Muscle and Tendon Strains

Get back to regular activity with a physio assessment.

Think You Might Have a Tendon or Muscle Strain?

A muscle or tendon strain can happen at any time and for a variety of reasons – you could forget to warm up before a workout, be lifting something heavy, or even sit or stand in an awkward position. Many people make the mistake of ignoring strains, but this could worsen the condition if ignored. Seeking professional assistance from a Physiotherapist could mean the difference between days and weeks of recovery time.

What is a Muscle or Tendon Strain?

Muscle or tendon strains can occur suddenly or over a prolonged exposure to constant strain that surpasses the tissue’s tolerance. Muscle tendon junctions are common sites of acute tearing. The body of the tendon and its insertion point – where it grows into the bone – can be the site of acute tears (e.g., Achilles ruptures) but are more likely to generate symptoms from micro tears and degenerative changes in the tendon commonly referred to as Tendinopathy.

Understanding the cause of your symptoms from your history will help inform your Physiotherapist regarding strategies to assist your full recovery. Changing work/training volumes and intensities, postures and techniques used, and matching required mobility and strength for the activity in question are some parameters that need to be assessed and managed.

MPPFG has the experience and expertise to do the “deep-dive” on symptoms from muscle and tendon injuries and the chronic conditions they often generate. Tendons are strong structures but have a poor blood supply, so they are slow to recover and are amongst the most recalcitrant of all musculoskeletal conditions. You need MPPFG in your corner to help overcome your injury or chronic condition.

Muscle and Tendon Strain Symptoms

People are known to experience a number of symptoms as a result of a muscle or tendon strain, including:

Swelling, bruising, or redness around the site of the injury

Aching pain at rest (in the acute phase)

Increase in pain when the muscle or tendon is used

Significant loss of strength when the affected muscle or tendon is contracted

Inability to use the muscle or tendon at all

Strains are graded according to their severity and the amount of damage to the muscle fibres.

Grade 1

Grade 1 means that the muscle or tendon is overstretched (small tears may or may not occur). You may experience mild pain with or without swelling, and the use of the area will create soreness, but most (if not all) of the strength will remain.

Grade 2

Grade 2 means that the muscle or tendon is overstretched, with a large percentage of the fibres torn. You may experience pain, bruising, and swelling. The area may be tender, movement may be difficult, and there is usually a loss of strength.

Grade 3

Grade 3 means that most of the fibres are torn. You may experience significant pain, swelling, bruising, and tenderness. Movement is usually difficult, and you will often experience a significant loss of strength and mobility.

Muscle and Tendon Strain Treatment

How your Physiotherapist will treat your strain will depend on its stage of healing.

In the first 72 hours after a strain occurs, the emphasis is on managing swelling, pain management, and deloading the injured muscle/tendon (such as strapping, orthopaedic boots, crutches, etc). After this, the focus shifts to the rehabilitation process – restoring range of motion, strength, and then sport-specific retraining (if necessary) to ensure that the muscle or tendon is conditioned for the activity you’re returning to.

Our Physiotherapists use a variety of manual therapy techniques to restore muscle health, including massage, dry needling, and stretching techniques. They will also provide a rehabilitation program to help progress the muscle or tendon through each of the healing stages. Shockwave Therapy can be a valuable treatment for chronic and recalcitrant tendinopathies.

Your Muscle and Tendon Strain Questions Answered

You may experience a strain in any muscle or tendon in your body; however, the most common are the hamstring, quadricep, calves, groin, Rotator Cuff and Tennis/Golfer’s elbow regions.

Although it is possible to treat some strains at home, Physiotherapy may help optimise healing, reduce swelling, decrease pain, and provide self-management strategies. We can also send you for further investigations and even a surgical opinion if required. If injuries are left untreated, they can deteriorate, leading to a longer recovery period, as well as unnecessary pain and discomfort.

While sporting people do most definitely experience muscle and tendon strains more frequently, they’re something that anyone can develop. A strain can occur if you were to slip on a flight of stairs, for example, or if you were to change your regular activities.

There are things you can do to help minimise the likelihood of a strain occurring (such as an appropriate warm up or cool down, working on muscle strength and endurance, and having good recovery habits), but they cannot always be prevented.

While any muscle or tendon can be strained, certain parts of the body are more susceptible to such an injury than others. These include the legs and ankles, hands, and elbows.

This will depend on a number of factors, including the grade of the strain and how long it took for you to seek treatment. In most cases, however, it will take at least six weeks for the injury to heal.


Suffering a Muscle or Tendon Strain and Need a Solution?

If you believe that you’ve sustained a muscle or tendon strain, book an appointment with one of our experienced Physiotherapists sooner rather than later. They will determine what structure is involved and how severe the strain is before devising a personalised treatment plan to get you back on your feet. It’s important that you follow through on treatment and rehabilitation to ensure you’re well-prepared for a return to sport, work, and other recreational activities.

Book your appointment today with MPPFG, and we’ll help you discover your best road to recovery.

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