A muscle tear is due to the breakdown in the continuity of the muscle fibers that make up the muscle. Such as the fibers of a fabric, a muscle can abruptly tear from excessive stress. Occurring in the majority of cases during intense physical exertion, it causes severe pain, or even immobilization. A hematoma may even occur due to tearing.
Muscle tear will generate:
- a feeling of cracking, popping, during exercise;
- an intense pain;
- a sudden immobilization: the breakdown will cause an immediate halt to the effort. It is then impossible for the person to move the muscle or the affected area;
- the occurrence of a hematoma at the area of the tear
The diagnosis is usually fairly easy to make. The physical exertion is halted due to a muscle tear and clinical examination will reveal pain and an inability, or at least a difficulty, to mobilize the affected muscle. The diagnosis can be confirmed by an ultrasound of the area or a CT scan if necessary, but this is usually unnecessary.
The treatment will usually include:
- avoiding all physical activities for several weeks with;
- the administration of analgesics (to relieve pain);
- Rehabilitation sessions (once the muscle is "cured") to learn how to re-engage it smoothly.
Physical activity can be resumed after the go-ahead of a professional. However, for high-level athletes in particular, it will be gradual and will take time before the patient can return to more intensive practice (competition).
Prevention is achieved by the practice of a suitable warm-up session before the start of exercise. The heat allows the muscle to make efforts more easily.
It is also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle: balanced diet, getting enough rest (and thereby relaxing the muscles), to drink before, during and after exercise. Also remember to stretch after exercise. This helps relax the muscles, which will be better prepared for future sessions.