Muscle Strain Symptoms & Treatment

Also known as a "pulled muscle", muscle strain can occur within any muscle of the body. It typically occurs if there is a sudden overstretch to the actual fibers with in that muscle. The more violent, sudden or forceful pull can possibly cause an actual tear to the fibers.

Illustration of muscle strain in ankles

How does Muscle Strain Happen?

Muscle strain is often caused by fatigue, overuse from movement activities, or if the muscle is being strained in an unusual way. Additionally, if an athlete is not properly warmed up, or the person has poor flexibility, muscle strain can occur. Although strains can happen in any muscle, they are common in the lower extremities, such as the lower back, hamstring, calf or other leg muscles. There can be occasions that are related to a traumatic event, like a slip or fall as the muscle may have tried to “brace” the persons fall.

Symptom of Muscle Strain

A strain can cause cramping, local pain, limited range of motion, “knotted” feeling , stiffness or mild swelling within that affected muscle. It may linger for one or more days. there should be no bruising or swelling. If those symptoms occur, that suggests a more involved injury and possible muscle rupture.

How to Treat a Pulled Muscle

Mild acute strains can be easily treated with ice, gentle stretching, light massage or rolling over a ball if the strain is in the foot. Compression and elevation may also help. Chronic strains that linger or if there is a loss of movement or there is pain that is not subsiding should be evaluated by a doctor for proper medical treatments, but moist heat may help with gentle stretching, range of motion, and massage. Severe strains or if a tear is suspected should be evaluated by a doctor as other conditions can be ruled out.

Contact Gurnee Podiatry & Sport Medicine Associates

If you feel you are experiencing pain due to a pulled muscle, contact Dr. Schoene and Podiatry and Sports Medicine Associates today.