Muscle strains and tears are the most common form of muscular injury. In fact it makes up around 55% of all orthopaedic presentations at primary care level. It is important to understand how muscles are injured, how they repair and their prognosis.
Muscles are usually injured as a result of acute bouts of exercise. They commonly occur;
- In muscles that cross two joints
- During explosive action, such as sprinting
- During times when athletes suddenly increasing their exercise regimens (such as during training camps).
Our Approach to Care
Muscles are made up of collagen fibres. During a muscle injury, the collagen fibres are damaged and it is this damage that leads to pain and the feeling of stiffness. People often try to manage this by stretching the injured muscle. Contrary to popular belief, this can have a really negative effect and delay healing times. That said, stretching is sometimes necessary but the correct dosage is key to ensuring the best chances of healing.
During the repair stages, the work you complete is key to successful recovery. All bone and tissues heal, regardless of what you do, BUT, poor healing/recovery can lead to further issues down the road. When muscles heal, new collagen fibres are laid. If these are laid poorly, then the reoccurrence of injury is likely and the injury can become chronic.
As already mentioned, the prognosis of muscle injuries is fairly positive. Most injuries can take around 2-3 weeks to repair. Muscle sprains are divided into Grade I, II and III injuries, with Grade III taking the longest to repair as they often involve the highest amount of damage to the tissue.