Children's Health and Wellness

Take the Sprains and Strains Quiz

Sprain? Strain? The terms for these injuries sound so similar, what's the difference? Find out by taking this quiz, based on information from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

1. If you have a sprain, it means you've injured a ligament.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is The injury can be either an overstretching or a tear of one or more ligaments. Ligaments are tough bands of tissue that hold two bones together. How bad a sprain is depends on whether the ligament is torn completely or just partially. Also, the more ligaments involved, the more severe the injury. Most sprains are minor injuries.A. TrueB. False2. In a strain, a muscle or tendon is involved.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is Like a sprain, a strain involves an overstretch or a complete or partial tear, but of a muscle or tendon instead of a ligament. Tendons are similar to ligaments in that they are tough bands of tissue, but they attach a muscle to a bone instead of holding two bones together. Like sprains, most strains are minor injuries.A. TrueB. False3. The most common site for a sprain is the wrist.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is The most common site is the ankle. In fact, ankle sprains are the most common injury in the U.S. About 628,000 ankle sprains happen each year in the U.S. An ankle sprain most frequently occurs when the foot turns inward as a person runs, turns, falls or lands on the ankle after a jump. This type of sprain is called an inversion injury.A. TrueB. False4. A typical sprain occurs when a person missteps and lands on the side of the foot.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is A sprain can also occur when a person falls and lands on an outstretched arm, or twists the knee when the foot is already planted on the ground. In sports, sliding into base or getting a blow to the body that forces a joint out of its normal position can also result in a sprain. Any event that forces a joint from its normal position can overstretch or tear a ligament.A. TrueB. False5. One symptom of a sprain is a popping sound from the affected joint when the injury occurs.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is This does not happen in all cases, however. Usual symptoms of a sprain include pain, swelling and bruising at the joint. You may not be able to move the joint or it may be extremely painful to move it. The symptoms vary in intensity, depending on the severity of the sprain.A. TrueB. False6. You should see your health care provider for a sprain if you cannot move or put weight on the injured joint.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is Other times to see your health care provider for a sprain: the injured joint is tender to touch; the injured area looks crooked or has bumps not visible on an uninjured joint; your leg buckles when you try to use your injured knee or ankle; the injured area is numb; or the injured area has been injured previously.A. TrueB. False7. The back is a common site for strains.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is Another common site is the hamstring muscle, at the back of the thigh. People who play contact sports such as soccer, football or hockey are at risk for strains. Hand and forearm strains are more common among people who play tennis, row or golf. Elbow strains can occur if you play racquet sports. Overuse of a joint can result in a chronic strain. For a chronic strain, the damage accumulates slowly, rather than all at once as in a fall or a blow to the joint.A. TrueB. False8. A muscle spasm can be a symptom of a strain.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is Other symptoms include pain and muscle weakness. At the site of the injury, there may be swelling, cramping or inflammation. A severe strain involving a muscle or tendon tear can be very painful and disabling.A. TrueB. False9. You should treat a sprain or strain by immediately applying moist heat.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is You should follow the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) treatment for the first one to two days after the injury: Rest the injured joint, apply an icepack wrapped in a towel for up to 20 minutes 4 to 8 times a day, wrap the joint with a compression bandage and elevate it above the level of your heart. Your health care provider may recommend a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen to help reduce pain and swelling. A moderate to severe sprain or strain may need a cast or brace to hold the joint still while it heals. A severe sprain or strain may need surgery to repair the tear. How long it takes a sprain or strain to heal depends on how the severe the injury is. A moderate ankle sprain might need up to 6 weeks to heal; a severe sprain might need a year.A. TrueB. False10. Wearing shoes that fit properly is one way to prevent a sprain or strain.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is Other ways to prevent sprains and strains include maintaining a healthy weight; avoiding falls by keeping walkways in and around your home clear of clutter and by using sand or salt on icy patches in the winter; and wearing protective equipment when a playing a sport that puts you at risk for a sprain or strain.A. TrueB. FalseYour score was:
Online Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeonshttp://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00111
Online Source: Sprained ankle, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeonshttp://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00150
Online Source: Low back strain and sprain, American Association of Neurological Surgeons http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Low%20Back%20Strain%20and%20Sprain.aspx
Online Source: Sprains, strains and fractures, American Podiatric Medical Associationhttp://www.apma.org/Learn/FootHealth.cfm?ItemNumber=982
Online Source: Nat'l Institute of Arthritic and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseaseshttp://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Sprains_Strains/default.asp
Author: Sinovic, Dianna
Online Editor: Sinovic, Dianna
Online Medical Reviewer: Finke, Amy, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 10/19/2013