Muscle Strain or Ligament Strain

Muscle Strain or Ligament Strain

A muscle strain is an injury to a tendon or muscle. A tendon is the fibrous tissue that connects muscles to bones. Severe injuries may involve partial or complete tears in these tissues. However, minor injuries may only overstretch a muscle or tendon.

muscle strain
muscle tear

How long until will a muscle strain go away?

Within three to six weeks you may be able to return to normal activities with basic home care for a mild strain. If you are unlucky enough to have a more severe strain, recovery can take several months. In the case of severe muscle strain,  physical therapy and surgical repair may be necessary. Although with proper treatment, most of the time people recover completely.

How do I know if I strained a muscle?

Muscle strain symptoms include:

  1. Bruising, swelling or redness due to the injury.
  2. Pain when not active.
  3. Pain when the specific muscle is used.
  4. Weakness in the muscle or tendons.
  5. Inability to use the injured muscle.
Muscle strain bruise

Use proper lifting technique to avoid a muscle strain.

  • Keep a wide base of support. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly ahead of the other (karate stance).
  • Squat down, bending at the hips and knees only. If needed, put one knee to the floor and your other knee in front of you, bent at a right angle (half kneeling).
  • Keep good posture. Look straight ahead, and keep your back straight, your chest out, and your shoulders back. This helps keep your upper back straight while having a slight arch in your lower back.
  • Slowly lift by straightening your hips and knees (not your back). Keep your back straight, and don’t twist as you lift.
  • Hold the load as close to your body as possible, at the level of your belly button.
  • Use your feet to change direction, taking small steps.
  • Lead with your hips as you change direction. Keep your shoulders in line with your hips as you move.
  • Set down your load carefully, squatting with the knees and hips only.

Also remember:

  • Do not attempt to lift by bending forward. Bend your hips and knees to squat down to your load, keep it close to your body, and straighten your legs to lift.
  • Never lift a heavy object above shoulder level.
  • Avoid turning or twisting your body while lifting or holding a heavy object.
Proper lifting
Proper lifting

Should you stretch a strained muscle?

When you are dealing with an injury from muscle strain. You may need to stretch those muscles out.  Not stretching properly before being active may make your muscles work too hard and cause injury. When you stretch an injured area, you can increase blood flow and help your tissues heal faster. Consult medical consultant to learn weather your muscle strain is severe or acute.


T J Noonan W E Garrett Jr. Jul-Aug 1999;7(4):262-9. doi: 10.5435/00124635-199907000-00006.