When you are suffering from a pulled muscle you might feel helpless and frustrated. A muscle strain is a very common condition, but it can still wreak havoc in your daily routine because of the pain it can cause and the impact it can have on your mobility. Knowing how to prevent and treat a strain can make your life a whole lot easier.
What is a Muscle Strain?
A muscle is strained when it goes beyond its normal range of motion and tears either partially or completely. Another term for this is a pulled muscle. It can be caused by overuse or direct trauma. That is why it most often occurs with people who are physically active. They may not have warmed up properly or they may have over-exerted themselves. Some tell-tale signs of a pulled muscle include pain, difficulty moving the muscle, bruising, and swelling. If your muscle is only partially torn, you may feel like you can still walk on it at times. However, you should refrain from doing this because it can worsen the situation. Athletes are not the only ones who can suffer from a muscle strain. It’s important to take precautions to hopefully avoid this painful condition in the first place.
Preventing a Pulled Muscle
You can’t control everything, but there are things you can do to decrease your risk of pulling your muscles. When you are exercising, always warm up your muscles first. This can just mean running in place for a few minutes. When you are finished working out, make sure you stretch. This keeps your muscles flexible and strong. Always wear proper footwear when engaging in physical activity, too. It’s a good idea to get your feet professionally fitted so that you know the shoes you are wearing are exactly the right size and shape for your unique feet. When you walk or run, always look out for uneven ground. Even a simple misstep can cause a muscle to be pulled.
Treating Strained Muscles
Treatment for a strain is fairly simple and can usually be done at home without medical intervention. The RICE method is preferred. This means rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Never try to exercise with a strained foot or leg muscle—you can make it worse! After you have allowed your muscles time to heal, you can begin to do strengthening exercises to restore strength and function. Dr. Mitchell Wachtel may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication to help with pain and swelling. In some severe cases, you may find that surgery is necessary to repair the damage. This is usually only when the muscle has been completely torn. After surgery, physical therapy will help you recover from your pulled muscle and return to regular activity.
If you think you have a muscle strain and have more questions on how to treat it, you can call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel at (978) 794-8406 to schedule an appointment in our North Andover office. It’s our job and our pleasure to help get you back on your feet.