Muscles are found all throughout our bodies and the contraction of these is what allows us to move and helps to stabilise our joints. If we repetitively apply a force to our muscles, over time they will get bigger and stronger. However, if this force is too much for a muscle to handle at one time or over a short period of time (when fatigued), it can tear. This kind of tear often happens with big muscles such as a calf, hammy, quad, pec or bicep. However, you can also get what we call a chronic tear which happens over a larger amount of time and much more repetition. This is common in our rotator cuff muscles, a group of 4 muscles that provide stability to our shoulders. Muscle tears come in 3 grades: Grade 1 (mild) – micro tear, Grade 2 (moderate) – partial tear, Grade 3 (severe) – full tear.
When a muscle tears, it will bleed causing swelling, bruising and/or redness depending on the severity. It will also cause loss of function and quite a bit of pain! Our physiotherapists are trained to accurately diagnose a muscle tear, the severity of which will alter the rehabilitation length and process. If muscle tears do not get rehabbed properly, there is a significantly higher risk of re-injury, not just to the same muscle due to weakness, but surrounding muscles due to compensation as well as ligaments and joints due to lack of support.