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Strains Versus Sprains

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A look at the injury reports...already

Knee buddies
Knee buddies
USA TODAY Sports

I hate to do this this early in the season; it's never good to have injuries to compare and differentiate by game 3. But hopefully, we're getting the injury bug out of the way early in the season.

Today, we're going to look at the knee injuries of Charlie Coyle and Niklas Backstrom. Charlie Coyle was injured in a hit by the Anaheim Ducks Andrew Coligano. He suffered a sprained knee and will miss 3-4 weeks. Backstrom was injured when he was run into the net by former teammate Eric Nystrom. He suffered a knee strain and will miss a shorter, undetermined period of time.

So, knee sprain, knee strain. What's the difference? Is there a difference besides the "p" and the "t?" Let's proceed.

A sprain occurs when a ligament is overstretched or torn. A strain results from the pulling or overstretching and possible tear of a muscle or tendon. Your knee is made up of ligaments, muscles and tendons.

Symptoms of sprains and strains are similar. They include pain, swelling and inflammation, and loss of movement in the affected body part. Treatment also is the same and consists of RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Recovery time depends on the grade of injury. For grade 1 sprains/strains, it can take a few days to a week. Grade 2 sprains/strains can take one week to a month, and grade 3 sprains can take several weeks to several months to heal. Recovery time depends also on the quality of care and the age and overall health of the patient.

So, treatment is the same. Recovery is the same. It basically comes down to the injured location within the joint for the difference.