Muscle tear

Legs | Rheumatology | Muscle tear (Disease)


Muscle strain - or muscle pull or even a muscle tear - implies damage to a muscle or its attaching tendons. You can put undue pressure on muscles during the course of normal daily activities, with sudden heavy lifting, during sports, or while performing work tasks.

Muscle damage can be in the form of tearing (part or all) of the muscle fibers and the tendons attached to the muscle. 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).

Causes and Risk factors

Sprains and strains occur when the body is put under physical stress. In these situations, muscles and joints are forced to perform movements for which they are not prepared or designed. An injury can occur from a single stressful incident, or it may gradually arise after many repetitions of a motion. The ankle is one of the most common joints that is sprained. Usually, the mechanism of injury is rapidly rolling or twisting the ankle and turning it inward so that the sole of the foot starts to point upward. This causes stretching and damage to the ligaments on the outside part of the ankle that hold the joint stable.

Muscles strains may involve any body area that is required to perform work. Lower back pain and spasm is a common result of repetitive lifting injuries, but it only takes one twist or turn at the wrong time or in the wrong position to cause muscle fibers in the back to tear and go into spasm.

Muscles of the legs can be damaged from overuse or imbalance. For example, the quadriceps muscle in the front of the thigh extends the knee and is balanced by the hamstring muscles of the back of the thigh, which flex the knee. Excess bending or straightening can cause the muscle fibers to tear. Muscles that move and stabilize the hip are prone to injury. Groin injuries or groin pulls are strains of the hip muscles that allow the hip to pull inward. When the leg is pulled away from the body like doing the splits, the adductors are potentially damaged.

We use our arms and hands for a variety of activities and the arm muscles (biceps and triceps muscles) and the forearm can be strained because of lifting, pushing, pulling grabbing, twisting, and any other activity that you can imagine the arm and hand trying to accomplish.

Diagnosis and Treatment

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. ...

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