Muscle Fibrillation: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment
When the muscle tears: Above all in sport, too much stress can lead to muscle injury. Differentiation is made between muscle distortion, fiber tear and muscle bundle tear. With the right immediate treatment, the regeneration time can be significantly reduced. Learn more about this sporting injury.
The hobbling footballer or the sprinter holding his stifling calf: these pictures are probably in everyone’s mind thinking of a muscle injury. By too much stress or enormous effort despite fatigue, however, this can also happen to an amateur sportsman. Even in everyday life, the muscles can be damaged by movement or strain.
Each skeletal muscle is subdivided into muscle fiber bundles. One of these bundles – as the name suggests – consists of several muscle fibers. A single muscle fiber, in turn, consists of so-called myofibrils, a component of each muscle cell. The smallest unit of the musculature is the sarcomere. They play an elementary role in movement and muscle strain.
Muscular Injury: Strain, fiber tear, and bundle tear
In the case of a muscle dislocation, these sarcomeres are strongly stretched above-average. There are minor injuries and the function of the movement apparatus is limited. There is a pain in the muscle. This type is the lightest muscle injury. In muscle fiber tear, individual muscle fibers tear through. Several fibers are involved in a burst fracture. This is the most painful muscle injury.
The muscle fibrosis is a classic fatigue injury. After long-term stress, rapid changes between acceleration and deceleration, rapid changes of direction or if the muscles are not sufficiently heated up, the injuries can occur. Especially reactive sports such as football, tennis, handball or sprinting can cause muscle fiber cracking.
But even in everyday life, such an injury can occur. If the weight is underestimated when lifting heavy objects, the muscles of the upper arms are suddenly strongly stressed. Muscle fibers can also tear during pregnancy: the muscles are strained by the strong stretching of the abdominal wall. If the load of a cough is added, the muscles capitulate.
Muscle fiber tear: cramp-like pain
In the case of a muscle fiber tear, a convulsive pain immediately begins. Frequently, calf and thigh muscles are affected. But muscle fibres can also tear in the arms, stomach or back. If a whole bundle of muscles tears, the tear is felt right. The affected musculature cannot be further stressed – running is no longer possible. After the rupture, the blood flow through the skeletal muscle leads to a hematoma. The torn vessels bleed into the muscle.
Stretching or stretching the muscle is not possible and may aggravate the discomfort. Through the bleeding and the formation of an edema, the site swells frequently. In the case of a muscle bundle rupture, a gap in the muscle can sometimes be felt. The torn bundle can also become noticeable as a knot on the muscle attachment – it is rolled back like a rubber band.
Immediate treatment: Cooling pressure bandages
If such pain occurs, the load must be stopped immediately. As a first treatment, the PECH rule is recommended. The individual letters stand for:
P – “pause”
E – “ice”
H – “Hochlagerern”
Thus, excessive bleeding in the muscle is to be prevented. The vessels are narrowed by the cold and the flow of blood is minimized. For athletes, the right primary care is important to be able to return to the training day as quickly as possible. So-called “hot-ice” printings achieve the best results. To do this, soak a sponge with ice water and fix it with a pressure band on the damaged muscle. This dressing is applied for up to 20 minutes, after which the tissue needs a break to prevent frostbite. After 5 minutes, reapply a bandage. Repeat this procedure until the pain subsides.
Diagnosis: muscle fracture
After initial treatment, a doctor should be consulted immediately. Suitable contact persons are the attending physician, a sports physician or an orthopaedist. Through a conversation with the injured person about the course and a physical examination, the suspicious diagnosis of muscle fibrosis is usually made quickly. X-rays can be used to rule out bone injury.
In the ultrasound, the physician sees which muscle is affected and how serious the injury is. For a muscle, distortion rest is on the program. After 2 to 4 weeks the muscle can be re-trained with a light load. In the case of a muscle fibre tear, the functionality can be improved again after one to two weeks with lymph drainage and massages. After four to six weeks, a light load is again possible. The muscle can be fully loaded after about eight to twelve weeks.
Muscle bundle rupture: surgery can help
If a large number of muscle fibres or the entire bundle are torn, an operative procedure can significantly accelerate the therapy. If about 30 percent of the amount of muscle is affected, surgery is the best choice. The ends of the muscle fibres are joined together again with self-releasing seams.
No manual therapy with massages, stretching or stress can be carried out in the first days for both the muscle fiber and the bundle rupture. There is a risk that the hematoma will become stuck and ossified in the muscle. The foreign body can strongly impair the muscle function. Under scarification begins the healing of the muscle after about two days. During this phase, the muscle must never be loaded. The more scar tissue, the more susceptible the muscle is for new injuries. Sports caring should, therefore, be strictly adhered to.
Prevention: warm up and stretching
To ensure that it does not come so far, it is important to warm up the muscles sensibly before the sport. Especially in cold weather conditions, the warm-up program should not be too short. Light stretching exercises can prepare the muscles for stress and thus prevent a crack. In case of a noticeable fatigue of the body, the intensity of the training should be reduced or the unit should be terminated. Bone fractures also occur more frequently with fatigue and overload.
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