Have You Strained a Muscle?

Have you strained a muscle whilst running, exercising or enduring any other physical activity?

Strains can be quite frustrating as it stops you from performing while causing significant pain. Physiotherapy treatment including massage, dry needling, and exercise prescription can provide a safe rehabilitative pathway facilitating your return to activity.

Muscle strains occur when the muscle fibres fail to cope up with an increased amount of load (i.e. suddenly increasing your running intensity). When large forces are loaded onto a muscle, its fibres stretch excessively, causing a tear.

Types of tears

Grade (I):

  • Mild sprain
  • Little swelling and discomfort
  • Mild loss of strength

Grade (II):

  • Moderate sprain
  • Local hematoma (bruising)
  • Evident loss of strength and ability to contract

Grade (III):

  • Severe strain or rupture

What do I do if I have a muscle strain/tear?

Initially, you need to rest the muscle and ensure it is not stretched (stretching causes excessive strain à more pain). This will allow the healing process to start with inflammation. You should then begin to gently move the joint within pain-free limits to improve blood flow, thus help the healing process.

As scar tissue forms in an unaligned pattern, it is important to realign them to improve muscle strength and performance. Failure to realign scar tissue may lead to inefficient movement patterns, which can lead to further damage or injury.

A progressive strengthening program needs to begin within pain limits around 4-6 weeks, returning to previous activities.

Healing Process

1.Inflammation (acute)

2.Repair and Remodel (2-3 weeks)

3.Remodel, regain function (4-6 weeks)

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