People are able to move because muscles contract and make the joints that they cross, move. Muscles attach on each side of the joint to bone by thick bands of fibrous tissue called tendons. When a muscle contracts, it shortens and pulls on the tendon, which allows the joint to go through a range of motion.

A strain occurs when the muscle tendon unit is stretched or torn. The most common reason for this is the overuse and stretching of the muscle. The damage may occur in 3 areas.

  • The muscle itself may tear.
  • The area where the muscle and tendon blend can tear.
  • The tendon may rip away from the bone.

Symptoms of Sprains

  • Pain in the affected area.
  • Swelling in the affected area.
  • Bruising in the affected area.
  • Lack of range of motion in the affected area.
  • Hearing a “pop” noise upon injury.

Symptoms of Strains

  • Pain in the affected area.
  • Swelling in the affected area.
  • Muscle Spasms in the affected area.
  • Lack of range of motion in the affected area.

Causes of Sprains

  • Sprains can occur in many areas such as the ankle, knee, wrist and thumb
    • Ankle - Doing activities on unstable / uneven surfaces.
    • Knee - Pivoting while participating in activities such as sports.
    • Wrist - Landing on extended hand.
    • Thumb - Overextension while partaking in activities.

Causes of Strains

  • There are two kinds of strains:
    • Acute - when a muscle is pulled/stretched in a sudden manner
      • Slipping.
      • Running.
      • Throwing.
      • Jumping.
      • Lifting heavy objects with improper form.
      • Improper warm-up.
      • Environmental conditions.
      • Low quality equipment.
      • Fatigue.
    • Chronic - repetitive movements over a long period of time
      • Many sports such as swimming, racket sports, running etc.
      • Improper warm-up.
      • Environmental conditions.
      • Low quality equipment.
      • Fatigue.

Treatments of Sprains and Strains

Strains and sprains can get progressively worse if untreated, it is important to treat them via:

  • Pain reliever.
  • Physiotherapy.
  • Massage therapy.
  • Acupuncture.
  • Chiropractic rehabilitation.
  • Immobilize the area.
  • Apply ice to the injured area.

Our sports therapy can include:

  • Reduce swelling by devices or taping techniques.
  • Use ultrasound or laser treatment to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Promote healing and circulation in the injured tissues.
  • Use cross friction massage to promote healing and reduce scar tissue development.
  • Teaching you the exercises to quicken the healing process.
  • Wear a brace or support to protect the tendon whilst healing and strengthening.
  • Use manual treatments such as massage therapy, myofacial release and/or transverse friction techniques across the tendon
  • Acupuncture which has been shown to be effective for strains and sprains

Preventing Sprains and Strains

Some preventative measures include:

  • Maintain strength.
  • Maintain range of motion.
  • Maintain stability.
  • Warm up before doing strenuous exercises.


If you experience sprains or strains and would like to take a natural approach to health, we can help. Our clinic has an approach to better health at the Mississauga therapy clinic.

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