Muscle Strain: Treatment, Causes and Prevention

Good orthopedic care starts with even better prevention! Even muscle strain can contribute to future bone or muscle problems.  When exercising, or doing any physical activity, it’s important to do what you can to prevent muscle strains.


What Causes Muscle Strain?

Any sort of physical exertion puts extra burdens on your muscles and the tendons that tie them to your bones.   Even a little extra strain can start to tear muscle or tendon fibers, leading to pain, swelling, or even an inability to move the limb.

The thing to remember here is that, when working out, it’s normal to tear muscles – a little.  That’s how they get stronger, by first being torn at a microscopic level and then re-knitting to be tougher and more dense.  So, the line between “normal” soreness from working out and actual strained muscles is mostly a matter of degree.

Muscle Strain Treatment

In most cases, muscle strains will heal themselves within 24-48 hours with minimal intervention. All you should need are normal over-the-counter NSAID painkillers like Advil or Aleve, or possibly a topical pain-relief cream.

Otherwise, just try to avoid moving/working the affected limb more than is necessary.

If pain persists, or the symptoms are especially severe, medical intervention may be called for.  A muscle strain that’s too damaged becomes a muscle tear, which when the muscle is so damaged it’s no longer fully connected to the tendons/bone. This can also lead to the tendons being pulled off of the bone causing inflammation, called tendonitis.

Severe muscle injuries need orthopedic care because a torn muscle or tendon that heals improperly can cause future problems.

Prevent Muscle Strain When Possible!

Always take proper precautions by using safety gear and stretching before working out.  If you feel a muscle straining, take a break rather than risking extra damage and over usage.  Always treat a strain immediately, and don’t over-work it until the pain subsides.

You only get one muscular system, and good orthopedic care means protecting it!

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