Muscle strains and sprains


Muscle strains and sprains are common sports injuries. Our orthopaedic experts can help to diagnose and treat you

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Leg physio

About muscle problems

Muscle strains and sprains can be a common consequence of playing sport or over exertion during activities. These may occur from physical contact or not warming your muscles up properly before playing. You will likely experience pain, swelling and tightness in the pain area. Your consultant can help to diagnose and discuss a range of treatment options with you.

Need to know

Muscle strains happen as a result of muscle fibres stretching beyond their limit. There are different severity levels and symptoms:


  • Grade 1: affects a few fibres and can heal between 2-3 weeks
  • Grade 2: affects more muscle fibres and can be very painful; takes up to six weeks to heal
  • Grade 3: muscle tissue rupture; recovery can be up to three months


  • muscle pain
  • muscle spasms and cramps
  • muscle weakness
  • muscle swelling and inflammation

The hamstrings and the back can be particularly vulnerable.

Muscle sprains refer to a ligament tear or stretching, such as a twisted ankle.

Symptoms include:

  • swelling/bruising
  • pain/discomfort
  • restriction of movement in the area

Your consultant will discuss your symptoms with you to help make a diagnosis. Tests we offer to diagnose joint inflammation and swelling include:

  • a physical examination to understand the extent of the injury
  • X-rays to assess and/or rule out broken bones

Your consultant will discuss your treatment options and help to determine the best approach for you. Treatment options might include:

  • physiotherapy course relevant to your specific injury
  • pain relief medication - if required, you may be given crutches to assist with walking
  • surgery may be considered for a torn ligament or ruptured muscle

Your consultant will discuss these treatment options with you in detail during the diagnosis process.

Our Muscle strains and sprains locations

Institute of Sport Exercise and Health (ISEH)

Institute of Sport Exercise and Health (ISEH)

170 Tottenham Court Road W1T 7HA London
The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
The Portland Hospital

The Portland Hospital

205-209 Great Portland Street W1W 5AH London
The Princess Grace Hospital

The Princess Grace Hospital

42-52 Nottingham Place W1U 5NY London
The Lister Hospital

The Lister Hospital

Chelsea Bridge Road, SW1W 8RH London
The Shard Outpatients

The Shard Outpatients

The Shard, 32 St Thomas Street SE1 9BS London

Patient stories

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.