I am sidelined with a muscle strain injury. Boohoo. It sucks – I can tell you that. The injury happened during my last marathon – the Fargo Marathon. I was about 20-21 mile in the race and all felt good when it happened on my left leg. The injury slowed me down about a minute per mile and prevented me from running a consistent speed. I still had a new personal best time for a marathon, but all that does not help me now. I simply have to wait this one out and if you are a runner you know that this is a tough situation. We runners, we do not like to sit around. But I am trying to be patient knowing that the rest for my body is important so that the injury can heal. Every morning when I wake I do a mental check of how everything feels and I take it from there.
So, I knew that a pulled muscle or strained muscle takes some time to heal, but I wanted to know how long exactly. There are three different grades of how these injuries are measured against. Here is what I found out (also assuming that you did not rupture a tendon or so).
Grade 1 Strain: This is a mild strain. Only minor parts of the muscle fibers have been damaged. Healing occurs in two to three weeks. Usually you do not need to visit a doctor or physical therapist
Grade 2 Strain: This is a moderate strain. Your muscle has significantly more damage than in a grade 1 injury. The good news is that the muscle is not completely ruptured. Healing occurs within three to six weeks. Depending on how things feel after 3 weeks you might want to visit your doctor or physical therapist.
Grade 3 Strain: This is a complete rupture of your muscle. This is a very serious injury and most-likely requires a visit to the ER, your doctor, and your physical therapist. The healing period can take up to three months.
Well, the good news for me is that I think this is a Grade 1 strain injury that I have. I did not have any bruising or visible swellings as an example. I definitely feel the improvements even though healing is much slower than I hope it would be. Unfortunately I cannot take days off from work and give it more rest, but I am definitely keeping things on the slow side for now.
How do you treat a muscle strain injury?
The best treatment you do is to ice and to rest. Compression might help as well and in some cases elevation helps, too. No matter how tempting – cease any activity that uses that muscle as much as possible. If you have a grade 3 muscle strain injury you’re in for physical therapy and maybe even surgery depending on what exactly happened. For grade 1 and grade 2 injuries massages, use of a foam roller, or physical therapy can help the healing process.
So, I am probably looking at another 5-7 days of rest at the moment. Arghhhh
But since I am not that active physically, I am active mentally quite a bit. I have been thinking about doing this for quite a while, but now with a bit more time on my hand and after having read a motivating book I am going to give it a try. For the next 60-90 days I want to transition to a vegetarian or even vegan lifestyle and see how that goes. So, you will be seeing more blog posts about this coming soon. To give you a hint – I read the book “Finding Ultra” by Rich Roll (Audio Book in this case – listing to is while driving to and from Fargo).