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Muscle Strain

What Is a Muscle Strain?

Muscle strain is injury to muscle as a result of strenuous activity. Almost anyone can put undue tension on muscles during the course of normal daily activities, with sudden, quick heavy lifting, during sports, or while performing work tasks. Muscle strain is sometimes referred to as muscle pull. A severe muscle strain can result in a muscle tear. The tearing of the muscle can also damage small blood vessels, causing local bleeding (with or without bruising) and pain (caused by irritation of the nerve endings in the area). Of note, a sprain, in contrast to a strain, is an injury to ligaments and/or joints that cause pain and swelling but not dislocation.

What Are Muscle Strain Causes and Risk Factors?

Muscle strains can happen to anyone. They occur in the course of normal activities of the day or as a result of sudden use of a muscle with activity. Activities that can increase the risk of muscle strain include athletic activity in sports, with sudden acceleration or deceleration, throwing, quick and/or heavy lifting, sudden coughing, or injury of muscle while performing irregular work tasks. It is possible to strain any muscle that moves bones. Commonly strained muscles include the lumbar muscles, hamstring muscles of the posterior thigh, abdominal muscles, biceps muscles, triceps muscles, adductor muscles, quadriceps muscles of the thigh, triceps muscles, calf muscles, upper back muscles including trapezius and rhomboid muscles, neck muscles, and the intercostal muscles and oblique muscles of the chest.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/1/2016

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Muscle Strain:

Muscle Strain - Treatment

What treatment has been effective for your muscle strain?

Muscle Strain - Recovery Time

How long did it take for you to recover from your muscle strain?

Sprains Home Remedy

Sprains and Strains Treatment

Self-Care at Home

Initial treatment for sprains and strains should occur as soon as possible.

  • Rest the injured part. Pain is the body's signal to not move an injury.
  • Ice the injury. This will limit the swelling and help with the spasm.
  • ....

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Medial Gastrocnemius Strain »

A medial calf injury is a musculotendinous disruption of varying degrees in the medial head of the gastrocnemius muscle that results from an acute, forceful push-off with the foot.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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