Oh dear, you just heard a loud pop while running, and now your calf hurts and is beginning to swell up. You know something is wrong, and you probably need to see a doctor. You have a lot on your plate right now, and all you care about at the moment is how to best recover from a pulled muscle so you can return to your normal activities.
Signs You Have A Pulled Muscle
The signs of a pulled muscle or a muscle strain are fairly obvious. Pain, swelling, bruising, limited mobility, weakness, and pain even when the muscle is at rest are symptoms of a pulled muscle.
They are especially common in the lower back, hamstrings, shoulders, and neck, and they can occur performing sports, doing your job, or even during normal activities. If you have broken skin or develop a fever, you should see Anderson Orthopaedic Clinic immediately.
Causes Of A Pulled Muscle
Simple things can cause muscle strain. You may forget to warm up or perform stretches after working out. You may lift something that is too heavy, AND you did not use the proper technique. Poor posture can lead to a muscle strain in your neck or shoulders. Overusing a particular muscle will cause the muscle and its tendons to stretch out too much causing a strain.
Treating A Pulled Muscle At Home
You can begin to self-treat at home with a minor pull for the first day or so using the following strategies:
- Rest–Keep the muscle rested for at least the first few days.
- Ice–Use ice to prevent swelling several times a day. Be sure to wrap a towel around the ice so it does not touch your skin.
- Compression–Wrap the area with an elastic bandage, but not too tightly as to cut off circulation.
- Elevation–Whenever possible keep the area elevated above your heart to help reduce swelling.
Take some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory OTC meds for pain, and you can also use heat with the same precautions as using ice but not until 72 hours after the incident.
For More Severe Muscle Strains
Anderson Orthopaedic Clinic may intervene with tests or additional physical therapy if your injury is more serious. In either case, most people recover completely with proper treatment.
Contact Anderson Orthopaedic Clinic at (703) 892-6500 for an evaluation in the Metro DC area if you have a serious muscle strain.