Sprains and strains are incredibly common injuries in sports. Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, they define two different injuries.
A sprain is a stretch or tear of a ligament, the tough fibrous bands of connective tissue that connect two bones together in your joints. The most common sprain is a sprained ankle. Common sprain systems include pain, bruising, swelling, and inflammation.
A strain is a stretch or tear of a muscle or tendon, the fibrous cords that attach muscles to the bone. Common strain symptoms include muscle spasms, weakness, inflammation, and cramping.
There are three levels of severity for both sprains and strains: mild, moderate, and severe. Severe sprains occur when the ligaments tear completely or separate from the bone, thus producing excruciating pain at the time of the injury. Severe strains occur when the muscle and/or tendon is partially or completely ruptured, thus incapacitating the individual.
Sources: MayoClinic, ED Exit Video