Sprains occur as a result of a traumatic over-stressing of a joint. When a ligament is pulled too far, too fast, or too hard, there’s a chance that it stretches or tears. The severity of damage can run a very wide gamut; a tiny tear that heals on its own in a few days and a severe tear that detaches your ligament from the bone and requires surgery to repair both constitute sprains, though the latter is often just referred to as a torn ligament, such as with a torn ACL.
Sprains can occur in daily life, sports and other physical activities
, or as a result of an occupational hazard. Common sources of sprains include ankle sprains from losing balance on stairs or after a jump, wrist sprains from catching yourself after a fall, or knee sprains from improper pivots.