A strain refers to damaged muscle fibers, as distinct from a sprain, which is an injury to a joint.
A classic example is the hamstrings, which are vulnerable in sprinters. Repetitive strains, which are not allowed to heal properly may cause scar tissue to build-up and the muscle will never function at 100% again.
If a sprinter is competing in the 100 yard dash, it is difficult to believe that it is over-use, resulting from fatigue. It seems more likely, at least so far as this example is concerned, to be an overload in terms of force, tearing the muscle belly apart and/or a lack of fiber length.
Fiber length is often thought of in terms of "stretching" exercises. In fact, the origin and insertion remain fixed, so that any increase to the range of motion must be achieved through relaxation of the muscle belly. This relaxation can be a significant factor in strain injury.
The hamstrings, for example, may be "tight" because of lack of warm-up, cold weather conditions, or an imbalance between the agonist and antagonist muscle groups involved in the running motion. This imbalance could be brought about by a delicate balance between the forces, possibly disrupted by a lack of coordination. The sprinter may be put-off by another runner alongside, seeking to gain additional speed, or to reach for a greater stride, in order to catch-up. Contrary to the natural rhythm which has developed in practice.
Getting "out-of-step", so-to-speak, can be injurious.
Signs & Symptoms
Some mild strains may not be felt during the "heat of the action", so that the athlete does not seize-up until later, after cooling down, or upon rising the following day.
Moderate strains are usually noticeable and can bring the activity to a sudden halt. Walking may still be possible.
In severe strains, the athlete will usually drop to the ground, grabbing a leg, as if they've been shot. The area will be tender and may become swollen. A bruise will usually form, possibly the size of a dinner plate.
This athlete will only be able to limp around, probably on crutches.
Structure & Function:
Multi Vitamin/Multi Mineral Formulas &
Bioflavonoids* Calcium 1,000 mg CoQ10 100 mg Iron* Magnesium 500 mg Potassium 100 mg Proteolytic Enzymes* Selenium 200 mcg Vitamin B Complex 50 mg tid Vitamin C 3,000 mg Vitamin E 1,000 IU Zinc 50 mg
*Please refer to the respective topic for specific nutrient amounts.
Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.
"Green" foods, juices and drinks, are highly recommended.
Foods rich in minerals are of vital importance, including:
Chromium (e.g. lobster and cheese);
Magnesium (beans, grains, nuts and squashes); and
Silicon (oats and rice).
Some food oils may also be massaged into the injured area e.g. olive oil (this usage dating back to Ancient Greece and Rome).
St. John's wort
Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.
The external use of St. John's wort is approved for injuries by the German Comission E.
Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.
Description Remedy After violent exercise Cimicifuga racemosa tinct. After prolonged exercise Arnica montana tinct. Bruised feeling Ruta graveolens tinct. (after Arnica) Deep - bruised soreness Bellis perennis
Over-the-counter homeopathic remedies may be single strength (of fairly weak potency e.g. 6X ) or a blend of several weaker strengths (6X, 8X, 10X).
This may comprise a single remedy, or several remedies.
Doses are administered on a 3 times daily (tid), between meals,schedule and continued for 3 days.
Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose.
Solid preparations are usually 2 or 3 pellets per dose.
Children use 1/2 dose i.e. 1 pellet.
If there is aggravation of the symptoms, stop taking the remedy and consult a homeopath.
Murphy, R. : Homeopathic Medical Repertory. Hahneman Academy, Pagosa Springs, Colorado. 1993.
Murphy, R. : Lotus Materia Medica. Hahneman Academy, Pagosa Springs, Colorado. 1995.
Pert, J.C.: Homeopathy for the Family. The Homoeopathic Development Foundation, London. 1985 edition.
Aromatherapy - Essential Oils
Chamomile Essence, Eucalyptus Essence, Juniper Essence, Lavender Essence, Lemon Essence, Marjoram Essence, Orange Essence, Peppermint Essence, Rosemary Essence, Tangerine Essence.
Related Health ConditionsAbstracts
Arrington ED & Miller MD: Skeletal muscle injuries. Orthop Clin North Am, 1995 Jul, 26:3, 411-22.
Borer-KT: The effects of exercise on growth. Sports-Med. 1995 Dec; 20(6): 375-97.
Diwaker HN & Stothard J: What do doctors mean by tenosynovitis and repetitive strain injury? Occup Med (Oxf), 1995 Apr, 45:2, 97-104.
Edgerton VR et al.: Theoretical basis for patterning EMG amplitudes to assess muscle dysfunction. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 1996 Jun, 28:6, 744-51.
Featherstone T: MRI diagnosis of accessory soleus muscle strain. Br J Sports Med, 1995 Dec, 29:4, 277-8.
Garrett WE Jr: Muscle strain injuries. Am J Sports Med, 1996, 24:6 Suppl, S2-8.
Hadjiolova-I Cardiovascular changes (cardiovascular strain) in operators on 12-hour shifts. Rev-Environ-Health. 1994 Jan-Mar; 10(1): 67-71.
Hasselman, CT et al: An explanation for various rectus femoris strain injuries using previously undescribed muscle architecture. Am J Sports Med 1995 Jul-Aug;23(4):493-9.
Khan-K et al: Overuse injuries in classical ballet. Sports-Med. 1995 May; 19(5): 341-57.
Leijnse JN: Anatomical factors predisposing to focal dystonia in the musician's hand--principles, theoretical examples, clinical significance. J Biomech, 1997 Jul, 30:7, 659-69.
Mincheva-L: [An occupational physiology study at the Asarel Mining and Milling Works. The evaluation of the work [such as nervous/emotional strain] load in the basic jobs in an open-pit mine]. Probl-Khig. 1995; 20: 35-47.
Pickering-TG et al: Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring for evaluating the relationships between lifestyle [e.g. job strain], hypertension and cardiovascular risk. Clin-Exp-Pharmacol-Physiol. 1995 Mar; 22(3): 226-31.
Quedenfeld-T: Sports-related injuries in youths: prevention is the key--and nurses can help! [interview by Gus A. Ostrum]. Pediatr-Nurs. 1993 Jul-Aug; 19(4): 333-42.
Takebayashi, S et al: Sonographic findings in muscle strain injury: clinical and MR imaging correlation. J Ultrasound Med 1995 Dec;14(12):899-905.
Trites, DG: Cardiovascular and muscular strain during a tree planting season among British Columbia silviculture workers. Ergonomics. 1993 Aug;36(8):935-49.
Watkins J & Peabody P: Sports injuries in children and adolescents treated at a sports injury clinic. J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 1996 Mar, 36:1, 43-8.
Wiemann K & Hahn K: Influences of strength, stretching and circulatory exercises on flexibility parameters of the human hamstrings. Int J Sports Med, 1997 Jul, 18:5, 340-6.
Yoshikawa, T et al: The effects of muscle fatigue on bone strain. J Exp Biol 1994 Mar;188:217-33.;
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