Muscle and Tendon Injuries

Muscle and Tendon Injuries

Tendons connect skeletal muscle to bone. Tendinous connective tissue is found at both ends of a muscle (tendons of origin and tendons of insertion).

Injuries to the muscle or tendon can occur in several ways. One way is by direct trauma, such as a blow from a blunt or sharp object, causing a contusion (bruise) or a laceration (cut).

Another way is from strain caused by overworking these structures or by a single violent episode, such as a sudden stretching force applied to a muscle that is in the act of vigorous contraction when the force applied is stronger than the structure's ability to withstand tearing. The tear may be complete or partial and can occur at the link between muscles and tendons, in the tendon, or where the tendon attaches to bone.

Sometimes a small piece of bone is pulled off and left attached to the end of the tendon. This is known as an avulsion fracture. In a sense, the muscle or tendon is overpowered by the amount of resistance it is working against, and the area of the least resistance is the site of injury. The degree of injury, whether mild or severe, depends on the force of the contraction and the amount of resistance. A few fibers be torn or the entire structure may be disrupted.

In most cases the strain is mild - simply an overstretching of the muscles, with no appreciable tearing. This would result in pain and discomfort with movement, and a subsequent muscle spasm. In more severe injuries with actual tearing of some fibers, symptoms are increased. Pain and discomfort are more severe and there is swelling and limitation of movement. 

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