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Health Information For Teens
A strain is when a muscle or tendon (tissue that attaches muscle to bone) is stretched too far. A strain is sometimes called a “pulled muscle.” Depending on the level of muscle strain, it may heal within a few weeks, but reinjury can happen.
A sprain is when ligaments (bands of tissue that hold bone to bone at the joints) stretch too far or tear. A sprain may can take 4–6 weeks to heal or sometimes longer.
Strains and sprains can cause:
Strains can happen when you put a lot of pressure on a muscle or push it too far, such as when lifting a heavy object. They usually happen when someone is active, contracting, stretching, or working body part. They’re more likely when a person hasn’t warmed up first to get blood circulating to the muscles. Strains are common when athletes return to a sport after the off-season. They often affect the muscles in their backs, necks, or legs.
Sprains are caused by injuries, such as twisting an ankle or knee, or from contact with another player. They’re common in sports, but can happen any time.
To diagnose strains and sprains, doctors:
Depending on the injury, the doctor may order an X-ray or other imaging study to see if there are other injuries, such as a broken bone. Ultrasounds can sometimes diagnose a minor tear.
Treatment for strains and sprains usually includes:
Doctors may treat some strains and sprains and strains with a splint or temporary cast.
If you have a sprain or strain, you’ll probably need to take some time off from sports. You can go back when:
Strains and sprains usually heal without any lasting problems. Be sure to follow the doctor’s instructions so the injury heals as quickly as possible.
To avoid strains and sprains, do a good dynamic warm-up before activity. You can try jogging, high knees, butt kicks, and active stretching. After activity, do some static stretching (holding each stretch for 30 seconds or longer).
A coach, personal trainer, doctor, or physical therapist can show you how to do eccentric strengthening exercises to help with recovery and lower the risk of reinjury.
Healthy knees are needed for many activities and sports and getting hurt can mean some time sitting on the sidelines.
Playing hard doesn’t have to mean getting hurt. The best way to ensure a long and injury-free athletic career is to play it safe from the start. Find out how.
You may have heard mixed things about stretching before working out. Here are the cold, hard facts on warming up, stretching, and cooling down.
Bones are tough stuff – but even tough stuff can break. Find out what happens when a bone fractures.
Our bones, muscles, and joints form our musculoskeletal system and enable us to do everyday physical activities.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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