05 Nov The Four Biggest Mistakes You Can Make After A Muscle Tear
Our muscles play an important role in the movement of our body. Without our muscles, we wouldn’t be able to bend our elbow or straighten our leg. As our muscles are soft and designed for flexibility, they are also prone to injury and if you have ever had a muscle tear, you know that they can be surprisingly painful.
In the period following a muscle tear, there are a few common mistakes we see people make, that can actually make their injury worse and delay healing times! Here are a few of the most common mistakes we see in our clinic.
After a muscle tear, the damaged fibres slowly begin to heal and reattach to each other. This process can be quite fragile and during the early stages, aggressive stretching of recovering tissue can impair healing or even lead to more tearing. While gentle stretching a few days after the injury can have a positive effect, you should check with your physiotherapist to ensure you’re not stretching too far and causing further damage.
- Applying H.A.R.M.
Most of us are aware of the acronym R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compress and elevate) as the recommended treatment in the early stages of an acute injury. The acronym H.A.R.M is less well known and is used to remember the things you shouldn’t do after an injury. This stands for heat, alcohol, running or massage. All of these activities can increase swelling, pain and increase the damage of the injury in the first 48-72 hours.
- Failing to see a physiotherapist
The diagnosis of a muscle tear might seem straightforward, however, there might be more going on than you realise. The exact location and size of the muscle tear can determine the length of recovery required before return to activity and many conditions can mimic a muscle tear, such as nerve irritation or tendon pain. You may also have suffered a tear due to an underlying weakness or pathology. Having a physiotherapist confirm your muscle tear or identify another condition is vital to ensuring you recover fully.
Your physiotherapist is also able to identify any factors that could lead to further injury and is able to help restore your tissue to its previous level to prevent the risk of further injuries.
- Returning to sport too early
One of the most confusing things about muscle tears is that often they become less painful while the tissues are still not completely healed. Many people suffer another tear simply because they return to sport too early. While you may feel as though your tissues are back to full strength, the muscle fibres can still be healing and vulnerable to a tear. It is important to test your injury gradually, starting with gentle exercise and building up to high-intensity activities. Enhance Physiotherapy are experts at muscle rehabilitation and can grade your exercises and return to sport program to ensure you don’t re-injure your muscle.