Muscle tears II

Muscle tears Rehabilitation

You must be reading this wondering why I am rabbiting on about muscle tears again? This blog is more important than last, because it isn't about what a tear is, but what YOU can do to combat a tear from the minute it happens. Why is that important I hear you ask... The quicker you start treatment the quicker you are back on your feet.


  • Rest - If your half way through your run I'm afraid it is time to pull up. Once the muscle has torn not only is it painful, but you are at risk of damaging the tissue further. You may want to look at offloading the area depending on how severe the injury is. Examples of offloading would be using crutches for a calf, hamstring or quad tear.

  • Ice - Ice for 10 minutes every hour initially then every 4 hours. Icing is important when inflammation sets in the muscle tissue, however leaving the ice on for too long can cause adverse affects.

  • Tape - Kinesiology tape can be a great way to speed up the inflammatory process and help support movement of the muscle.

  • Anti Inflammatories - Taking anti inflammatories are important in speeding up severe tears and muscle injuries. Although once you have started taking them it is advised you do not miss a dosage as you will essentially step out what I call the "pain corridor"

  • Sports massage - You must be wondering why on earth you would want a sports massage (an uncomfortable treatment at the best of times) when you are in pain already... However light drainage techniques have their place in the realms of sports massage. Sports massage in this phase will help

Grade I:

  • Follow Acute phase

  • Resting for the first week is always important, allowing time for scar tissue to set in and the area to heal.

  • You can normally go back to your normal activities anywhere between 1 and 3 weeks

  • Week 1 - Acute phase treatment, Mobilise the area and sports massage to help reduce inflammation and prevent scar tissue

  • Week 2 - Light engagement, isometric, mobilising of the joint and sports massage to reduce scar tissue and increase muscle elasticity.

  • Week 3 - Increase strength training, plyometrics and gentle stretching.

This can vary depending on how quickly you get through each stage pain free and comfortably.

Grade II:

  • Follow acute phase

  • Grade II tear can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks to recover

  • The first 72 hours (acute phases) are vital and you must not stretch or do anything to the area to cause further stress on the muscle.

  • The first week it is important to mobilise the area (note this is not a stretch) to help prevent excess scar tissue and greater loss of muscle elasticity.

  • An outrsound or MRI is important in understanding how severe your tear is. If the tear is significant you may look at operating to re attach the muscle fibres.

  • The second stage is completely dependent on how quickly pain and inflammation subsides as to when you start eccentric and static strengthening.

  • The third and last stage is again dependent on gaining strength through eccentric, static and de-centric engagement. We will be looking at you doing this pain free with complete joint stability. After this we would look at increasing load, adding compound movements and speed / agility back into your training before going back to full sports.

Grade III:

  • Follow Acute phase

  • A rupture will often be surgically attached straight away, however in certain circumstances it will be left to heel and rehabilitated in a slightly different way.

  • Often we can cope without a muscle being attached, and although it will look aesthetically less pleasing, it is a better option then operating on someone who is older, or less active.

  • A referral straight to your GP or A&E so that you can be attended to as quickly as possible is essential. Once scar tissue has set in (72hours plus) it can very difficult and certainly not the best option to surgically re tear the muscles and re attach.

  • Regardless of surgery or no surgery, a safe rehabilitation program is essential in regaining full joint strength and mechanical control.

  • Once you have had surgery you will be following your surgeons protocol which may involve little or no movement in that area.

  • 2-6 weeks are usually about restoring range of movement

  • 6 weeks plus strength rehabilitation and joint stability

  • You are looking at anywhere between 6 months and a year to be fully recovered from a ruptured muscle.

Happy to help.

Sports therapy and sports massage is one of the most efficient ways of dealing with muscle tears, and a good ol' sports massage during the acute phases can help prevent scar tissue from being a burden later on down the road. The most important piece of advice I could give my clients would be to have regular sports massage throughout the whole process of rehabilitating torn muscle tissue. At every stage sports massage plays a key role in providing scar tissue break down and soft tissue manipulation that will make all the difference now, and in years to come.

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