Strains & Sprains

Sprains and strains are very common injuries that affect muscles, ligaments and tendons.  They often occur if you change direction or speed suddenly, fall and land awkwardly or collide with an object or person – such as when playing sports. 

A sprain occurs when one or more of your ligaments have been stretched, twisted or torn, usually as a result of excessive force being applied to a joint.  Ligaments are strong bands of tissue around joints that connect bones to one another.  Common locations for sprains include the knees, ankles, wrists and thumbs.  Symptoms of a sprain can include: 

  • pain around the affected joint
  • being unable to use the joint normally or being unable to put weight on it
  • swelling
  • bruising
  • tenderness 

The swelling from a sprain will often occur soon after the injury but the bruising may not show until later or it may not show at all.  Bruising can sometimes occur some distance from the affected joint, as blood from the damaged tissue seeps along the muscles and around the joint before coming close to the skin. 

A strain occurs when muscle fibres stretch or tear.  They usually occur when the muscle has been stretched beyond its limits or it has been forced to contract (shorten) too quickly.  Muscle strains are particularly common in the legs and back, such as hamstring strains and lumbar (lower back) strains.  Symptoms of a muscle strain can include: 

  • pain in the affected muscle
  • swelling
  • bruising
  • muscle spasms (when the muscles contract tightly and painfully)
  • loss of some, or all, of the function in the affected muscle
  • blood collecting under the skin at the site of the strain – this is known as a haematoma, and it may look like a large, dark-red bruise 


Physiotherapy following a strain or sprain involves carrying out exercises designed to improve the range of motion and return the normal function of injured area.  Not only will this aid your recovery but it may also reduce your risk of experiencing long-term problems or injuring the area again. 

To book an assessment call 02920 235523

or for more information email us