When a muscle is stretched beyond its normal limit, injury can result. An acute muscle strain is the result of an immediate or sudden occurrence that causes pain. In lacrosse, hamstring strains are common, as athletes may quickly change speed from jog to a sprint when fatigued or not warmed up appropriately. Chronic muscle strains result from the same motion, repeated multiple times.
Muscle strains can vary from sharp pains with activity to dull pain at rest. There may be swelling or bruising depending on the severity of the strain. There are three degrees of tears; second and third degree tears being the most severe and required orthopedic consult. Rest, ice, compression and elevation should be incorporated immediately into treatment to decrease pain and inflammation. Although many people believe a strain should be stretched, it is important to allow for proper healing and ensure that the athlete can walk, sit and stand without pain prior to initiating gentle stretching. Once full motion is achieved and pain is down, the athlete can begin a running program and sport specific training.