Most muscle strains (pulled muscles) are caused by overstretching muscles. Strains may be minor or severe, such as a torn muscle or tendon.

Symptoms of a muscle strain can vary depending on how severe the strain is and may include:

  • Pain and tenderness that is worse with movement.
  • Swelling and bruising.
  • Normal or limited muscle movement.
  • A bulge or deformity at the site of a complete tear.

Recovery time for a muscle strain can vary depending on a person's age and health and the type and severity of the strain. While a minor strain often heals well with home treatment, a severe strain may require medical treatment. If a severe strain is not treated, a person may have long-term pain, limited movement, and deformity.

Current as of: November 14, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD