MUSCLE, PULLED OR TORN
DESCRIPTIONPulled or torn muscles are stretched or torn muscle fibers. Muscles attached to bones anywhere in the body are involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications for severe injuries or if self-care is not successful.
Rehabilitation and treatment by a physical therapist or athletic trainer.
Completely torn muscles may require surgery.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSPain or tenderness in the injury area.
Gradual stiffening or contraction of your child's injured muscle.
Swelling, redness, or bruising at the injury site.
Injury caused by overuse or stress of a muscle group.
RISK FACTORSPoor nutrition, especially an electrolyte imbalance or vitamin deficiencies.
Poor physical condition.
Fatigue or overwork.
Lifting heavy weights improperly.
Strenuous activity following excessive alcohol consumption.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEYour child should avoid vigorous exercise if unaccustomed to it. If your child is out of condition, urge the child to begin an exercise program to strengthen muscles gradually and prevent future injury. See Appendix 36.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
X-rays of the painful area.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSPermanent weakness in the affected muscle.
PROBABLE OUTCOMEHealing time for a pulled muscle depends on your child's age and general physical condition, on previous injuries, and on the severity of the present injury. Most partial tears or pulls heal with treatment within 1 month. Muscle function will be poor until the torn fibers heal.
If the child's muscle is ruptured (torn in two), surgery may be necessary.
Apply ice to the child's injured area during the first 24 hours. Place ice in a plastic bag and separate it from the skin with a thin towel. Let the child hold it against the muscle with the hand or an elastic bandage. Keep the ice pack on the area as long as your child can tolerate the cold.
Wrap the injured area with a support bandage. Don't wrap it too tightly. If it swells below the bandage, loosen it. Elevate the injured part whenever possible.
After 24 hours, apply heat in any form or continue ice packs, whichever feels better to the child. For heat, use a heating pad, heat lamp, whirlpool, ultrasound, hot baths, or hot compresses.
MEDICATIONYour child may take non-prescription pain relievers such as aspirin. If the child's pain is severe or the affected area becomes badly swollen, your doctor may prescribe stronger pain relievers or muscle relaxants.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
ACTIVITYUrge your child not to use the pulled muscle as long as it is painful. However, the child should keep uninjured parts of the body active. Severe leg injuries may require crutches, and severe arm injuries may require slings.
Physical therapy, with a graduated exercise program, may be necessary for your child to restore normal use and strength.
DIET & FLUIDS
Your child should eat a normal, well-balanced diet. Increase the child's protein intake by serving meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, and dairy products during healing.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of a pulled or torn muscle, especially if any of the following occurs:Your child becomes unable to use the affected muscle.
Your child's pain becomes intolerable.
Swelling or bruising increase after 24 hours.
You think medicine is causing symptoms.