A torn muscle is either a complete or partial rupture of the muscle. It is caused by overexertion of the muscle, as can occur while running, or direct injury to the muscle, such as getting hit by a rock. A muscle tear can be severe, moderate or mild. If the muscle is completely immobile, the muscle tear is severe. It is moderate if the muscle is sore and swollen and you cannot walk or lean on it, but you can use it if absolutely necessary. The tear is mild if you are still able to walk or rely on the muscle. Torn muscles take weeks to heal, but there are several ways you can speed up the process and promote healthy healing.
Do not exercise for the first week. Even though you may feel like you want to loosen the muscle by running or walking on it, fight the urge.
Do not rub or massage the muscle for the first three days. Although the muscle will be sore, you should not rub it because it is torn. Any added pressure to the muscle will only make the tear worse.
Wrap a few pieces of ice in a washcloth. Hold the ice against your torn muscle for 20 minutes every hour. Do not use heat on the muscle, even if it feels good, as it will aggravate the tear.
Wrap your muscle gently in an ACE bandage. Do not pull the bandage too tight, but wrap it tightly enough to provide stable support. Even though your muscle feels supported, do not walk or lean on it.
Stretch slowly. As the pain dissipates in your muscle, gently and slowly stretch the area. If you overdo the stretching, your muscle will take longer to heal. The more slowly you work, the more likely you are to heal your muscle quickly.
Substitute commercial ice packs wrapped in a towel for the ice-filled washcloth if desired.
If you see dark bruising around the injured muscle, go to the doctor as soon as possible.
Tips and warnings
- Substitute commercial ice packs wrapped in a towel for the ice-filled washcloth if desired.
- If you see dark bruising around the injured muscle, go to the doctor as soon as possible.