Pulled muscles or strains can occur from putting too much strain on a muscle. If the muscles are tensed too forcefully or too suddenly, they can get overstretched or torn. Muscles that are commonly torn include the hamstrings (posterior thigh), quadriceps (front of thigh), and groin (inner thigh).
These injuries are common when starting a new workout plan, with sudden heavy lifting or doing activities that require a lot of jumping or running.
What does a pulled muscle feel like?
Pain when the specific muscle is used or even at rest. Weakness in the muscle, swelling, bruising, or redness in the muscle. Inability to use the muscle is also a symptom. If you hear a “popping” sound with the injury, cannot walk, or there is significant swelling, pain, fever, or open cuts, you should go to the emergency room.
How should I care for a muscle strain at home?
Protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. (PRICE)
• Protect the strained muscle from further injury
• Rest- avoid activities that are painful
• Ice the affected muscle (20 minutes every hour while awake). A package of frozen vegetables works well if you don’t have an ice pack. Make sure to put a thin towel or pillowcase between the skin and ice pack.
• Compression can be gently applied with an ACE or elastic bandages, do not wrap too tightly
• Elevate the injured area to decrease swelling.
How physical therapy may help.
If pain persists, it is appropriate to consult a doctor or physical therapist. A doctor can determine the severity of the damage to the muscle and determine if an assistive device, such as crutches or a brace is needed.
After the initial inflammation has subsided, physical therapy can help to improve the flexibility and strength of the muscle. A physical therapist can guide you in a safe way to exercise in order to prepare the muscle to return to more taxing movements such as those involved in everyday activity or sport. Strained muscles can become aggravated easily if too much stress is applied again too soon. Returning to your normal activity at the appropriate time is crucial to avoiding reinjury. Advice from your physical therapist is invaluable in helping you to return to your activities as quickly, but as safely as possible.
Please contact us at HOPE Physical Therapy & Wellness (719)-466-6800 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a free consultation.
Karli Rikli, MSPT