Simply put, a muscle tear, or otherwise know as a strain, occurs when the load placed on the muscle too great for its tensile strength to handle. In a ligament this is termed a sprain. Muscle tears most commonly occur in muscles which are unconditioned to a particular activity or to a significant increase in physical exertion that is required to complete a task. This can be one reason why many muscle tears occur at the beginning of the season or when a person is just starting up a new form of exercise/sport.
Symptoms of a muscle tear can include:
Bruising or redness
Aching pain at rest in the acute phrase
An increase in pain when the muscle is being used
Significant lost of strength when affected muscle is contracting to complete a task.
How do Physiotherapist treat muscles tears?
Treatment of muscle tears will depend on the stage of healing. In the first 72 hours after a muscle tear, the emphasis of therapy is swelling management (RICER; compress, elevate, ice, rest), pain management and to deload the injured muscle (eg. strapping).
Thereafter it becomes a rehabilitation process of restoring range of motion, strength then sport specific retraining to ensure you muscle is conditioned for the activity you wish to return to.
Our physiotherapist will use manual therapy techniques such as massage, dry needling, and stretching techniques to restore muscle health. You will also be given a target exercise program to progress the muscle through each of the healing stages.
A strain can be either acute or repetitive in nature. Repetitive strains can be caused by vibration, constant positions of joints, increased force production that is at times repetitive, repetitive range of motion activities.
Is this something that only sporting people get?
Not always the case. A strain can occur if one slips down a flight of stairs or changes their regular activity and begins to increase load.
Examples of repetitive strains include and also can lead to: