What is a Muscle Tear
Muscle tears make up between 10-55% of all sporting injuries.
A muscle tear commonly occurs when the load or tension applied to the tissue is above its tissue tolerance.
In other words, if the muscle cannot cope with the demand, something has to give, leading to a ‘strain’ or tear within the muscle or tendon.
If you have played sport it is likely that you or someone you know has undergone a muscle tear at some stage in their sporting career.
So what areas are most at risk of a tear?
- Two joint muscles: i.e. the hamstring that attaches at the knee and pelvis
- Muscle contracting eccentrically: i.e. in deceleration during sprinting
- Type 2 fibre dominant muscles: Explosive or fast twitch muscle groups that undergo high speed/force contractions
There are many different grading systems for muscle tears, however, the most common grading scheme is as follows;
Grade 1: “overstretch” or oedema (swelling) in the tissue
Grade 2: Partial tear (some but not all of the fibres are torn)
Grade 2: Complete rupture
So how do you or your physiotherapist know if you have torn a muscle?
- Hearing a sound (often a pop) at the time of the injury
- Pain on contraction or stretch
- Inability or difficulty weightbearing on the affected limb
- Weakness in that particular muscle group
It is important that you see your Physiotherapist ASAP following a tear. This is so rehabilitation can commence immediately to ensure adequate healing and to minimize reinjury risk.