Font Size

Muscle Strain (cont.)

What Are Symptoms and Signs of a Muscle Strain?

  • Swelling, bruising or redness, or open cuts as a consequence of the injury
  • Pain in the affected muscle at rest
  • Pain when the specific muscle or the joint in relation to that muscle is used
  • Weakness sensation of the associated muscle or tendons (A sprain, in contrast, is an injury to a joint and its ligaments.)
  • Inability to use the affected muscle at all

Ultimately, the symptoms depend on the muscle affected and the severity of the injury. Here is a listing of various muscles with the corresponding location and other corresponding symptoms:

  • Intercostal muscle: pain between the ribs; pain with throwing or chopping motion
  • Abdominal muscle: pain with sit-up or "crunch" motion of belly
  • Calf muscle: pain in back of lower leg with walking or running; limping
  • Lumbar back muscle: pain with bending over and returning to erect position
  • Rhomboid muscle: pain with rowing motion
  • Neck muscle: pain with movement of the head in direction of strained muscle or twisting the neck
  • Trapezius muscle: pain with pulling down from an overhead position
  • Adductor muscle: pain when squeezing knees together
  • Quadriceps muscle: pain when extending the knee from a flexed position
  • Hip flexor muscles: pain when flexing the thigh into the body at the hip
  • Gluteal muscle: pain when walking or running up hills or stairs
  • Hamstring muscle: pain when accelerating during sprinting
  • Bicep muscle: pain when curling (lifting) against resistance at the elbow

When Should Someone Seek Medical Care for a Muscle Strain?

If one has a significant muscle injury (or if the home care methods bring no relief in 24 hours), call a doctor.

If someone hears a "popping" sound with the injury, cannot walk, or there is significant swelling, pain, fever, or open cuts, he or she should be examined in a hospital's emergency department.

Last Reviewed 11/20/2017

Must Read Articles Related to Muscle Strain

CT Scan (CAT Scan, Computerized Axial Tomography)
CT Scan What is a CT scan? Computerized tomography scans (CT scans) are important diagnostic tools for a variety of medical conditions. Some areas of the body frequentl...learn more >>
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a scanner that takes cross-sectional images of the body. It is used to evaluate tissues of the head, neck, chest, limbs, abd...learn more >>
Sprains and Strains
Sprains and Strains An injury to a ligament is called a sprain, while an injury to a muscle or tendon is called a strain. Symptoms and signs include pain, swelling, bruising, and d...learn more >>

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?

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 »

Medical Dictionary