Boston Celtic Star Kevin Garnett out for Playoffs with Knee Injury

It was announced today that  Boston Celtic forward Kevin Garnett will be out for the rest of the season due to a knee injury.  His accomplishments include being voted MVP of the 2003-04 season, NBA Defensive Player of the Year of the 2007-08 season and being named to twelve All-Star teams. He is also the all-time leader in NBA seasons played with averages of at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists per game.

Although he has a bone spur in his knee that will require minor surgery during the off season, the injury that is keeping him on the bench is a muscle strain, presumably of his quadriceps muscle. I thought this would be a good opportunity to explain the difference between a strain and a sprain, which confuses many people. A strain comes from an injury to a muscle or tendon (the thick fibrous band that attaches a muscle to a bone). It comes after a quick tear, twist or pull of a muscle caused by over contraction or stretching. Pain, weakness, or muscle twitching are frequent symptoms of strains.  A sprain is an injury to the ligaments ( thick bands of cartilage that connects bone to bone) caused by a fall or outside force that pulls the surrounding joint beyond its normal range of movement. The degree of sprain can range from a stretched ligament to a completely torn ligament.  Symptoms include pain with movement,  swelling, bruising, and joint instability. Mild injuries of either type are treated with RICE therapy- rest, ice, compression, and elevation. More severe injuries may require immobilization or possibly surgery to restore function.


Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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