In athletes and sports enthusiasts, muscular injuries may stem from a variety of reasons including:
- Direct blow or trauma (contusion injury) such as being hit with a hockey stick or kicked during sport.
- Sudden forceful contraction or stretch such as tearing a hamstring muscle when kicking a football.
- Overuse such as strained forearm muscles with tennis as the muscles are overloaded repetitively.
Muscular injuries can sometimes affect only some of the muscle fibers, which are classified as a Grade 1 or 2 strain or sometimes the muscle may rupture completely which is a Grade 3 strain.
Signs and symptoms of muscular injuries include:
- Pain with contraction
- Pain with stretching
- Tender when touched
Causes of muscular injuries may be:
- Inadequate warm up/cool down with exercise
- Insufficient muscle flexibility
- Poor conditioning
- Poor technique
- Returning to sport too soon after injury
- Inappropriate footwear
Rehabilitation of muscular injuries
- RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) along with anti-inflammatory medications in the acute (48 hour) stage
- Use of crutches if necessary to avoid weight bearing on the affected extremity
- Physical therapy after the acute phase may involve passive stretching and joint mobilization to regain flexibility and range of movement, followed by a gradual strengthening exercise program including sports specific retraining when sufficient muscle healing has occurred.
- Deep tissue massage and acupuncture help with reducing muscle spasm and pain once the acute stage is over as well.
In more severe injuries, the muscle may not respond to treatment and surgery may be necessary. However, physical therapy is generally successful and you can usually return to your normal sports within 2 to 3 months. We will educate you in ways to prevent future injury through a thorough conditioning program that involves stretching and strengthening exercises, warm up and cool down stretches and even proper hydration and nutrition.
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