Muscle Strains

Commonly affecting; calf, hamstring, quadriceps, rotator cuff, biceps, pectorals, low back region.

These can affect any muscle in the body and are often referred to as a “pulled” or “torn” muscle. This injury can affect the muscle or tendons but is most common at the musculotendinous junction – where the muscle and tendons join together – as this is the weakest part of the muscle as a whole, structure.

Undue pressure on the muscles via sudden or explosive forces can occur during normal daily task, sports activities or whilst performing work tasks. Muscle damage is essentially tearing part of or all the muscle fibres and the tendons of that muscle. This can also cause damage to the local blood and nerves. This can result in bruising, pain, redness, swelling and heat in and around the area. Loss of or limited function is also a symptom of a muscle strain. You may also feel and hear a tearing or popping sensation in the affected muscle. Commonly people who suffer hamstring and calf strains will describe being “shot in the leg”.

Muscle strains are categorised by severity from grade 1 (less severe) to grade 3 (severe). In most cases muscle strains are treated conservatively but in some cases surgery may be required.

Tendon injury (tendonitis or tendinopathy?)

Commonly affects; Hamstring, Achilles, Rotator Cuff, Bicep, Patella (quadriceps), Elbow (wrist extensors)

Tendon injuries commonly occur from sporting or daily activities which can include sudden or repetitive movements. The latter are often referred to as repetitive strain injury (RSI) and can be caused by sports that involve repeated running and jumping activities. However, these can also be caused by repeated or regular use of computers (keyboard and mouse) and or fine mechanical work (electricians, engineers, decorators).

There are actually 4 types of tendon injury highlighted below, although tendonitis and tendinopathy are the most commonly known.

Tendonitis; inflammation of a tendon

Tendinopathy; degeneration of the tendon

Tenosynovitis; inflammation of the sheath surrounds a tendon

Tendon rupture; a sudden tear in a tendon (Achilles most common)

Symptoms of any tendon injury can include:

  • Pain (dull ache) that worsens when moving the affected area
  • stiffness in the area (worse on a morning and eases with continued movement) morning
  • weakness in the area or inability to move the joint
  • a grating or cracking sensation during movement
  • swelling, heat or redness
  • a fibrous lump on the affected tendon

During a tendon rupture it is likely you will experience sudden, severe pain, along with complete loss of movement of difficulty with movement.

Ligament and Joint Sprains

Ligaments are strong bands of connective tissue surrounding all joints and that connect bones to one another. Injury to the ligament occurs when one or several ligaments are stretched, twisted or torn, beyond their limit. Normally the result of excessive forces being applied to a joint.

Ligament sprains can occur throughout the body however, common locations for sprains include: ankle, knee, wrist, shoulder, spine (facet joints of all regions)

Symptoms of a ligament strain include:

  • pain around the affected joint
  • inability to use the joint normally or put weight on it
  • swelling, bruising and tenderness
  • you may hear or feel a popping sensation

There may be swelling soon after the injury but the bruising may not show until later or it may not show at all. Similar to muscle strain ligament injuries are classified by severity; Grade 1 (less severe) to Grade 3 (most severe).

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