Muscle injuries The hell of many athletes

Albert Giménez

11 November, 1998

Who has not had or, at least, heard about muscle injuries? According to some studies, muscle injuries represent 30 percent of those of athletes. Even so, we still do not give enough importance to this type of injury. They are usually benign, but often hurt the athlete because inadequate treatment can cause long absences in sports activity.

Muscle injuries are those that affect the contractile component and / or the tendon component of the muscles.

They are the most common injuries of the sport pathology but also the least known and those that are treated more inadequately. They tend to despise because usually those who suffer can continue the activity of daily life immediately after the injury.

According to some studies, 10-30% of sports injuries are muscular. The 65% of the cases occur in the muscular mass and very frequently in the union muscle-tendon.

It is strange that there appears a total breakdown that requires surgical treatment and, on the other hand, fibril fractures of a greater or lesser intensity often occur. They usually occur when sports activity begins or ends. Mostly affect the legs; First of all the hamstrings and, secondly, the quadriceps.

Main lesions

Muscle injuries can be divided into two large groups, depending on the contractile or muscular component or the tendon. Fibrillar ruptures in the muscle are more frequent than tendons. The latter affect more people over the 40 years. In this article we will focus on the injuries included in the first group. The lesions that affect the tendon component (tendinitis, entesitis and tenosenovitis) will treat them in the next articles.

In the first group, the injuries of the contractile or muscular component, there are seven different types of lesions: muscular contusion, ramp, contracture, distension, muscular strain, break or muscular tearing and myoglycosis.

Each of these injuries, which represent different degrees of severity, has its own symptoms and treatments. All muscle injuries can not be treated equally. That is why it is important to consult the doctor after the first symptoms and put the process of therapy and recovery in your hands.

What to do in each case

One of the common rules applicable in all cases of muscle injury is rest. The activity must be interrupted to prevent the injury from getting worse. The wrap and the application of ice are also suitable for all injuries.

In a contracting and distension situation, in addition to a functional rest and applying gel for two or three days, the doctor may recommend progressive physical activity over the following days, always without exceeding the pain threshold, heat application in any of its anti-inflammatory forms and ointments. In addition, in the contracture (not in the distension) it is advisable to make gentle stretching.

With regard to stroke and rupture or muscle tear, the treatment is aimed at limiting bruising and tearing. Rest, dressing and gel can be accompanied by anti-inflammation, heat application and massage, always under the supervision of a specialist. Once healed the lesion, the region must be remapped, because there is a significant atrophy. In the break, the healing period will be longer. Therefore, they will also be atrophy and subsequent rehabilitation.

In any case, the return to physical activity must be done smoothly, so

Good warming can prevent many injuries

Muscle injuries can originate in external forces (bruises, contusions, repeated microtraumatisms ...) or internal, which are usually the defective coordination in muscle contraction. These causes, especially internal ones, can be favored by a series of factors such as the individual predisposition when doing the physical exercise, the type of material used, the field where it is carried out, the sports modality practiced and the application of individual technique, and over-training, which produces muscle fatigue. For all this, we must take into account all these elements before starting the sporting activity.

One point worth noting is the importance of warming to avoid muscle injuries. Although it does not completely eliminate the risk of injury, it does reduce the odds greatly. Therefore, before doing any activity, a minimum of ten minutes of warmth is required, with a small smooth race and stretching of arms and legs.


Injuries that affect the muscular component

Muscular contusion The severity of the contusion is in direct relation with the intensity of contraction of the muscle and the aggressive force.

Ramp It is the spontaneous muscle contraction due to fatigue. It is a warning that the muscle should stop working because a higher requirement of it can lead to a more serious injury.

Contracture It is the shortening of the muscle at a certain point, whereas in the ramp it occurs in all its extension.

Distension It is a violent stretch or elongation of the muscle fibers that produces extravasation. The muscle looks beyond its limits of elasticity in a homogeneous manner. It is the first step towards muscle tearing.

Stray It is a degree superior to muscle distension. The mechanism of action is the same but there is an anatomical injury here. There is rupture of myofibrils.

Rupture or muscle tear. If stretching of the muscle is very important the rupture of some fascicles occurs. It is a partial tearing of muscle fibers. There is talk of muscle rupture when it is a total tear. Muscle rupture is usually given as a result of external force on a contracting muscle.

Miogelosis. It is hardening for inflammation of the muscle. It goes through an over-exertion of the muscle when it is subjected to very high resistance loads. It is necessary to distinguish between gelosia, which will require a vigorous and deep massage, and myopia, which will require a massage and soft stretching exercises for rehabilitation.

the author

Albert Giménez

Sports physician and osteopath of the Claror Sardenya

Degree in Medicine (UAB). Osteopath

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