How to Tell the Difference between an Ankle Sprain or Strain

How to Tell the Difference between an Ankle Sprain or Strain


Ankle injuries are particularly distressing, and if you’re suffering from one, you may want to know how severe your condition is and how long it will take you to get back to normal. Ankle sprains and strains are two of the most common types of ankle injuries, but they’re often misunderstood and confused with one another. In this article, we’re going to give you the main differences between an ankle sprain and a strain, and what you can expect if you’re diagnosed with either one.

What’s the Main Difference between a Sprain and a Strain?

Knowing the difference between the two conditions is usually much easier on other parts of the body. The reason why it’s so difficult to self-diagnose an ankle strain or sprain is that the symptoms are so similar. In both cases, your ankle will become tender, you’ll see inflammation and swelling, and walking will become difficult.

Ankle Sprains

A sprain is when one of your ligaments gets stretched beyond its capacity. An ankle sprain can occur during any type of intense physical activity, but they often happen through shock.  For instance, if you turn your ankle after landing on the side of one of your feet, then you’re probably dealing with an ankle sprain.

While it may seem like a minor injury at first glance, ankle sprains can be very serious. In some cases, they can lead to torn ligaments, which will require surgery. People who suffer severe sprains won’t be able to walk without assistance.

For anyone who lives in Bangkok, that’s why it’s important that you visit a qualified Bangkok orthopedic center immediately if you feel like you might have suffered a sprain. While it’s still possible to treat a minor sprain at home, it’s better to see a professional, so you can avoid aggravating the situation and see how severe the injury is.

Ankle Strain

The main difference between an ankle strain and an ankle sprain is that ankle strains affect tendons and muscles instead of ligaments. While rolling your ankle can lead to a strain, it is more likely that you’re dealing with a strain if the symptoms came after normal activity.

Strains can still be very painful, which is the reason why differentiating between a strain and a sprain is so difficult. Some may attempt to self-diagnose by checking their ankle strength, but that is not always recommended. And just like strains, sprains can vary in severity and might require surgical intervention in case of a muscle tear, so consulting with a professional is very important.

What can be Done to Prevent Them?

The most important thing when trying to prevent both conditions is to watch your activity levels. If you live more of a sedentary lifestyle, then you shouldn’t go straight to high-intensity activities and workouts. Even if you’re active, you still have to be careful and take the proper precautions to make sure you keep the risk at a minimum by stretching and warming up before engaging in any form of intense physical activity.


While both conditions can be confusing, we hope we were able to shed some light on them. In any case, make sure that you consult a professional if you believe you’ve suffered an ankle injury and let them take care of treatment and diagnosis.