Knowing how to treat a muscle tear is essential for athletes and those who exercise regularly. A muscle tear is an injury that can require surgery and will require physical therapy to heal. The severity of muscle tears vary; if one occurs, medical evaluation is necessary to determine the course of treatment. There are ways to tell if you have pulled a muscle or torn it. Here's how to tell and what to do if a muscle tear happens.
What Is a Muscle Tear?
Exercise that causes overexertion of a muscle can cause a tear, called a distraction rupture. This means that the muscle is not strong or flexible enough to meet the physical demands made on it. Part or all of the muscle tears, causing a bruise and bleeding inside the muscle tissue. It is very painful, and can be serious.
Another way to experience a muscle tear is to suffer a contact injury to the muscle. Impact on the muscle from an accident can cause a compression rupture, which tears muscle tissue. In either case, bleeding inside the muscle needs to be controlled as soon as possible.
What to Do If a Muscle Tear Occurs
The most important thing to know is to stop exercising immediately. That will only increase the damage and the bleeding, which you want to minimize as much as possible. Heat and massage will cause further damage and bleeding, so avoid these as well.
Apply ice to slow the blood flow, keeping the ice in place for 20 minutes. Then apply support and compression to the injured muscle with an Ace bandage. Elevation helps to reduce blood flow, so elevate the injured body part, if possible.
Get medical attention immediately to determine the severity of the tear. Severe tears may require surgery to reattach the muscle. Most muscle tears of moderate or severe levels require physical rehabilitation to regain strength before you can resume normal levels of activity.
During the healing process, scar tissue will form in the muscle, which is not as strong as the muscle itself. This makes the muscle prone to reinjury if it is exerted too soon. Be sure to follow your doctor's advice when recovering from a muscle tear. Take things slowly, and give your body the time it needs to heal.
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