Muscle strains are more common injuries in sports. Muscle strain refers to an injury or tear of a muscle or its attaching tendons. A tendon is a tough, fibrous cord of tissue that connects muscles to bone. There are two types of muscle strains, acute strain and chronic strain. Acute strains are caused by excessive stretching or tearing of a ligament. Chronic strains are caused by repetitive movements of muscles and tendons over long periods of time.
Sports activities such as football, basketball, hockey, gymnastics, boxing, wrestling, tennis, rowing, golf, racquet, throwing, and contact sports increases the risk of muscle injuries. The symptoms include pain, swelling, muscle spasm, muscle weakness, inflammation, and cramping.
Muscle strain is a common injury particularly seen in athletes who participate in sports activities that requires running, jumping, and kicking. During growth spurt the bones grow faster than the muscles. As a result the muscle becomes tight and a sudden jump or stretch can tear the muscle away from its connection to the bone resulting in strain.
In severe cases of muscle strain, a tendon can also be torn away from its bony attachment, which is called an avulsion injury.
Muscle strain is usually caused when a muscle is stretched beyond its limit. Some of the factors that increase the risks of developing muscle strain include tight muscles, muscle fatigue, muscle imbalance, athletic activities, poor running technique and insufficient warm-up/cool-down.
A person who experiences a muscle strain will have a sudden sharp pain in the affected muscle. Other additional symptoms such as swelling, bruising and muscle weakness may be noticed.
Muscle strain is diagnosed by physical examination and history. Some of the diagnostic tests such as X-ray and MRI scan may be required by the doctor to confirm the condition.
Immediately following an injury and before being evaluated by a doctor, you should initiate the R.I.C.E. method of treatment.
Your doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and inflammation. Once the pain has subsided your doctor may recommend physical therapy which involves range of motion exercises that include gentle stretching and strengthening exercises to regain strength which will help to speed up the recovery. These exercises should be carried out regularly as it helps to regain the flexibility and improve the restricted motion.
Surgery is performed for muscle strain only if the affected muscle is completely ruptured.