What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?

A sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments in a joint. Ligaments are tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones together. The most common injury is a sprained ankle. A severe sprain can result in a torn ligament.

A strain is a stretching or tearing of tendon or muscle. A tendon is a fibrous cord of tissue that connects muscles to bones. Strains often occur in the lower back and in the hamstring muscle in the back of the thigh.