Symptom, Causes and Diagnosis of Muscle Tear

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muscle tear symptoms, causes and diagnosis | Avant orthopaedics

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Muscle Tears?

The signs and symptoms of muscle tears, also known as muscle strains, can vary in severity. However they most often include the following

It’s important to note that the severity of these symptoms can vary depending on the degree of the muscle tear. Mild strains may only result in minor discomfort and swelling, while severe tears can cause significant pain and swelling.

What are the Common Causes of Muscle Tears?

Pushing your muscles beyond their limits, especially during physical activities like weightlifting, sports, or intense workouts, can lead to muscle tears. This often happens when you lift weights that are too heavy or engage in high-intensity activities without proper conditioning.

Muscle tears are not just caused by physically demanding activities and sports, but can also be caused by the use of incorrect form when performing tasks such as lifting a heavy object such as a basket of laundry. Using improper techniques can place excessive stress on certain muscles, leading to strains or tears. Therefore, proper coaching and use of techniques are crucial to preventing injuries.

Jumping right into a sporting activity can make your muscles more susceptible to tears. Without a proper warm-up, your muscles are essentially caught off guard when subjected to sudden, strenuous activity. Incorporating a few minutes of warm up into your exercise or sports routine, allows your muscles to gradually prepare for the demands ahead, reducing the risk of injury and enhancing overall performance.

How is Muscle Tear Diagnosed?

Diagnosing a muscle tear typically involves a combination of clinical evaluation, medical history assessment, and diagnostic tests to confirm the extent and location of the injury. Here’s how they are commonly diagnosed:

Your doctor will begin by asking questions regarding the injury. This may include how it happened, along with any other additional symptoms you have in addition to pain and discomfort. Furthermore, you may also be asked about your medical history, and if you have sustained a similar injury in the past.

A physical examination will also be conducted to assess the injured area. The doctor will look for signs of swelling, bruising, tenderness, muscle weakness, and limitations to your range of movements.

For severe muscle tears, imaging tests are often used to provide more details regarding your injury. The most commonly used tests for this purpose includes:

MRI provides detailed and high-resolution images of soft tissues like muscles. It is particularly useful for identifying the extent of muscle tears, the presence of associated injuries (such as tendon damage), and planning for surgical interventions if necessary.

X-rays are typically not as effective in directly visualising muscle tissue, but they can help rule out fractures or other bone-related injuries that may occur in conjunction with muscle tears.

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create real-time images of the injured area. It can help visualise muscle tears, their location, size, and the extent of damage. It is often used for initial assessments of muscle injuries.

As your medical examination comes to an end, your doctor will grade the extent of your injury on a scale based on the information gathered. This system will be based on the scale we have gone through which ranges from Grade 1 to 3.

Which Parts of the Body are More at Risk of Muscle Tears?


The shoulder, specifically the rotator cuff muscles, is a common site for muscle tears. Activities that include repetitive overhead motions, such as baseball, tennis, and swimming can place significant stress on the affected muscles which can lead to muscle fatigue and a higher risk of tears.


Hamstring muscle tears are often attributed to athletes who participate in sports that require explosive movements, quick accelerations, and sprinting, such as track and field. However, this condition can affect anyone through everyday movements like ending down to pick something up or simply going for a jog as they can strain the hamstring muscles at the back of your thigh.


 Elbow muscle tears can occur due to repetitive actions, like typing on a keyboard for extended periods of time or frequent lifting. These everyday actions are performed by us on a routine basis, which can strain our elbows leading to discomfort or injury.

Which parts of the body are more at risk of muscle tears | Avant orthopaedics

Are you or a loved one suffering from muscle tear?

While mild muscle tears may be treated at home, we recommend visiting a doctor to determine the severity of your condition in addition to having the best suited muscle tear treatment recommended to you. Book an appointment with us at Avant Orthopaedics for a personalised consultation today and don’t let pain hold you back.

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