Muscle Strain

What is Muscle Strain?


A muscle strain is caused when the muscle tissue is over-stretched and becomes damaged (torn). The severity of the strain can be categorised by three grades.

Grade 1. A mild strain to individual fibres in the muscle.
Grade 2. Greater damage to the muscle fibres but not a complete tear.
Grade 3. Where the muscle is completely ruptured.

Symptoms of 'Muscle Strain' could include, but are not exclusive to:

  • Pain during periods of rest.
  • Bruising, swelling and redness.
  • Weak muscles or tendons.
  • Inability to move the affected muscle.
  • Interesting Fact: There are over 600 muscles in the human body.

What can you do to prevent Muscle Strain?

For dancers stretching is key to preventing muscle strain. Dance uses a whole range of movements at varying speeds so without stretching before and after dancing, a strain can easily happen.

Improper technique can also lead to muscle damage, for example landing incorrectly. If participating in a class or having tuition always follow the instructors advice and perform to your level of confidence and ability.

Adequate resting and diet also helps to prevent strains by giving the body the energy and care it needs to recovery and be healthy. A balanced diet should include vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, protein, dairy and complex carbohydrates.

What should you do if you suffer from Muscle Strain?

The standard treatment for a 'Muscle Strain' is the RICE protocol, so Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation to the affected area.

As a general rule the duration of RICE for each grade of muscle strain is as follows:

  • Grade 1. Two to three weeks.
  • Grade 2. Three to six weeks.
  • Grade 3. Approximately three to four months. Grade 3 muscle strains often require surgery to repair the rupture leading to a considerably longer healing time than Grades 1 and 2.
  • Muscle strains all need time to heal through rest, without which the injury can progress to the next grade.




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