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Strain

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Strain
Pathology
Type

Trauma

Cause(s)

Overextension of muscle

Symptoms

Pain, bruising

Mortality Rate

None

Treatments

Tension bandage, immobility and mild exercise

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strain is a type of traumatic injury where muscle fibers are broken due to overextension.  In most cases, a large bruise will appear at the injury site and pain will be localized in the area of the injury.

Although strains are not life-threatening, they can be very painful and are prone to re-injury.  Immediate treatment can be remembered with the mnemonic PRICE

  • Protection - wrap with foam or other soft objects to prevent the site from being re-injured
  • Rest - immobility reduces the pain and speeds healing
  • Ice - to reduce the possibility of swelling
  • Compression - use of tension bandages to prevent the swelling from getting worse
  • Elevation - keep blood from pooling to prevent the bruising from getting worse

Analgesics should be avoided at the time of injury as they act as blood thinners.  However, once bleeding has stopped, both ibuprofen and aspirin are recommended.

differential diagnosis should rule out a broken bone. Breaks also present with severe pain, inability to use the injured limb, increased tenderness at the site of the injury.  

Strains will self-resolve with rest and moderate exercise, but the muscle is subject to re-injury with heavy use which can result in slower healing.  

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