Signs Of A Torn Muscle

Injuries can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes improper use, repetitive motions, or even sudden trips, falls, or slips can all be contributing factors. A muscle tear can happen without warning and is incredibly painful to endure. While treatment is available and can get a person back to a regular or more active lifestyle, such solutions depend on quick diagnosis and interventions.

What is a muscle tear?

Also referred to as a strain or pull, muscle tears are soft tissue damage that occurs to the muscles or a tendon. In some cases, the injury isn’t a full tear but rather a portion of muscle or tendon that has been overstretched. In more severe cases, a partial or complete tear is possible, and the affected individual can experience painful symptoms.

Common causes of strains

Various factors can contribute to muscle strains, but a few are standout reasons. Individuals who participate in contact sports are most likely to experience tears. Other causes can include poor posture when engaged in physical activity or repetitive movements. For example, carpal tunnel strains the hands and wrists from repeating the same motions. Note that joints in the legs, ankles, hands, and elbows are more likely to experience muscle tears. Identifying a strain quickly can help with overall recovery. Here are 3 signs of a muscle tear to watch for.

1. Swelling at the injury site

Nothing gives a visual indicator of an injury like swelling. In most cases, the symptom isn’t alone and will co-present with bruising or redness. However, depending on an individual’s skin tone, swelling may be the only obvious sign of an injury.

2. Muscle weakness

Another sign that an injury has occurred is when the damaged muscle is weak. A person may no longer be able to lift or move objects with ease, which may cause the body to compensate to continue completing tasks. In more extreme cases, an injured individual may no longer be able to use the affected muscle at all. For example, an extreme muscle tear in the leg may make walking almost impossible.

3. Pain at the injury

Along with swelling, bruising, redness, or even muscle weakness, pain is another red flag that damage has occurred. Depending on how extreme the damage is, the discomfort may only be present when the muscle is activated or also when at rest. Pain while at rest indicates the injury may be more severe. Similarly, muscle spasms may also occur.

At-home or hospital care

Damage severity will dictate whether an individual can care for a torn muscle at home or requires professional care. For at-home treatments, focus on rest, ice, and elevation to help control swelling and prevent further injury. If pain is present, consider taking an over-the-counter (OTC) medication like an NSAID for relief. More severe cases may require surgery to repair the damage. Early identification of a muscle tear can make a big difference in recovery and return to activity.