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:
- 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.