You have just got through that first training session and you experience a sharpness in one of your muscles during sprinting.
WHAT IS A MUSCLE STRAIN?
An injury to a muscle due to forced muscle lengthening while still contracted. (think bicep curl, the bar lowered instantly while you are still contracting).
There are three types which are graded
- Grade 1 is stretching of the muscle fibres, some tenderness and very mild loss of strength
- Grade 2 is a partial tear of the muscle fibres, quite tender, bruising over the area and noticeable loss of strength
- Grade 3 is a complete rupture of the muscle fibres, very tender, extensive bruising and a dramatic loss of strength.
WHY DO YOU GET A MUSCLE STRAIN?
- Usually occurs when a muscle is taken beyond its physical capabilities due to insufficient strength, flexibility, poor warm-up and preparation or fatigue during activity.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
- Immediate management of an injury as described below is integral to ensuring the muscle can control swelling and inflammation in the early phase. This should be followed by appropriate assessment and diagnosis by a qualified health care professional. We always recommend our friendly Physiotherapists.
- Ice the muscle in a comfortable position for 20mins
(i.e., quads bend knee place ice on top, hamstrings stretch leg out ice underneath.)
- Light and gentle movement of the injured area in a pain free range if not a complete tear
- Compression of the area to reduce swelling
Because the initial injury causes intramuscular bleeding and icing will help reduce bleeding. Stretching will allow the muscle to heal in a lengthened position. 20 mins is the time that the blood system will reduce blood flow before it reverses the process sending more blood to an area.
HOW DO YOU PREVENT STRAINS?
The evidence points to improving strength within the muscle rather than a pure stretching program. A graded progressive strengthening program, which incorporates stretching and core exercises has been shown to have the best results.
Michael Bourke is a Physiotherapist at Lifecare Cottesloe and Claremont, and combines this role with that of Colts Physiotherapist with Claremont Football Club. To book and appointment with him or any of our other physiotherapists jump book an appointment online or call (08) 9384 3269.