Muscle strains are common. They can occur when you stretch or reach out past your normal range while running, playing sport, gardening etc. A muscle tear is more serious as some of the muscle fibres will be broken. Treatment : Initial treatment for both injuries involves RICED. R Rest - stop the activity you are doing to avoid further damage I Ice - place crushed ice wrapped in a damp towel on the injured area for 20 minutes every 2 hours for the first 48 hours. C Compression - firm bandaging helps reduce swelling and bleeding E Elevation - keep the affected area raised as much as possible D Diagnosis - it is very important to see your doctor or physiotherapist if the pain and swelling gets worse or you have not improved after a couple of days Prevention The best way to prevent muscle strains and tears is to include a warm-up programme before starting any exercise, and then cool down and stretch when you have finished the activity. Advice on warm-up programmes and cool-down activities can be obtained from your local gym trainer. Recovery Following an injury, your physiotherapist can help your rehabilitation. The earlier you get help, the faster your injury is likely to heal. Treatment will include an exercise programme, possibly with the use of some gym equipment to increase your strength and co-ordination and restore any movement lost in the joint. If you are a keen sportsperson your physiotherapist can help you with your training programme to decrease the chance of re-injury.