What is it?

A muscle strain is an injury to a muscle or a tendon- the fibrous tissue that connects muscles to bones. Minor injuries may only overstretch a muscle or tendon, while more severe injuries may involve partial or complete tears in these tissues.

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Strain of muscle, fascia and tendon of the posterior muscle group.

Signs & symptoms

Signs and symptoms will vary, depending on the severity of the injury, and may include:
* Pain or tenderness
* Redness or bruising
* Limited motion
* Muscle spasms
* Swelling
* Muscle weakness


During the physical exam, your doctor will check for swelling and points of tenderness. The location and intensity of your pain can help determine the extent and nature of the damage.
In more severe injuries, where the muscle or tendon has been completely ruptured, your doctor may be able to see or feel a defect in the area of injury. Ultrasound often can help distinguish among several different types of soft tissue injuries.


For immediate self-care of a muscle strain, try the R.I.C.E. approach rest, ice, compression, elevation.
Some doctors recommend avoiding over-the-counter pain medications that can increase your risk of bleeding- such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) during the first 48 hours after a muscle strain. Acetaminophen can be helpful for pain relief during this time period.
A physical therapist can help you to maximize stability and strength of the injured joint or limb. Your doctor may suggest that you immobilize the area with a brace or splint. For some injuries, such as a torn tendon, surgery may be considered.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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