A strain is a type of traumatic injury where muscle fibers are broken due to overextension. In most cases, a large bruise will appear at the injury site and pain will be localized in the area of the injury.
Although strains are not life-threatening, they can be very painful and are prone to re-injury. Immediate treatment can be remembered with the mnemonic PRICE
- Protection - wrap with foam or other soft objects to prevent the site from being re-injured
- Rest - immobility reduces the pain and speeds healing
- Ice - to reduce the possibility of swelling
- Compression - use of tension bandages to prevent the swelling from getting worse
- Elevation - keep blood from pooling to prevent the bruising from getting worse
Strains will self-resolve with rest and moderate exercise, but the muscle is subject to re-injury with heavy use which can result in slower healing.