Severity of Muscle Strains – Muscle Strain Grading

How Muscle Strains Are Graded

Muscle strains are graded I, II, or III depending on the severity of the injury. Learn about how muscle strains are graded.

Grade I Muscle Strain

In grade I muscle strain, the muscle or tendon is overstretched. Small tears to muscle fibers may or may not occur. You may have mild pain with or without swelling. Grade I strain is also called mild muscle strain.

Grade II Muscle Strain

Also called moderate muscle strain, grade II strain occurs when the muscle or its tendon is overstretched with more of the fibers torn but not complete. Symptoms may include marked pain with swelling. The area of injury is tender. Bruising may occur if small blood vessels at the site of injury are damaged as well. Movement may be difficult because of pain.

Grade III Muscle Strain

Grade III strain, or severe muscle strain, is the most serious among the three grades of muscle strains. Most of the muscle fibers are torn. In some cases, the muscle is completely torn or ruptured. Pain, swelling, tenderness, and bruising are usually present. Movement is usually difficult.

Moderate and severe muscle strains should be seen by a qualified health care provider. For grade I muscle strain, simple home remedies, such as applying RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) therapy may be just enough to manage symptoms.

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