which could be a mild (little or minor swelling) to severe which could be a tear or major swelling. Either way they can limit the athletes ability to function at full force and sideline the athlete from a couple of days to a couple of months.
When it comes to strains usually the most common injury sites in athletes are the hamstring or groin. Similar with the sprain the severity of the injury can vary greatly, resulting in the athlete being out for days to months. Not only does this limit the athletes physical performance but in many cases it can start to have an effect on the mental side of the athlete (especially the longer the athlete has to sit out).
In soccer, ankle sprains account for 16-29% of the injury reports in youth soccer.(1) That is a high number of one type of injury. In my opinion, way too high for something that we can limit or even prevent when it comes to non-contact ankle injuries.
There are other type of sprains and strains that occur such as Finger sprains which have a higher occurrence in basketball. As well as back and neck strains which is more common in gymnastics, soccer and football. All these injuries can be reduced if we we just take time to put together a comprehensive strengthening program for the athlete.
In one of my next posts I will discuss how we can prevent or limit some of these injuries especially in the ankle.
“Greatness Never Rests”
(1)The official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics