Muscle strain (muscle pull)

Legs | Rheumatology | Muscle strain (muscle pull) (Disease)


Muscle strain is injury to muscle as a result of strenuous activity.

Symptoms include: swelling, bruising or redness, or open cuts as a consequence of the injury, pain at rest, pain when the specific muscle or the joint in relation to that muscle is used, weakness of the muscle or tendons, inability to use the muscle at all.

Causes and Risk factors

Almost anyone can put undue pressure on muscles during the course of normal daily activities, with sudden, quick heavy lifting, during sports, or while performing work tasks. Muscle strain is sometimes referred to as muscle pull. A severe muscle strain can result in a muscle tear. The tearing of the muscle can also damage small blood vessels, causing local bleeding (bruising) and pain (caused by irritation of the nerve endings in the area). A sprain, in contrast, is an injury to ligaments.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical exam. During the exam, it’s important to establish whether the muscle is partially or completely torn. X-rays or lab tests are often not necessary, unless there was a history of trauma or evidence of infection.

The amount of swelling or local bleeding into the muscle (from torn blood vessels) can best be managed early by applying ice packs and maintaining the strained muscle in a stretched position. Heat can be applied when the swelling has lessened. However, the early application of heat can increase swelling and pain. ...