Updated: Feb 20, 2020
A sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments — the tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones together in your joints. The most common location for a sprain is in your ankle.
Initial treatment includes rest, ice, compression and elevation. Mild sprains can be successfully treated at home. Severe sprains sometimes require surgery to repair torn ligaments.
A muscle strain is an injury to a muscle or a tendon — the fibrous tissue that connects muscles to bones. Minor injuries may only overstretch a muscle or tendon, while more severe injuries may involve partial or complete tears in these tissues.
Sometimes called pulled muscles, strains commonly occur in the lower back and in the muscles at the back of the thigh (hamstrings).
The simple conclusion:
The difference between a sprain and a strain is that a sprain injures the bands of tissue that connect two bones together, while a strain involves an injury to a muscle or to the band of tissue that attaches a muscle to a bone (tendon).
Courtesy of the Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sprains/symptoms-causes/syc-20377938, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/muscle-strains/symptoms-causes/syc-20450507
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