What to do in case of muscle injury?
Especially in sports, a muscle injury occurs quite often. The cause is usually a poor training condition of the athlete. Then the muscles are usually not sufficiently warmed up.
However, overtired muscles are also susceptible to muscle injuries.
What are muscle injuries?
A muscle injury is a more or less severe damage of the musculature, which is caused by overload or trauma.
Also violent impacts (e.g. B. Kicks, punches) can lead to corresponding injuries. In most cases it is a muscle contusion or a stretching injury.
Muscle injuries occur very often in sports, they are with up to 30 percent the most frequent sports injuries.
Often such injuries are underestimated, medically recommended sports breaks are not observed. This of course increases the risk for further injuries.
Forms of a muscle injury
In most cases, muscle injuries are so-called stretching injuries.
These include muscle soreness as well as muscle strain, but also muscle fiber tear and muscle tear. But a muscle contusion is also possible.
Muscle soreness results from unaccustomed as well as prolonged strain. Micro-injuries to the muscle fibers occur. If certain muscle areas are permanently stressed in an unusual way, this muscle injury occurs.
Muscle soreness always occurs a certain time after the sport. Pain is sometimes severe and can last for up to a week. In addition, there may be a severe restriction of mobility of some muscle parts due to the pain.
If the muscle is stressed to its elastic limit, a muscle strain can occur. This is caused, for example, by unsuitable shoes with a lack of stability. However, the elasticity limit is not yet exceeded.
A muscle strain is immediately noticeable and causes severe cramp-like pain. The muscle is no longer able to move due to the strain, because the muscle fibers are massively overstretched. However, a muscle strain is only visible microscopically.
Movement restrictions due to the pain can last only one day, but also several weeks.
Muscle fiber tear
The muscle fiber tear occurs suddenly and without warning. It is manifested by a sharp, intense pain, which no longer allows the usual movement. There is also significant stretching, pressure, strain and resistance pain in the affected area.
The cause of this discomfort is a tear in one or more muscle fibers, which are torn either longitudinally or transversely. Furthermore, a muscle fiber tear is often accompanied by a hematoma.
Similar to the muscle fiber tear, the muscle tear also occurs without warning and provides pain and restrictions in movement. Sometimes the mobility is not only limited, but completely impossible.
In the case of a tear of a large muscle, there is sometimes also an indentation or bulge in the affected area. Muscle tears show – like muscle fiber tears – a hematoma, which is clearly visible after a short time.
If a muscle contusion occurs, the symptoms are similar to those of a muscle tear, but they are much larger in area.
Muscle bruises, which are also known as the so-called horse kiss, hurt a lot and there is quite a large hematoma due to bruised or even torn muscle fibers. In most cases, bruises are caused by violent impact
First aid for muscle injuries
If a muscle injury occurs, then the correct initial treatment is crucial for the further healing process. Sometimes this can even promote a shortening of the healing period.
The so-called PECH rule is the remedy of choice among the first aid measures for a muscle injury:
- P (Pause): Immediately after the accident has occurred, or even at the first sign of a muscle injury, athletic activity should be stopped immediately. Immobilization of the affected extremity is important. This is the only way to prevent further damage.
- E (ice): To prevent hematoma and swelling, immediate cooling of the affected area with ice is important. The cooling reduces the blood circulation. Since the swelling is less extreme, the pain is usually also less.
- C (compression): In addition to cooling, an elastic and wide-area compression bandage with dosed pressure on the corresponding area is also important. This prevents blood from reaching the tissue, contributing to swelling. A compression bandage also provides more stability and protects the injured muscle.
- H (elevation): Further swelling and bleeding into the tissue can also be prevented if the respective extremity is elevated. The human circulatory system follows the laws of gravity and thus less blood flows into the injured region, in fact, it may even drain better.
Treatment options for muscle injuries
Treatment of muscle injuries depends primarily on the severity of the injury. For strains often a conservative therapy without surgery is necessary, a muscle fiber tear or a muscle tear may require surgery. For muscle bruises, the extent of the injury also plays a role.
If it is only a sore muscle, then usually no medical treatment is necessary. Here, rest for at least one day is usually sufficient. Warm baths or sauna sessions can support the blood circulation of the muscles and promote healing.
However, massages should be avoided during the pain phase; only after the pain has subsided can loosening massages support muscle development.
Usually a conservative treatment is sufficient for muscle strains or a muscle bruise – as mentioned above. The swelling of the muscle tissue should go down as quickly as possible, hematomas must be reduced.
Elevated position and cooling bandages are useful for it. To alleviate the discomfort can also be used anti-inflammatory drugs.
Bandages can be used to immobilize the muscles. These can help bring torn muscle fibers back together enough to grow back together on their own. (Source: www.BANDAGE FRIEND.de)
As already mentioned in connection with the PECH rule, a bandage also has a compression function, which reduces swelling.
In addition, due to the cushions incorporated in the bandage, the tissue is massaged as a result of the movement, which promotes blood circulation and thus additionally supports the healing process.
Of course, a bandage also plays a preventive role. It supports the affected muscle and can prevent re-injury.
If there is a serious injury to a muscle, such as a muscle fiber tear or a muscle tear, surgery may be indicated. This is the case when the tear is so large that it affects more than a third of the affected muscle strand.
These torn muscle fibers are sewn back together during the procedure. Surgical measures are also indicated if the reduction of bruising does not occur on its own due to its size.
Conclusion: Take muscle injuries seriously
Muscle injuries should always be taken seriously. Who disturbs pain, should allow its body the necessary rest. If a muscle injury is ignored and the muscles continue to be stressed, this can lead not only to a longer duration of injury, but also to secondary injuries.