Symptoms and Signs of Muscle Strain

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/20/2019

Doctor's Notes on Muscle Strain

A muscle strain is the abnormal stretching or tearing of any muscle. Strains are graded according to their severity. A grade 1 strain involves stretching of some muscle fibers, while a grade 3 strain involves a complete rupture of the muscle. Overuse of the involves muscle is the typical cause of a muscle strain.

Associated symptoms and signs of a muscle strain include pain that may first arise after muscle spasm has set in. The pain may therefore take from minutes to hours to develop. Other symptoms can include swelling, bruising, muscle spasm, feeling hard knots of muscle tissue in the affected area, and difficulty moving or using the injured part of the body. For example, limping or gait disturbances can occur with a muscle strain in the leg.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.