What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?

A strain occurs when a muscle is stretched or torn. A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched or torn.

Strains are often the result of overuse or improper use of a muscle, while sprains typically occur when a joint is subjected to excessive force or unnatural movements (e.g., sudden twists, turns, or stops). Sprains can be categorized by degree of severity:

  • A first-degree sprain stretches the ligament but does not tear it. Symptoms include mild pain with normal movement.
  • A second-degree sprain is characterized by a partially torn ligament, significant pain and swelling, restricted movement, and mild to moderate joint instability.
  • In a third-degree sprain, the ligament is completely torn with mild to severe pain, swelling, and significant joint instability.

Our Locations

We proudly provide orthopedic surgical care in North Brunswick, East Brunswick and the surrounding towns of Old Bridge, South Brunswick, Somerset, Monroe, Princeton, Manalapan and Marlboro.

North Brunswick Office

2186 Route 27
Suite 1A
North Brunswick, NJ 08902

(732) 422-1222

East Brunswick Office

Drs. Kirschenbaum & Sieler
557 Cranbury Road Suite 10
East Brunswick, NJ 08816

(732) 422-1222

AOS Locations