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Symptoms of Sprains and Strains: Recognizing Joint and Muscle Injuries

Sprains and strains can be painful injuries that affect the ligaments and muscles in your body. Recognizing the symptoms of these injuries can help you seek the appropriate treatment and prevent further damage.

Symptoms of Sprains and Strains Recognizing Joint and Muscle Injuries

What are the symptoms of sprains and strains?

The symptoms of sprains and strains can vary depending on the severity of the injury. However, some common symptoms include:

  • Joint or muscle pain

  • Swelling

  • Bruising

  • Joint stiffness

  • Unable to move the affected joint

  • Muscle spasms or cramping

How do you know if you have a sprain or a strain?

If you have a sprain, you may experience pain and swelling around the affected joint. The joint may also feel unstable or weak, and you may have difficulty moving it. In severe cases, you may hear a popping or tearing sound at the time of injury.

If you have a strain, you may experience muscle pain and stiffness. You may also notice swelling or bruising in the affected area. Depending on the severity of the strain, you may have difficulty moving the affected muscle or performing certain activities.

When should you see a doctor?

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention:

  • Severe pain

  • Significant swelling or bruising

  • Inability to bear weight or use the affected limb

  • Numbness or tingling in the affected area

  • Visible deformity or misalignment of the joint

  • Fever

Additionally, if your symptoms do not improve with home treatment or if they worsen, you should see a doctor. They can perform a physical exam, order imaging tests, and recommend a treatment plan that may include rest, physical therapy, or medication.


Sprains and strains are common injuries that can cause pain, swelling, and other symptoms. If you suspect that you have a sprain or a strain, it's important to seek medical attention if your symptoms are severe or do not improve with home treatment. By recognizing the symptoms of these injuries, you can take steps to manage your pain and prevent further damage.

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