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A sprain and strain are two different injuries that can occur in the ankle that can be easily confused. However, the injuries affect different parts of the ankle.

A sprain is an injury to a ligament, or the thick, tough tissue that connects the bones together, keeping your body in a normal alignment. By keeping the skeleton in line, ligaments help to avoid abnormal movements; however, when too much force is applied, the ligament typically suffers a sprain.

A strain is an injury to the muscles of the tendons that attach the muscles to your bones. When overstretched, the muscle may become injured or strained. Both injuries typically occur in or around a joint and mostly during physical activity or sport.

The foot and ankle specialist at Heartland Orthopedic Specialists says that it is important to know if a sprain or strain occurs and whether a doctor should evaluate it. You will need to see a doctor if:

  • You are experiencing severe pain and cannot put any weight on the injured joint
  • The area surrounding the injured joint is tender to touch
  • The joint injured has bumps and lumps as well as swelling
  • You cannot move the joint
  • Your limb buckles or gives way when trying to move
  • The injured area has been injured several times in the past
  • You have pain, swelling, or redness over the bony part of your foot

If your injury does not involve any of the symptoms listed above, then the sprain or strain can usually be treated using the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) treatment method.

For more information on sprains and strains and the treatment options available, call Heartland Orthopedic Specialists at (800) 762-1177 for an appointment.