Friday, 23 July 2021

July Challenge ~ Day 23.

Muscle strain. It really is a pain. But one you cannot afford to ignore and leave untreated. I should know, I've had several during the course of my life to date - note how I say 'to date'. I can't be sure I won't suffer another at some point in the future. No one can. Not unless they are genetically blessed, of course.

I've had my muscle strain (which in reality are tears within the muscle fibre, to a lesser or greater degree) treated, which, incidentally, is how I ended up becoming a Sports Massage Therapist, and trust me, it is agony. Seriously. My first tear was a calf strain in the distal portion of my gastroc, otherwise described as the superficial two-headed muscle of the rear portion of the lower leg in humans.

The above image is almost identical to my first calf tear, though mine was slightly lower and on the outer aspect of my calf. This injury ended my running as I knew it, and also my time serving with the Territorial Army (now known as the Army Reserves). The tear happened on a six mile training run one summer evening on drill night. It occurred half way through a six mile course, but I finished the six miles, but hobbled for the remaining half back to barracks.

There are three grades of tear: Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3. The last grade requires surgical intervention. You really don't want one of those.

My most recent tear happened two years ago whilst test riding a motorcycle, stalling it and trying to prevent it dropping as it pitched over to the right. I put out my right leg and tore the hamstring. 

Mine was a Grade 2 in the Biceps Femoris of the right leg. I instantly knew it was torn - as you will too, should it happen to you (which I hope it doesn't). You experience a white-hot searing pain and an inability to move your limb as normal without causing further searing pain. Any pressure on it is excruciatingly painful. The image below is of my hamstring several days after the tear.
*NOTE: the two black dots are marks placed there by the ultrasound operator when they scanned the area, revealing a 2cm x 4cm tear.

Copyright ©. 2021 Mark Kelly
All Rights Reserved.

So if you 'strain' any muscle, and bruising like that shown above appears, you have TORN the muscle fibres. People have a toned down impression of a 'strain' due to the wording, usually thinking they've just over-stretched a muscle and that it'll be fine the next day. Don't fool yourself. ANY sign of bruising is a tear. The one in my photo is a Grade 2.

My reason for mentioning all this? Well, after my session this evening, I thought I'd try a gentle jog. I must have gone 50 - 100 metres when the hamstring started pulling. It's not good. Going from my running days in the T.A. (Territorial Army) of anything from a three mile to a fourteen mile run, reduced to a quarter-of-a-mile at best post calf tear, and now, thanks to my hamstring tear, reduced even further to, at very best, 100 metres. Sad. 

Will try another jog first thing tomorrow AM, but gentler, just to test the leg out after being rested and less fatigued. Mind you, any slower and I might as well walk.

Take care of those muscles. Listen to your body. It will alert you to any problems. Ignore those warnings at your peril, for to do so is risking the end of your training for the remainder of your life. Trust me, I know. I miss running so very much.

Your music for tonight comes from Orange Juice, and their 1983 aptly named hit, 'Rip It Up'.

Enjoy, until next time.

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