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Diamond Cuts: Strain vs. Sprain

Jeff Stotts

Jeff Stotts

Jeff Stotts works as a Certified Athletic Trainer (MAT, ATC, PES, CES). He won the 2011 Best Fantasy Football Article in Print from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.


Before breaking down this week's round of injuries I want take this opportunity to review some basic medical terminology that will be helpful for the remainder of the season. To start there is a difference between a sprain and a strain. A sprain occurs when a ligament, the tissue connecting bone to bone, is injured. Ligaments provide stability and protection to joints during movement. On the other hand, a strain occurs when a muscle is damaged. A strain can occur in the belly of the muscle or the connective tissue of the muscle, better known as a tendon. Both sprains and strains vary in their recovery time and cannot be treated equally.

The grading system for both these injuries remains the same. Both sprains and strains are graded on a scale dependent on the amount of damage sustained. A Grade I injury is the least severe and is often referred to as a minor sprain or strain. Grade 1 injuries are accompanied by micro-tearing of the tissue with little to no loss of func

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