At Advanced Orthopaedic Associates we treat surgical and non-surgical injuries including:
- Injuries of the knee including ACL, MCL, and LTL tears
- Meniscal injuries and tears
- Stress related injuries and fractures
- Shin splints
- Runner’s injuries
- Hamstring injuries
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Patellofemoral syndrome
- Hip flexor strains
- Tennis and golf elbow
- Muscle strain
- Shoulder impingement
- Runner’s knee
- Achilles tendinitis
- Achilles tendon ruptures
- Arch pain
About Muscle and Tendon Strains
While sprains are injuries to the ligaments, strains are injuries to the muscles or tendons. Bones are attached to muscles by the fibrous tendons. A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is stretched or torn and are graded based on the severity of the injury. A mild stretching or small tears of the fibers is a Grade 1 strain. A partial tearing of the tissue is a Grade 2 or moderate injury. A Grade 3 strain occurs when most or all of the fibers are completely torn.
Diagnosing and Treating Strains
A strain can cause pain, swelling, discoloration and functional loss. Weakness and spasming may occur. Moving or using the injured extremity can be painful and limited. Common areas for strains to occur include the hamstrings (back of your leg), quadriceps (front of your thigh), hip flexors, back, calf, ankle, foot and biceps. One cause of muscle strains can be failing to warm up your muscles prior to exercise or activity.
Diagnosis of muscle or tendon strain is made by taking a careful history of the injury and performing a thorough physical examination. Radiographs or X-rays may be necessary to determine if any fractures or broken bones are present.
Treatment of strain depends on the severity and age of the injury. Initial treatment is often called RICE which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
Rest: You need to rest the injury and avoid activities which could cause further damage. Crutches may be needed to prevent weight bearing and help you walk if your leg is involved
Ice: Use an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas or corn if one is not available) for 20 minutes at a time every couple of hours to help decrease swelling and relieve pain. Wrap the ice in a towel and never apply it directly to your skin.
Compression: A compression bandage can help reduce or prevent additional swelling.
Elevation: Elevating your leg higher than the level of your heart can help decrease swelling and pain. Rest your leg on a pillows and remember to allow your heel to hang off the pillow to prevent pressure to the area.
Gentle stretching exercises are often prescribed for treatment. Medications such as anti-inflammatories may be used to help control your pain and reduce inflammation. Physical therapy may be needed to help recovery. Severe strains with complete tendon tears may require surgery to stabilize the joints and return full function.