“When I sprinted quickly, I suddenly stung my thigh and felt a lot of pain.” Unfortunately, this sentence is often heard by athletes. Just as quickly, as happened, the diagnosis for the time being is: muscle strain. But how does muscle strain actually develop and what happens in the musculature?
The cause of muscle strain is the imbalance between the load and resilience of the musculature and is triggered by an overload or overstretching stimulus. This injury often occurs during sports with fast and jerky movements, such as badminton, handball or football. The muscles of the thigh and calf are particularly often affected.
Pathophysiology and symptoms
A sudden overstretching results in micro injuries of the musculature, which can be accompanied by stabbing pain, movement restrictions and swelling. The severity of the injury is often shown by the onset of pain. A slight strain usually manifests itself in a slight cramp-like pain, while the injury to individual fibres is accompanied by bruising and immediately onset of stabbing pain.
Now it is advisable to apply the PICE rule. Pause, ice, compression and elevation relieve the injured structure and lead to a faster recovery. In case of severe pain it is advisable to consult a doctor. The doctor’s diagnosis can determine the extent of the injury and, if necessary, initiate further treatment measures.
As a rule, further sporting activity is contraindicated until the strain has subsided. Otherwise, there is a risk that the symptoms will worsen as the muscle physiology is disturbed by the damaged structures.