Tears In The Muscles
There are some 650 muscles in the human body that keep you moving and working. Muscles are designed to move through expansion and contraction.
So, it’s hardly surprising that muscle strains and muscle tears are some of the most common injuries that we deal with.
An injured muscle or muscle strain not only causes pain but, if left untreated, can carry a real risk of increasing the severity of the injury as well as making the affected site prone to long term stiffness and inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.
What Is It, What Causes It?
Muscle strain injuries occur when too much pressure is applied to the muscle tissue, for example when you force a muscle to move a load it beyond its strength or overuse that muscle.
Muscle strain and muscle tear injuries result in damage to the fibres that make up your muscles and the tendons that connect the muscles to the bones. This kind of muscle damage can occur during any activity but they are extremely common sports or work injuries.
We grade the severity of this damage across three levels:
- Grade 1: Mild injury involving strain in a small number of fibres—mild pain but you’ll still retain full muscle function
- Grade 2: Medium or partial tear—a larger percentage of muscle fibres are torn—significant pain and range of movement will be limited
- Grade 3: A complete tear of all fibres—severe pain and loss of muscle function
What’s The Best Treatment
Remember, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation; that’s essential first aid treatment for any muscle strain or tear injury. Next, accurate diagnosis is critical; we’ll quickly pinpoint the problem area, ascertain the level of injury severity, outline the most effective treatment regime, and let you know how long full recovery will take.
Any treatment for muscle damage should incorporate the immediate reduction of swelling and inflammation and the potential formation of scar tissue. A period of reduced movement in the affected muscle is usually necessary for this.
We may use gentle massage therapy and compression to help reduce the swelling and inflammation. We’ll usually encourage you to keep up some mobility around the injured area but to avoid over stretching or painful movements.
We’ll monitor your progress and introduce increased exercise and mobility options for you as soon as it’s safe.
Treatment modalities such as anti inflammatory creams, shockwave treatment, dry needling or fascial manipulation may also form part of the muscle strain treatment process.
These treatments work, in simple terms, to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes, relax the muscles around painful nerve points (trigger points), break up scar tissue, increase blood circulation and reduce healing time.
We’ll can analyse gait issues or identify other areas of poor function that may have helped trigger your muscle injury. Custom orthotics might be necessary to balance out any stride or movement issues. We can help you work through your training programme to identify any sudden changes that might have placed undue stress on the muscles.
And we can help you strengthen critical muscle groups to reduce your chances of a repeat injury and help you get back to your pre-injury fitness as quickly as possible.
Healing injured or torn muscles takes time.
For a Grade 1 muscle strain you can expect recovery to take around 1-3 weeks with effective monitored physical therapy.
A Grade 2 muscle tear may require 6-12 weeks of combined relative rest, physical therapy and progressive reintroduction of movement and strength and fitness training.
Grade 3 muscle injuries are more complex and may even involve surgical intervention. This type of injury can take 3 to 6 months for full recovery. Given the time away from your normal exercise regime, it’s critical to monitor and carefully manage your fitness and muscle strength rehabilitation so that you don’t lose any ground.
If you have a torn muscle, don’t delay, see an Erica Dash podiatrist today. At Erica Dash Podiatry our expert sports injury podiatrists are trained to provide the best medical advice and treatment therapy for all muscle strains and tears.
What Makes A Muscle Injury More Likely?
A number of factors make it more likely that you will experience a strained or torn muscle sprain. These include:
- Severe and ongoing overload of a specific muscle
- Lack of training for a specific activity type or intensity
- Muscle weakness or lack of mobility due to previous injuries
- Insufficient warm ups and cool downs before and after intense activity
Some of the most commonly treated muscle strains involve the quadriceps, hamstrings, calf muscles and lower back.
What Are The Symptoms?
Typical symptoms of a muscle strain usually include:
- Muscle pain and tenderness
- Swelling, bruising and tissue inflammation
- Loss of strength and function in that specific area
These symptoms will be increasingly severe according to the level of muscle damage.
Shockwave is a great alternative to treatments such as dry needling if you’re needle phobic and not keen on dry needling. We also have effective treatment offers for kids.