Knee Sprains & Strains
Sprains and strains are among the most common injuries in sports. Here are some facts about sprains and strains from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
A sprain is a stretch and/or tear of a ligament, the fibrous band of connective tissue that joins the end of one bone with another. Ligaments stabilize and support the body’s joints. For example, ligaments in the knee connect the upper leg with the lower leg, enabling people to walk and run.
A strain is an injury of a muscle and/or tendon. Tendons are fibrous cords of tissue that attach muscles to bone.
A sprain is caused by direct or indirect trauma (a fall, a blow to the body, etc.) that knocks a joint out of position, and overstretches, and, in severe cases, ruptures the supporting ligaments. Typically, this injury occurs when an individual lands on an outstretched arm; slides into a base; jumps up and lands on the side of the foot; or runs on an uneven surface.
Chronic strains are the result of overuse (prolonged, repetitive movement) of muscles and tendons. Inadequate rest breaks during intensive training precipitates a strain. Acute strains are caused by a direct blow to the body, overstretching, or excessive muscle contraction.
Athletes and non-athletes alike can sustain this injury. People at risk for the injury have a history of sprains and strains, are overweight, and are in poor physical condition.
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