Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

First Aid & Emergencies

Font Size
A
A
A

Understanding Sprains and Strains -- Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Sprains and Strains?

Sprains affect your joints. Strains affect your muscles. Both usually occur after a fall or sudden movement that violently pulls or twists a part of your body. Chronic overuse of muscles or joints can also cause strains and sprains.

Symptoms of a sprain:

Recommended Related to First Aid

What Drowning Really Looks Like

You're at the pool or the beach and you scan the water. You'd be able to tell if someone was drowning, right? You’ve seen it on TV and in the movies -- the person flails their arms, thrashes about wildly, and cries for help. Here’s the problem: That's not what it always looks like. "In the public's mind, someone who is drowning is waving frantically and calling for help, and that's just not the way it is," says Alan Steinman, MD, an expert on drowning and sea survival. Steinman is a former director...

Read the What Drowning Really Looks Like article > >

  • Feeling a tear or pop in a joint followed by pain, swelling, and bruising
  • Stiffness or instability of the joint 
  • Warmth and redness of the skin near the affected joint

Symptoms of a strain:

  • Sharp pain at the site of an injury
  • Muscle spasm, swelling, or cramping

 

Call Your Doctor About a Strain or Sprain If:

  • The pain, swelling, or stiffness does not improve in two to three days
  • You feel a popping sensation when you move a sprained joint; this may indicate a serious injury that requires immediate medical treatment.
  • You can't move or bear weight on an injured joint; you may have a broken bone.
  • The bones in an injured joint don't seem to be aligned properly, in which case the ligaments that hold the joint together may be badly torn, requiring surgical repair.
  • An injured muscle doesn't move at all; the muscle may be torn completely through and require immediate medical attention.
  • You have repeated sprains or strains, indicating a chronic weakness that should be evaluated by a doctor
  • You have difficulty moving or walking after straining any back muscle
  • You have a fever, and the injured area is red and hot; you may have an infection.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Lisa B. Bernstein, MD on March 18, 2015

First Aid A-Z

  • There are no topics that begin with 'O'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'Q'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'U'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'X'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'Y'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'Z'

Today on WebMD

Antibiotic on hand
Slideshow
3d scan of fractured skull
Slideshow
 
Father putting ointment on boy's face
Slideshow
Person taking food from oven
Q&A
 
sniffling child
Slideshow
wound care true or false
Slideshow
 
caring for wounds
Slideshow
Harvest mite
Slideshow
 

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

WebMD the app

Get first aid information. Whenever. Wherever... with your iPhone, iPad or Android.

Find Out More