There are many muscles and tendons in our feet, which makes muscle strain a possibility. Because we stand on our feet all day, these injuries can be painful and debilitating.
How does a muscle strain happen?
Muscles can stretch, strain, or even tear for several reasons.
- Injury and trauma
- Bad exercise techniques (failure to warm up properly, for example)
- Weak muscles due to lack of exercise
The term “muscle strain” applies to the situation where the muscles are abnormally pressurized, leading to strained muscles (sometimes known as pulled muscles). This can happen due to exercise injuries or everyday situations such as twisting your foot, running for the train or tripping up the stairs.
Cold weather also makes it worse – The problem of muscle stiffness and cold weather is expected. Muscles are more vulnerable to injury in the cold, which can cause significant pain.
What are the symptoms of a muscle strain?
If you pull a muscle, you’ll instantly notice:
- Pain or tenderness
- Tightness and limited movement
- Muscle spasms
- Redness and or swelling
Even minor strains can have a major impact on your posture and health. Ignoring them altogether is not the answer. Mild strains can often be eased with some simple self-care, but if the pain persists, it’s best to seek professional help. Don’t let a minor problem turn into a big one!
How bad is the Strain?
Muscle strains typically fall into three categories.
Grade 1: Mild. There is a chance that you may not experience any pain or swelling until the day after you participate in an activity. It is unlikely that there are any muscle tears.
Grade 2: Moderate. The symptoms of a muscle tear include swelling, bruising, and pain. You may also have problems with strength and movement. This means that there are several tears in the muscle fibres.
Grade 3: Severe. Immediate acute pain, inflammation, and bruising. You probably have many muscle tears.
At-home treatments for muscle strain
The R.I.C.E treatment is often sufficient for mild strains. It is usually best to use this method at once for any strain level. So, what is the R>I>C>E method?
REST: Rest the injury as much as possible for at least 48 hours.
ICE: If you’ve strained a muscle, one of the best things you can do is apply an icepack to the area for 10-20 minutes. Do this at least 3 or 4 times a day for best results. Make sure to wrap the icepack in a clean towel before applying it as you don’t want to put it directly on your skin. This will help to cool the injured muscle and ease any swelling.
COMPRESS: If you have an injury, wrapping the area with an elasticated bandage can help. This will also ease any inflammation, but make sure the bandage isn’t too tight as this can restrict circulation.
ELEVATE: When you have an injured foot, it is important to support it by resting it on a pillow or cushion. This will help to alleviate pain and prevent further injury.
R.I.C.E should be enough to ease mild strains. 48 to 72 hours should be enough time for the swelling to subside. Once it does, you can apply heat to help with the healing process. Anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen can also be effective, but make sure to check with your pharmacist first to see if it’s safe for you to take, especially if you are already taking any other medication.
For grade 2 or 3 situations, or if the symptoms persist, you should seek professional help.
Your Podiatrist Is The To Help
If you’re experiencing acute pain or swelling, it could be a sign of a fracture or severe tear. Your doctor or podiatrist should be your first point of call to get this under control. If you have an injury that is causing you pain, we will be happy to help. You can call us on 0141 332 0044 or use our easy online booking system to make an appointment.
*This blog contains general information about medical conditions and is not advice. You must not rely upon the information in this blog as medical advice. Medical advice should always be sought from an appropriately qualified podiatrist such as ourselves.