Sprains and strains are rather common in soccer. When you have a sprain, it means that you have torn or stretched a ligament. When you have a strain, it means that you have torn or stretched a tendon or muscle. Both can range from minor to severe depending on the grade of the injury.
Knowing the Symptoms of Strains and Sprains
If you experience a sprain, the symptoms can include pain, bruising, a "pop" when the injury occurs, swelling and limited mobility. If you experience a strain, you may experience pain, muscle spasms, swelling and limited mobility. Since the symptoms are very similar, it is important to see a doctor so that you can get an accurate diagnosis and plan of treatment.
How are Strains and Sprains Diagnosed?
A physical exam is the first thing that your doctor will do to examine the affected area and determine how much damage you have suffered. To determine the exact, tendon, muscle or ligament that was injured, your doctor may move around the affected joint or limb.
A X-ray may be done to help rule out bone injuries, such as a fracture. To help solidify exactly how much damage was done, your doctor may request that you have an MRI performed.
How are Strains and Sprains Prevented?
Keeping your body strong and flexible will go a long way in preventing a strain or a sprain. Stretching regularly and making sure that your body is ready for soccer will help in keeping you injury-free. It is also important to do stability and conditioning exercises. Your doctor will be able to recommend the best ones depending on which joints and muscles of yours need the most work. The proper footwear is also critical. You will want adequate arch support and ankle support, as well as solid protection.