Muscle strains occur after the force going through a muscle is too much for it to handle and tears occur in the muscle belly. The degree of injury can be defined as seen in the table below.
When are they likely to occur?
You are more likely to suffer from a muscle strain if:
- You do not warm up sufficiently before activity
- Your muscles are tired, whether that be from an overload in activity over the week, or during the specific activity that you are performing
- You are performing a new activity that your muscles are not used to
- Following a rapid change in speed/force exerted through a muscle e.g suddenly stopping when running.
You are also more at risk of a muscle strain if you have suffered from a previous muscle strain to that part of your body. This is why rehab is important to reduce the chances of reoccurrence.
Symptoms of a muscle strain
- Tender to touch
- Sometimes swelling and bruising (bruising after muscle injury doesn’t usually appear straight away
- Sensation of tightness.
What to do about it?
- Being assessed can help to grade what level of strain you have suffered. This can determine rehab times and when it is safe to go back to activity
- A graded strengthening programme is usually appropriate, tailored to the individual and level of injury
- A graded re-introduction to sporting activity is also recommended, timescales vary from person to person.
Following PEACE & LOVE as shown below is a good guide to recovery.