Muscle Strain

ExitCare ImageMuscle strain occurs when a muscle is stretched beyond its normal length. A small number of muscle fibers generally are torn. This is especially common in athletes. This happens when a sudden, violent force placed on a muscle stretches it too far. Usually, recovery from muscle strain takes 1 to 2 weeks. Complete healing will take 5 to 6 weeks.


  • While awake, apply ice to the sore muscle for the first 2 days after the injury.

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.

  • Leave the ice on for 15-20 minutes each hour.

  • Do not use the strained muscle for several days, until you no longer have pain.

  • You may wrap the injured area with an elastic bandage for comfort. Be careful not to wrap it too tightly. This may interfere with blood circulation or increase swelling.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.


You have increasing pain or swelling in the injured area.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.