Muscle strains are common. They can occur when you stretch or reach out past your normal range while running, playing sport or gardening etc. A muscle tear is more serious as some of the muscle fibres will be broken.
Preventing muscle sprains
The best way to prevent muscle strains and tears is to include a warm-up programme before starting any exercise, and then cool down and stretch when you have finished the activity. Advice on warm-up programmes and cool-down activities can be obtained from your local physiotherapist
The sooner you get help, the faster you injury is likely to heal.
For an initial treatment of your muscle sprain follow the R.I.C.E.D method
- Rest – stop the activity you are doing to avoid further damage
- Ice – place crushed ice wrapped in a damp towel on the injured area for 20 minutes every 2 hours for the first 48 hours.
- Compression – firm bandaging helps reduce swelling and bleeding
- Elevation – keep the affected area raised as much as possible
- Diagnosis – it is very important to see your doctor or physiotherapist if the pain and swelling gets worse or you have not improved after a couple of days.
And avoid H.A.R.M. for the first 72 hours:
- Running (or any exercise)
How can physiotherapy help?
Following an injury, your physiotherapist can help restore you to full movement and also teach you how to prevent injuries reoccurring. Treatment will include an exercise programme, possibly with the use of some gym equipment to increase your strength and co-ordination and restore any movement lost in the joint.