Sprains and strains: Causes

Man holding leg

Understand how sprains and strains occur

Knowing the causes of sprains and strains can help you identify these injuries, and therefore guide you to the most appropriate treatment for your patient.

Man holding back

Sprains and strains have specific causes

Soft-tissue injuries involve a sprain, strain or direct blow to a muscle, tendon and/or ligament.1

  • Sprains are caused by abnormal or excessive force applied to a joint1,2
  • Strains occur when a muscle is stretched beyond its limit or has contracted too strongly1,2

Overuse injuries, from repetitive friction, pulling, twisting or compression may also occur.1

Man playing tennis

Sport is a common cause of sprains and strains, but not the only one

Muscle strains account for 20% of all injuries suffered during sport, and overuse injuries account for around 30-50% of all injuries suffered during sport.4

However, these injuries can also occur through simple, everyday activities like over-stretching, tripping and falling, or even while playing with the kids.2,3

Risk factors for sprains and strains

Understanding sprains and strains

Signs and symptoms icon

Signs and symptoms

Find out how to recognise sprains and strains and when to refer patients.

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Management icon


Learn how sprains and strains can be managed.

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Joint and OA pain

Overview of joint and osteoarthritic pain

Find out more about joint and osteoarthritic pain, and meet two patients with joint pain.

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Voltaren Emulgel with No Mess Applicator

Voltaren Emulgel with No Mess Applicator for strains and sprains9

Relieves muscle pain and reduces inflammation. 6–8

The No Mess Applicator enables targeted, effective pain relief straight from the tube to the point of pain, without messy fingers.

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Voltaren Osteo Gel 12 Hourly

Voltaren Osteo Gel 12 Hourly with easy open cap

Up to 12 hours relief from mild  osteoarthritis flare-up pain.10

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Educational resource

Educational resources

Access detailed clinical information about pain.

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