Sprains and strains: Overview

Runner with ankle pain

Pain from sprains and strains

Sprains and strains are common injuries affecting the muscles and ligaments.1,2

A sprain is a torn or twisted ligament caused by applying abnormal or excessive force to a joint, most commonly affecting the wrists, ankles, or knees.1,2

A strain is an overstretched or torn muscle — or 'pulled muscle' that typically occurs in the feet, legs, and back.1,2

These soft-tissue injuries are a frequent cause of pain. However, they can be managed with a variety of interventions.1,2

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Soft-tissue injuries are a common cause of pain

Meet Terry & Nicola

Terry and his son


Terry* balances the demands of his full-time job with taking care of two young children.

He enjoys going to the gym or exercising outdoors and loves nothing more than playing with his children.

He experienced an ankle sprain yesterday from playing tennis and it is now starting to affect his day-to-day life.

His pain: joint pain.

He describes having a red, swollen left ankle, and the pain feels a little worse after walking.

* Fictional case study.

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[Woman gardening]


Nicola* is a busy mom who travels to the city for work.

She loves gardening, tending to her plants and flowerbeds on the weekends. After a day of carrying bags of moss and soil to build a new garden bed, she strained her back.

Her pain: back pain.

She describes that her back feels stiff and feels worse when she bends forward or sits down.

* Fictional case study.

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Understanding acute sprains and strains

Causes Icon


Find out about the causes of acute sprains and strains.

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Signs and symptoms icon

Signs and symptoms

Explore how to recognize acute sprains and strains and learn when a referral to a doctor is necessary.

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Management Icon


Learn how acute sprains and strains can be managed.

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Voltaren products

Voltaren products

Help your patients manage their acute, localized muscle, joint and back pain with our pain-relieving topical products.7,8

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Advil product images

Advil — for all your patients’ acute pain relief needs

With proven efficacy in acute pain and a well-established safety profile — you can trust the pain relief of ibuprofen in Advil.9

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Business women with back pain

Acute back and neck pain

Learn more about acute back and neck pain and how it can be relieved.

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