What is a muscle tear, strain or pull?


At Motion Physio Clinic we treat many soft tissue injuries.  These refer to injuries of the muscles, tendons (which attach muscle to bone), ligaments (which attach bone to bone) and nerves. A muscle tear, strain or pull refers to damage to a muscle.  It can be caused by a sudden pull or overstrain to the area, that causes it to be damaged.

Symptoms include pain, swelling and tenderness on touch.  There can also be bruising to the region damaged.  The damaged is graded depending on the severity:

Grade 1 – pain may develop after the activity and there is mild pain on muscle contraction or stretch.  This feels more like a tightness or a cramp.  There is usually minimal bruising.

Grade 2 – there is immediate pain left at the injury site.  It is more painful than Grade 1 and will be painful on muscle contraction and stretch.

Grade 3 – this is a rupture of part of the muscle and this will be immediately painful.  There will be rapid and significant swelling.  Weight bearing through the region will be painful.  There may be a visible lump and indent where the injury happened.

Grade 1 and 2 strains will take 3-6 weeks to recover.  A Grade 3 tear which is a rupture to part of the muscle can take up to 3 months to fully heal.


POLICE is the first thing to do with a muscle strain.  This is

  • Protect
  • Optimal Loading
  • Ice (10mins only)
  • Compression (using a bandage)
  • Elevation

This is to reduce bruising and damage to the region.  A maximum of 48hrs rest is recommended and then early rehabilitation of the region should commence.  Your Chartered Physiotherapist will guide your rehabilitation from injury.  Starting a controlled resistance programme early will assist your rapid return to activities. Hands on treatments, such a soft tissue release, assisted stretches and dry needling can be helpful to aid in your recovery from injury.  A return to play/activity programme should be followed to avoid re injury on return to your activity.  This is most important in prevention of a chronic injury.

Your Chartered Physiotherapist will guide you back to full pain free movement and work with you to restore full activities.  If you need help with any muscle strain or soft tissue injury, please contact me at Motion Physio Clinic, Prosperous on 045 841010.

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