Harvard Men's Health Watch

The pain of strains, sprains, and cramps

Do not let these common injuries stop your active lifestyle. Follow these steps to treat and prevent them.

strain sprains cramp
Image: Bigstock

An active life is a healthy one. Yet you might overdo it and injure a muscle, tendon, or ligament. "Strains, sprains, and cramps are common among older men and can limit their participation in their favorite sport or exercise," says Dr. Adam Tenforde, assistant professor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.

Fortunately, these injuries often respond well to treatment, so you can get back in action. Of course, if any injury is too painful or does not heal over an appropriate period, you should seek medical advice. But many times, you can manage these issues on your own.


Strains, often called pulled muscles, are stretched or torn muscles or tendons. They occur most often in the shoulders, neck, abdominal area, back, hips, and legs. "The injury often happens when you need to exert force with speed, like in sports such as tennis, golf, and running," says Dr. Tenforde. "Typically, the injury occurs when the muscle contracts at the same time it is being lengthened."

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