Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Brain Strain...

If you watch lots of sports like me then you are also hearing injury news about players. Unfortunately, most of the reports are often inaccurate and vague in terms of the anatomy and the actual structures that have been injured. One distinction to keep in mind is sprain versus strain.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease:

Sprain is a stretch and/or tear of a ligament. One or more ligaments can be injured at the same time. The severity of the injury will depend on the extent of injury (whether a tear is partial or complete) and the number of ligaments involved. Common examples would be an ankle sprain involving the stabilizing ligaments of the ankle or injury to the ligaments of the knee or shoulder.

Strain is an injury to either a muscle or a tendon. Depending on the severity of the injury, a strain may be a simple overstretch of the muscle or tendon, or it can result from a partial or complete tear. Common examples would be the injury of hamstring muscles (biceps femoris, semitendinosus, semimembranosus) or muscle od the back. So injury of the calcaneal tendon (Achilles) would be a strain.

Over at Stephania Bell's ESPN blog she points out that an injury to the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, since it is stabilized by ligaments around the joint, can be called a sprain. Although, injury at the AC joint tends to separate the acromion process of the scapula from its articulation with the clavicle... and so we would often just call the injury a "shoulder" separation. She implies that, perhaps, when the team would like to downplay an injury they might say shoulder sprain rather than the more serious sounding shoulder separation. Recall in class to make the distinction between shoulder separation, at the AC joint, and shoulder dislocation which occurs at the glenohumeral joint (humerus with scapula). Stephania discusses a term called shoulder sublaxation which refers to the humerus slipping only partially off the glenoid surface, but not completely dislocating out of the glenoid fossa... so there is an additional shoulder injury to think about... shoulder sublaxation. You are practically an orthopedic surgeon or physical therapist if you are still reading this... ha!

Go read the super cool anatomical NFL injury blog at ESPN (Click Here).


No comments: