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    Strains

    Pulled muscle

    A strain is when a muscle is stretched too much and tears. It is also called a pulled muscle. A strain is a painful injury. It can be caused by an accident,overusing a muscle, or using a muscle inthe wrong way.

    Causes

    A strain may be caused by:

    • Too muchphysical activity or effort
    • Improperly warming up before a physical activity
    • Poor flexibility

    Symptoms

    Symptoms of a strain can include:

    • Pain and difficulty moving the injured muscle
    • Discolored and bruised skin
    • Swelling

    First Aid

    • Apply icerightawayto reduce swelling. Wrap the ice in cloth. Do not placeice directly on the skin. Apply ice for 10 to 15 minutes every 1 hour for the first day and every 3 to 4 hours after that.
    • Use ice for the first 3 days. Either heat or ice may be helpful after that if you still have pain.
    • Rest the pulled muscle for at least a day. If possible, keep the pulled muscle raised about your heart.
    • Try not to use a strained muscle while it is still painful. When the pain starts to go away, you can slowly increase activity.

    Call your local emergency number, such as 911, if:

    • You are unable to move the muscle.
    • The injury is bleeding.

    Call your health care provider if the pain does not go away after several weeks.

    Prevention

    The following tips may help you reduce your risk of a strain:

    • Warm-up properly before exercise and sports.
    • Keep your muscles strong and flexible.

    References

    Biundo JJ. Bursitis, tendinitis, and other periarticular disorders and sports medicine. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman’s Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 271.

    Brinker MR, O’Connor DP, Almekinders LC, et al. Physiology of Injury to Musculoskeletal Structures: 1. Muscle and Tendon Injury. In: DeLee JC, Drez D Jr, Miller MD, eds. DeLee and Drez’s Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 1, section A.

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    • Muscle strain

      illustration

    • Treatment for leg strain

      illustration

      • Muscle strain

        illustration

      • Treatment for leg strain

        illustration

      A Closer Look

      Self Care

        Tests for Strains

          Review Date: 4/13/2013

          Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

          The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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          St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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