Strains and Sprains: Safety Topics - March 2018 - Week 4


Monday - Strains vs. Sprains

According to, the two are very much the same in symptoms but a “sprain is the over stretching or tearing of ligaments, while a strain is the tearing of muscles and tendons”.

Here are a list of common symptoms and why they can be so easily confused between the two.

Symptoms of Sprains 

  • Bruising
  • pain around the affected joint
  • swelling
  • limited flexibility
  • difficult using the joint’s full range of motion   

Symptoms of Strains

  • muscle spasm
  • pain around the affected joint
  • swelling
  • limited flexibility
  • difficulty using the joint’s full range of motion

Tuesday - What are the General Causes of Sprains and Strains?

  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Overexerting yourself
  • Sitting or standing for too long
  • Holding bad posture positions for too long
  • Repetitive movements
  • Slips, trips, and falls

Commonly affected areas of the body are the back, thumb, wrist, knee and ankle.

Wednesday - Risk Factors

Anyone can experience a sprain or strain; however, certain activities create larger risks.

Here are a few risk factors to keep in mind:

  • Being out of shape. Lack of proper conditioning leaves your muscles and joints weak and unable to fully support your movements 
  • Using improper equipment. Equipment that is worn out or ill-fitting will increase your risk for a sprain or strain. It’s important you keep your shoes and any necessary gear maintained.
  • Not warming up. Warming up and cooling down after exercise. Warming up and gently stretching the muscles will increases your range of motion. A cool down stretch helps strengthen your muscles and better joint support.
  • Being tired. When you’re tired, you don’t carry your body properly. Being tired means you’re less likely to practice good form.
  • Your environment. Wet, slippery, or icy surfaces are treacherous for walking. These aren’t risk factors you can control but being aware of when they’re around will help you avoid injury.

Thursday - Treatment and Prevention


  • Rest: Stay off the affected area and give it time to heal.
  • Ice: Ice helps to reduce swelling and inflammation. Never apply ice directly to your skin; wrap with a towel and ice on/off for 20 minutes. Repeat as much as necessary for the first 24-48hrs.
  • Elevate: Try to keep the affected joint elevated above the level of your heart. This will help reduce swelling. If it’s your knee or ankle you should keep your leg up parallel to the floor as it may be hard to have it above level of your heart. 


  • Stretch
  • Exercise regularly
  • Be cautious 
  • Take Breaks
  • Invest in good equipment

Friday - Free Speech Friday

Today let’s talk about your daily routines. What do you do every morning to prepare and ready yourself for your work day? What exercise routines do you do each week? And what are some best practices you have learned to inspire others to become more active?

Tags: safety topics , injury prevention , personal home safety ,

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