Physical activity improves our cardiovascular & respiratory systems, our strength, muscular endurance, and many other physiological components. However, it is still possible to suffer injuries If you’re tired while training, when the intensity is higher than normal or at a new sport you’ve never practiced. Muscle strains & tears are frequently encountered. This type of injury occurs an overloaded stretch & force is applied to the muscle or tendon.
THE MUSCLES THAT ARE THE MOST AFFECTED
Muscles at risk of being torn are mainly those passing through two joints (bi-articular muscles), for example the calf and the hamstring (rear thigh muscle) or the rectus femoris, one of the four portions of the quadriceps (front thigh muscle).
There are three degrees of severity in a muscle injury: a simple muscle overstretching (grade 1) a partial tear (grade 2) or a complete tear (grade 3). All three grades will evolve differently during the recovery period and require more or less medical care.
WHAT IS THE OPTIMAL THING TO DO WHEN THIS TYPE OF INJURY OCCURS?
1- Immediate cessation of the activity is needed in order to avoid aggravating the condition.
2- Apply a pressure bandage to limit the swelling, support the injured muscle and facilitate mobility within the movement.
3- Keep the injured body part elevated as well as frequent icing to prevent edema increase.
It is important to be evaluated by a physiotherapist to determine the degree of damage and treat the condition for optimal recovery.
HOW LONG CAN YOU EXPECT OPTIMAL RECOVERY AFTER AN INJURY?
A period of 6 weeks is required in order to achieve minimum recovery of a muscle strain or tear. During those six weeks, the physiotherapist will guide you in determining what treatments & exercises are needed and especially when to start with each phase of the recovery. The recovery time can vary depending on the severity of the injury. The physiotherapist will guide you in a safe return to sports/hobbies & to help you prevent re-injuries.
The primary objectives will be to regain the flexibility of the injured muscle, eliminate any restriction of movement in the adjacent joints and progress the strengthening exercises to regain its initial force.