Muscle or Ligament Injury
Strained or Pulled Muscles
Muscle strain — or muscle pull or even a muscle tear — implies damage to a muscle or its attaching tendons. Putting undue pressure on muscles during the course of normal daily activities, with sudden heavy lifting, during sports, or while performing work tasks can cause muscle strain or damage. Muscle damage can be in the form of tearing (part or all) of the muscle fibers and the tendons attached to the muscle. The tearing of the muscle can also damage small blood vessels, causing local bleeding (bruising) and pain (caused by irritation of the nerve endings in the area).
Muscle Strain Symptoms
- Swelling, bruising or redness, or open cuts due to the injury
- Pain at rest
- Pain when the specific muscle or the joint in relation to that muscle is used
- Weakness of the muscle or tendons (A sprain, in contrast, is an injury to a joint and its ligaments.)
- Inability to use the muscle at all
A sprain is an injury that damages a ligament. A ligament is a firm, fibrous band of tissue that connects two bones across a joint. There are ligaments crossing all of the joints in the body. Grade 1 and 2 sprains only damage the internal structure of a ligament, but the ligament remains intact. Grade 3 sprains (sometimes called “torn” or “ruptured” ligaments) result in complete tears of the involved ligament. A sprain occurs when an external force pushes two bones of a joint apart. If the force continues, the ligament holding the joint together has to give. Most of the time, it gives only partially and is sprained. If the ligament were to come completely apart, it would be torn, or ruptured. Sprains occur commonly as the result of sporting activities, but can occur from accidents during everyday activities.