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Athletic Training

Strain, sprain and pulled muscle



Can you tell me the difference between a strain, sprian and a pulled muscle? I am thinking that a strain and a pull is the same thing?


A "pulled" muscle is a common way to refer to a strained muscle. A muscle strain is when the muscle or tendon is stretched beyond its normal length, causing small to large tears in the muscle or tendon fibers. A muscle is connected to bone by its tendon and has the ability to contract to move a body part, such as the quadriceps muscle which attaches to the knee cap (patella) by the quadriceps tendon. The quadriceps muscle contracts to extend the knee joint.

A sprain, however, refers to a ligament that is stretched beyond its normal length, creating a tear. Ligaments connect bone to bone, such as the ACL ligament in your knee (connects femur to tibia).

I hope that answers your question. Thank you for using NetWellness.


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Response by:

Kristen  Bretz, MS, ATC Kristen Bretz, MS, ATC
Physician Extender at The Sports Medicine Lewis Center
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University