In the workplace alone, there are about 500,000 cases of sprains and strains in one year, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Many people don’t know the difference between a sprain and a strain, but they happen all the time while working, playing sports, or even just performing everyday activities.

A sprain is an injury to a ligament, the strong bands of tissue that connect a bone to another at a joint. A strain is damage to muscle fibers and to the other fibers that attach the muscle to the bone. Other names for a strain include “torn muscle,” “muscle pull” and “ruptured tendon.”

Although the terms are often confused, they do have one thing in common: if the sprain or strain is severe or left untreated, they can put you out of commission from work, sports and even daily activities.


Our emergency rooms in Tyler, Longview, and Galveston are open 24 hours a day.

Seek Treatment Faster to Heal Faster.

It’s best to see a doctor if you believe you have a severe strain or sprain that can’t be treated from home (see symptoms below). Some urgent care clinics may be able to handle mild cases of sprains and strains, but Hospitality Health ER carries all the diagnostic equipment and treatment tools on-site for more severe sprains and strains.

While you’re here, a board-certified ER doctor will initiate a physical exam and imaging tests to confirm what type of injury you have. We can order a fast turnaround of an x-ray, ultrasound, or CT Scan exam to rule out another cause of the pain, such as a broken or loose bone, arthritis, or bone spurs. All three diagnostic procedures are quick and painless.

Without proper treatment, you may experience pain, weakness, or recurring injuries in the the injury area during everyday use. It can be especially painful during exercise and athletic activities. If surgery to repair a muscle is necessary, our emergency rooms in Tyler and Longview can quickly coordinate follow up care with a hospital or orthopedist to ensure you are well cared for even after you leave our emergency room.

When to See a Doctor for a Sprain or Strain

If you injure yourself, you have to determine how serious your injury is and whether you should go to a health care provider. There are different degrees of sprains and strains. The severity of a sprain can be classified by the amount of tissue tearing, impact on joint stability, pain and swelling. To avoid further or prolonged injury, seek medical attention if you notice any of the following:

• Moderate to severe pain and swelling at the injury site • Changes in skin color • Deformities • Limited range of motion or inability to move

  • Fingers
  • Wrists
  • Ankles
  • Knees
  • Foot arches
  • Back
  • Fall and land on an arm.
  • Fall on the side of their foot.
  • Twist a knee.
  • Walking or exercising on an uneven surface
  • Pivoting during an athletic activity
  • Landing on an outstretched hand during a fall
  • Overextension when playing sports
  • First degree (mildest) – little tearing, pain or swelling; joint stability is good.
  • Second degree – broadest range of damage, with moderate instability and moderate to severe pain and swelling.
  • Third degree (most severe) – ligament is completely ruptured; joint is unstable; severe pain and swelling; other tissues are often damaged.
  • First degree (mildest) – little tissue tearing; mild tenderness; pain with full range of motion.
  • Second degree – torn muscle or tendon tissues; painful, limited motion; may have some swelling or depression at the spot of the injury.
  • Third degree (most severe) – limited or no movement; pain will be severe at first, but may be painless after the initial injury.