Healing Muscle Tears: Strategies for Effective Treatment and Recovery

Healing Muscle Tears: Strategies for Effective Treatment and Recovery

Treat a muscle fibre tear.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a pulled muscle or a torn muscle fibre: If a muscle injury is suspected, the movement should be stopped immediately and treated according to the so-called LUCKY rule.

LUCK rule

  • Break: Whether a muscle fibre tear in the calf, thigh or arm, the affected part of the body should be rested as much as possible in the days and weeks that follow.
  • Ice: Cooling helps to relieve pain and inhibits bleeding into tissues. However, the cold pack should never be placed directly on the skin.
  • Compression: Apply an elastic compression bandage. This can prevent excessive swelling of the injured area. Ideally, apply a cooling ointment to the injured area before applying the bandage.
  • Elevation: After the injury, elevate the affected body part as much as possible to reduce blood flow to the damaged tissue.

Only a visit to the doctor can provide definitive certainty as to whether a muscle strain, a muscle fibre tear or a muscle tear is present. If necessary, they can also prescribe physiotherapeutic treatment or massages.

If the pain is severe, go to the doctor.

In the event of severe pain, a doctor should always be consulted so that the severity of the injury can be examined more closely. With the help of an ultrasound examination, the doctor can determine what type of injury is present and how severe the damage to the muscles is. If more than 75 per cent of the muscle is torn, the muscle fibre tear may need to be treated surgically.

In the first 48 hours after the muscle fibre tear, the affected area should be cooled as much as possible. Under no circumstances should you use warming or circulation-enhancing ointments during this time, as they can promote bleeding into the tissue. At a later point in time, however, such ointments may be used to promote the healing of the bruise. Stretching the affected muscles immediately after the muscle fibre tear is also not advisable, as stretching can worsen the injury.


Muscle fibre tear: Complications

A muscle fibre tear leads to bleeding into the tissue with subsequent bruising. In the case of hefty bleeding, the injured area does not entirely recede if connective tissue grows into the bruise scar tissue forms, which is significantly less elastic than muscle tissue. This reduces the ability to contract and exert strength in the muscles. It also makes you more prone to re-injury.

If a patient still has symptoms after the injury has healed, these are usually due to the scar tissue. In such cases, removing the scar tissue surgically may make sense. 

Another complication after a muscle fibre tear is that a cyst may form around a bruise that has not fully healed. A cyst is a capsule that contains the unremoved blood from the bruise. If the cyst is disturbing, it must be surgically cut out.

If you start training again after a muscle fibre tear or massage the injured area too soon, this can lead to chronic muscle inflammation. Calcium deposits can occur, which can ossify over time (myositis ossificans). Similar to the formation of scar tissue in the musculature, ossification creates areas that are less able to stretch and contract than the rest.

Torn muscle fibre: How long does it take to heal

How long it takes for a muscle fibre tear to heal depends on the case. The healing process usually takes between four and six weeks. If the torn muscle fibre is treated according to the PECH rule immediately after the injury occurs, this usually positively affects the duration of the healing process.

After a rest phase of at least five days, anything that doesn’t cause pain is allowed during the healing process. As a rule, a slight strain on the affected muscles is possible after a few days. If you no longer have any complaints when you strain your muscles in everyday life, you can also try moderate cycling, a brisk walk or an easy jog.

Stop immediately if you feel pain while exercising to prevent further muscle damage. Under no circumstances should you get back into full training before the muscle fibre tear has completely healed. Until then, it is essential to refrain from making quick, jerky movements in the injured muscles.

Prevent a muscle fibre tear.

You cannot actively avoid a muscle fibre tear or muscle strain, but with a few simple tips and tricks, you can significantly reduce the risk of such a sports injury:

  • Warm up carefully: The warm-up program before training increases blood circulation and muscle temperature. This allows the muscles to work better, and injuries occur less frequently.
  • Set maximum loads at the beginning of the training. Most muscle fibre tears only appear 30 to 60 minutes after the start of exercise when the muscles are already tired.
  • Stretch your muscles carefully because a well-stretched muscle is less prone to injury.
  • Avoid imbalances: If, for example, your muscles are much more pronounced on the front of your thighs than on the back, such an imbalance can promote injuries.


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