Lower Limb Muscle Tears

What does a muscle tear feel like?

A muscle tear often happens as you try to move quickly, especially if you are not warmed up properly. People often describe a tear as feeling like someone has kicked them in the leg, or as a snapping sensation. Usually you will not be able to continue on with the activity. Depending on where the tear occurred and how many muscle fibres you have torn you may get swelling or bruising over the next 1-48 hours.

Diagrammatic representation of a hamstring tear:

Lower Limb Muscle Tears

What should you do?


Rest – ceasing your activity or sport, and limiting the amount of weight you put through your leg. Crutches may be required if you are having difficulty walking.

Ice – applied to the injured site for 15-20 minutes every 1-2 hours. Ideally, it should be applied using crushed ice wrapped in a moist cloth or towel.

Compression – apply a firm elastic bandage around your knee. It should be firm but not tight enough to cause pain.

Elevation – lying with your knee resting comfortably on a chair or pillows so that it is above the level of your heart. You should continue the RICE regime until you consult a physiotherapist, preferably within two days of the initial injury

If the tear is affecting your walking (i.e. if you are limping) you need to see your physiotherapist, as if you continue to limp, you will often make the problem worse or create more problems. Your physio may provide you with crutches for short-term use to improve your walking pattern. Your physio will also be able to assess how severe your tear is, and this will give you some idea of how long recovery will take. As you improve, you will need to do some leg exercises to improve the muscle strength and control to prevent a recurrence of the injury.

What exercises can  help Lower Limb Muscle Tears?

Initially you should not stretch the effected muscle as this can make the tear worse. You can start some active movements of the leg, (e.g. if it is your hamstring or quadriceps you can try some knee bends, or if it is your calf, try doing some pain-free ankle pumps).

Hip and knee bends             Ankle pumps

How long to recover?

Recovery time depends on how severe the tear is and how well you manage the injury. For minor tears you could recover in as little as 10-14 days for moderate tears it usually takes 4-6 weeks, for very severe tears it could take a few months or some may even require surgery. Since so much of the recovery time depends on correct management, it is a good idea to consult with your physiotherapist early on to ensure you deal with the injury correctly.

What can you do to prevent recurrence of tears?

  • Warm up – make sure you do a low intensity warm up before any physical activity (e.g. a light walk, then jog, some side to side running, backwards running and jumps and hops)
  • Wear compression garments – ‘Skins’ or other compression clothing can help to reduce the risk of muscle tearing
  • Cool down and stretch – always do some cool-down exercises and stretches after playing sport or exercising
  • If your muscles feel tight while exercising, slow down and stretch them, then start with some more warm up exercises before continuing

Gold Coast Physiotherapy – Burleigh Heads and Broadbeach Physiotherapy Centres 07 5535 5218


Our Response to Covid-19

This page is up to date to our best knowledge, however, this is a rapidly evolving situation so we apologise for any potential delay in updating this information.

We want to reassure all our patients that we are following stringent infection control procedures in our clinic, and screen all people coming into the clinic, to exclude any patients that have any signs or symptoms consistent with Covid-19, as well as screening any patients that should be in isolation ie recently returned from overseas, or have been advised to isolate due to recent exposure with a known Covid-19 patient.

All our staff have now completed the Department of Health Covid-19 Infection Control Training.

What are we doing to minimise risk?

  • Screening patients for risk factors over the phone or through text messages before they attend appointments. Those with risk factors or symptoms are advised not to attend & to seek medical advice.
  • Hand sanitiser station at the front of the building must be used before you enter.
  • Following stringent infection control measures within the clinic. This includes
    • Disinfecting all beds, door handles, EFTPOS machine before and after each patient use.
    • Linen changed between each patient and commonly touched surfaces through the practice are cleaned regularly throughout the day.
    • Minimising the distances between clients in the waiting room- some chairs are outside undercover.
  • We have advised our team members not to come to work if they have cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • We are following all Department of Health recommendations for our type of business.

On the 30th March 2020 – the Australian government issued a statement that “People aged over 70, aged over 60 with pre-existing conditions, or Indigenous people aged over 50 should stay home wherever possible for their own protection.”

The decision to come in for physiotherapy treatment really is an individual one – if you feel that your treatment is medically necessary, and are comfortable with the risks of leaving your home and coming to physiotherapy, then rest assured that when you attend our physiotherapy clinic, we are following our strict infection control processes and doing everything we can to minimise your risk whilst in our care. However, we completely understand if you are not comfortable with coming in for treatment.

TELEHealth Consultations

We are offering telehealth consults and home visits (where suitable) for patients who cannot attend our clinic.

Read more about TELEhealth Consultations here.

Staying Healthy

  • Wash your hands often (and for 20 seconds) with soap and water
  • Cough into your elbow or use a tissue to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Social distancing practices – Avoiding close contact with others, such as touching, including shaking hands
  • Limit contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you are sick and encourage employees to stay home when sick
  • Get 7-8 hours’ sleep a night to help your immune system stay strong
Please stay safe and take care of each other!

We are monitoring the situation very closely and will make adjustments to our business as we are further informed. Our priority is the health & well being of our patients and our staff. Thanks for your understanding.

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