Muscle injuries are common occurrences, particularly for athletes or people who tend to use their muscles constantly. If muscles are injured, it is because they have been strained beyond their capacity to stretch, causing tears. If you have been injured recently, you should understand the muscle healing process and how long it can take to recover completely.
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The Muscle Healing Process
The 3 phases of the muscle healing process begin with the destruction of the tissue itself. When an injury happens, either a contusion or strain, muscle fibers and small blood vessels tear and fill the injured area with blood. The blood contains inflammatory cells that flood the damaged area and seal it off from any external influence to ensure the destruction and subsequent phases only happen at the injured site. This usually occurs during the 1st few days after injury.
Next, the body works on repair. In this phase, a cell called a “macrophage” visits the injured site. The macrophage destroys or deconstructs dead tissue and dry blood around the injury. After this cleanup is complete, a satellite cell arrives to transform into myoblast cells. These cells group together to create new muscle fibers. Simultaneously, cells called fibroblasts work to produce connective tissue at the site. The connective tissue and the new muscle fibers join together to repair the tear in the muscle. New blood vessels and nerves are also being created during this stage. This whole process will occur around 2 weeks after the injury.
The last phase of healing is remodeling, though it can often overlap with the repair phase. During this time, the regenerating muscle fibers and connective tissue continue to grow and mature and are oriented into the final scar tissue. This stage is important because of the implications of how the muscle grows. Undamaged muscle tissue typically is oriented in straight lines; however, when tissue repairs itself, the mixture of new connective tissues and muscle fibers can grow randomly. Physical therapy can assist new tissue to grow into parallel lines and avoid clumps of scar tissue.
If you require rehabilitation after your muscle tear, please give us a call. ProFysio is the premier provider of physical rehabilitation in New Jersey, and we are the only fellowship trained therapists in Monmouth County. Let us see how we can improve your health. Contact us at (732) 333-6360 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation today.