Muscle strain injuries

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2000 Mar;12(2):155-61. doi: 10.1097/00002281-200003000-00010.


Muscle injuries--lacerations, contusions or strains--are by far the most common injuries in sports. After first aid following the RICE principle (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation), therapy must be tailored according to the severity of the injury and based on the knowledge gained from experimental studies on regeneration of injured muscle. Most muscle injuries can be treated conservatively with excellent recovery, but complete ruptures with complete loss of function should be managed surgically. Immediately after the injury, a short period of immobilization is needed to accelerate formation of the scar between the stumps of the ruptured myofibers, to which the stumps adhere. The optimal length of immobilization depends on the grade of the injury, and should not be longer than needed for the scar to bear the pulling forces without rerupture. Early mobilization is required to invigorate adhesion, orientation of the regenerating muscle fibers, revascularization and resorption of the connective tissue scar. Another important aim of early mobilization, especially in clinical sports medicine, is to minimize inactivity-induced atrophy as well as loss of strength and extensibility, which are rapidly appearing adverse sequelae of prolonged immobilization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy
  • Humans
  • Muscular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Muscular Diseases / therapy
  • Sprains and Strains / physiopathology*
  • Sprains and Strains / therapy