Muscle strains are some of the most common injuries experienced in sport, commonly referred to as a “pulled muscle”. If you actively participate in sport, chances are that you have experienced this type of injury in the past.
The most common presentation of a muscle strain is a sudden sharp pain resulting from participation in a high-speed or forceful movement that requires you stop that activity.
Physical rehabilitation has been shown to significantly reduce the time spent away from sport in individuals who sustain a muscle strain as compared to individuals who do not participate in a rehabilitation program. Herlong Sports Physical Therapy provides professional muscle strain injury treatment to facilitate safe and efficient return to competition.
What is a Muscle Strain?
A muscle strain is an injury characterized by the overstretching, partial, or complete tearing of a muscle. This usually occurs as a result of a high-speed, high-force, or high-degree of movement.
Common muscle strains include:
Hamstring – a group of muscles on the backside of the thigh. Typically strained with forceful or high-speed lengthening of the muscle, such as in sprinting or kicking.
Quadriceps – a group of muscles on the frontside of the thigh. Typically strained with forceful or high-speed contraction of the muscle, such as sprinting or kicking.
Groin – a group of muscles located on the inside of the hip/thigh. Typically strained with high-speed or high-force movements such as running, cutting, and lifting.
Calf – a group of muscles located on the backside of the lower leg. Typically strained with forceful, high-speed, or long duration activities such as sprinting, jumping, or long-distance running.
Abdominals – a group of muscles located on the frontside of the trunk. Typically strained with high-speed, forceful rotational movements such as a baseball pitch or a tennis serve.
Sports Where Muscle Strains Commonly Occur
Muscle strains are common in most competitive sporting endeavors and activities that require repetitive or maximal effort muscle usage. Common examples include:
- Track & field
What Patients Are Saying
I've been going to Herlong sports pt for about 2 years. When I first started going I could barely make it through my soccer games without severe pain. Now I just finished my first college season with no pain thanks to pt. Would highly recommend for anyone to go especially athletes. Everyone there is very nice and friendly
Muscle Strain Treatment
Most muscle strains do not require surgery and will heal on their own. However, physical therapy has been shown to improve outcomes and decrease the amount of time it takes to return to physical activity.
If you are suffering from a recent muscle strain, Herlong Sports Physical Therapy can help you recover and get back to action faster than you would without treatment.
Treatment of a muscle strain will consist of 2-3 days of rest, followed by gradual loading of the muscle, including early reintroduction of higher speed activities such as running.
Rehab will consist of gradual progression of loading of the injured muscle into a tolerable level of pain, up to around a 4/10 on the pain scale. The goal of physical therapy for muscle strains is to progress loading of the muscle and participation in functional activity over time to the point where the activities performed on a daily basis are no longer intense enough to cause pain.
How Long Does a Muscle Strain Last?
Recovery timelines for muscle strains vary considerably from person to person, and are influenced by factors such as the severity of injury, mechanism of the injury, location of the injury and the number of re-injuries that occur.
- Grade I muscle strains typically resolve within a few weeks.
- Grade II injuries may persist for several weeks to a few months.
- Grade III injuries may require several months of rehabilitation or surgery followed by several months of rehabilitation to recover from.
Muscle Strain Rehab Exercises
The specific exercise performed will depend on the muscle that is injured. An isometric exercise is an exercise that requires you to hold a position against resistance without breaking that position. Examples may include holding a plank for an abdominal strain, a bridge for a hamstring strain, or a wall sit for a quad strain. Shoot for 30s, 3x per day within a tolerable pain level i.e. a 4/10 pain level or below.
Jogging, running, or sprinting should be progressed concurrently with loading of the involved muscle. Find a percentage of full speed running that you can perform that does not exceed a 4/10 on the pain scale. You can do short bouts of several seconds or longer bouts of several minutes as long as your pain level is tolerable, keeping it at 4/10 on the pain scale or below.