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Sprains and strains

A sprain is a stretched or torn ligament, which is the tissue that connects bones at a joint. Falling, twisting, or getting hit can all cause a sprain. Common areas are the ankle and wrist, and symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising and being unable to move the joint.

A strain is a stretched or torn muscle or tendon, which is tissue that connects muscle to bone. Twisting or pulling these tissues can cause a strain, which can happen suddenly or develop over time. Back and hamstring muscle strains are common, and a lot of people get strains playing sports. Symptoms include pain, muscle spasms, swelling and trouble moving the muscle.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists, Australian College of Nursing and Australian Physiotherapy Association recommends that X-rays are not necessary for all ankle injuries. Discuss with your doctor whether you will need an X-ray. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.

Follow the links below to find trusted information about sprains and strains

Last reviewed: October 2016

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First aid for sprains and strains

Information about managing and treating sprains and strains.

Read more on WA Health website

Sprain

How to take care of a sprain.

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Ankle sprain - myDr.com.au

Ankle sprain is damage to the ankle ligaments caused by a single sudden incident. A serious sprain may involve partial of complete tear of a ligament.

Read more on myDr website

Hamstring strain or tear - myDr.com.au

A hamstring strain or tear involves over-stretching or tearing one or more of the 3 hamstring muscles at the back of the thigh.

Read more on myDr website

Calf strain or tear - myDr.com.au

Calf strain or tear is caused by overstretching or tearing of either of the 2 calf muscles. It usually starts with sudden pain in the back of the leg.

Read more on myDr website

Groin strain - myDr.com.au

Groin strain commonly involves a partial tear of the adductor muscles of the inner thigh. Symptoms are a sudden sharp pull in the front of the groin, which causes a sudden pain and inability to continue moving.

Read more on myDr website

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