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A sprain is an injury to a ligament. Ligament is the tough, fibrous tissue that connects bones to other bones. Sprains happen when the ligament is stretched or torn. A sprain can be a mild overstretch or a severe tear that can affect the joint.
 
A muscle strain is an injury to either the muscle or the tendon. A tendon is the tissue that connects muscles to bones.  A sprain can be a mild overstretch or a severe tear.
 

Symptoms:

Sprain:
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Not being able to move or use the joint
  • Feeling a tear or pop
Muscle Strain:
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Cramping
  • Muscle weakness
  • Inability to use the muscle
 
Diagnosis of a sprain injury is made by a physician. The physician will perform a physical examination of the injury site. In some cases an x-ray of the site is obtained to ensure that there are no fractures. If a tear in the ligament is suspected, then an MRI is obtained after swelling is gone.
 
Diagnosis of a muscle strain injury is made by a physician. The physician will perform a physical examination of the injury site. 

Treatment:

Medical treatment under the direction of the physician may include a referral to Physical Therapy to help you fully recover from the injury and to learn techniques to prevent further injury.
 
The Physical Therapist will work with you and your child in the physical therapy clinic and give you exercises to work on at home.
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