Muscle strain / tear

Damaged muscle from over-exertion

Sporting activities are usually the cause of this type of injury, although they can happen anywhere. External forces, like a sudden impact or pull can overcome the elasticity of a muscle and tearing occurs within it. The body can also strain a muscle internally by just pulling too hard, like when kicking or jumping. A simple 3 grade system can be used to categorise the severity –

Grade 1 means the muscle is sore but there is no appreciable damage because the tearing is in a small region. These can be worked on almost immediately with soft tissue massage and stretching. and generally only last a week or two.

Grade 2 tearing will produce some bruising, and there may even be a palpable defect in part of the muscle. This needs a longer rest period before any soft tissue work should be done as this will only promote bleeding and retard recovery. So it is important to have these injuries assessed because ‘rubbing them out’ may be the worst thing for them. Recovery time is more like 4-8 weeks depending on the location and severity.

Grade 3 means the muscle is torn right through. There is a palpable defect, and the muscle may separate and retract because of it. Referral to an orthopaedic surgeon, or even a trip to the emergency department is necessary because a lot of these injuries needs to be surgically repaired.