Muscle strain is a common injury that can be treated most of the time at home and often affects the knees, feet, legs, or back.
Do I have muscle strain?
You probably have muscle strain if you can’t put weight on the injury or even use the injured area normally and you feel:
- Muscle weakness and inability to use the injured area.
- Swelling or bruising of the affected area
- muscle spasms
What should I do if I have muscle strain?
For the first two days, follow these steps to reduce swelling and support injury:
- Rest and stop doing any exercise, but be sure to move the affected area constantly. The physiotherapist may put you on a program of some light exercises appropriate for your condition.
- Avoid putting any weight on the injury, but try to walk as naturally as possible.
- Apply ice or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel on the injury for 20 minutes and repeat this step every 2 to 3 hours.
- Wrap a bandage around the injury to support it.
- Elevate the place of injury on the pillow as much as possible.
Also, avoid hot baths or exposing the affected area to heat, alcohol, and massage for the first two days to help prevent swelling.
How long does it take to recover?
You may gradually return to normal life if the pain settles. Some severe cases take months to recover again, while most cases improve after two weeks. However, you should avoid strenuous exercise such as running for up to 8 weeks to avoid the risk of further damage.
It is best to refer to the doctor to determine when you can return to sports based on the speed of your recovery, not in days or weeks because the recovery rate varies from person to person. Often you will be able to exercise again when the injured area regains its strength compared to the uninjured area, such as:
- Flex the injury site without pain.
- Jogging without limping.
- Jump on the affected area without feeling any pain.
Factors affecting healing
Recovery usually takes six to eight weeks. However, you may experience discomfort and swelling for a longer time.
Following these tips will give your ankle a better chance of healing:
- Use meditation and deep breathing techniques to relieve stress.
- Sleep from 6 to 9 hours
- Ensure that you have a balanced diet and take vitamin D, as it helps reduce joint pain.
- Quit smoking because it causes musculoskeletal pain and delayed recovery.