What Causes a Strain?
A strain is caused by twisting or pulling a muscle
or tendon. Strains can be acute or chronic. An acute strain is
associated with a recent trauma or injury; it also can occur after
improperly lifting heavy objects or overstressing the muscles.
Chronic strains are usually the result of overuse: prolonged,
repetitive movement of the muscles and tendons.
Where Do Strains Usually Occur?
Two common sites for a strain are the back and the
hamstring muscle (located in the back of the thigh). Contact sports
such as soccer, football, hockey, boxing, and wrestling put people
at risk for strains. Gymnastics, tennis, rowing, golf, and other
sports that require extensive gripping can increase the risk of hand
and forearm strains. Elbow strains sometimes occur in people who
participate in racquet sports, throwing, and contact sports.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Strain?
Typically, people with a strain experience pain,
limited motion, muscle spasms, and possibly muscle weakness. They
can also have localized swelling, cramping, or inflammation and,
with a minor or moderate strain, usually some loss of muscle
function. Patients typically have pain in the injured area and
general weakness of the muscle when they attempt to move it. Severe
strains that partially or completely tear the muscle or tendon are
often very painful and disabling.