A strain is when a muscle becomes overstretched and tears. This painful injury, also called a "pulled muscle," can be caused by an accident, improper use of a muscle, or overuse of a muscle. Strains are of 3 types:
• Mild (Grade I)-Slightly pulled muscle without tearing of muscle or tendon fibers. There is no loss of strength. • Moderate (Grade II)- Tearing of fibers in a muscle, tendon or at the attachment to bone. Strength is diminished. • Severe (Grade III)-Rupture of the muscle-tendon-bone attachment with separation of fibers. Severe strain requires surgical repair. Chronic strains are caused by overuse. Acute strains are caused by direct injury or overstress.
• Excessive physical activity or effort • Improperly warming up before a physical activity • Poor flexibility • Prolonged overuse of muscle-tendon units in the elbow • Sudden, forceful hyperextension of the elbow • Single violent injury or force applied to the elbow
• Pain and difficulty moving the injured muscle • Discolored and bruised skin • Swelling • Pain when moving or stretching the elbow. • Muscle spasm in the elbow area. • Swelling over the injury • Loss of strength (moderate or severe strain) • Crepitation ("crackling") feeling and sound when the injured area is pressed with fingers • Calcification of muscles or tendons (visible with X-rays) • Inflammation of a tendon sheath