How Soon Can We Dry Needle Muscle Tear?

Muscle tear is an injury that commonly occurs in sports. There are many ways to treat muscle tears and one of my favourite ways is to use dry needling technique to promote optimal healing. Today we will look into what muscle tears are, the healing process and when we can start performing dry needling.

What is muscle tear?

Muscle tear is when your muscle fibres are overstretched or torn. This often results from overuse, fatigue, weakness and improper biomechanics of an activity. Muscle tears have three grades ranging from minimal tears to complete tears. They are often painful and they limit your range of motion and function. Most common sites of muscle tears are hamstring, lower back, quadriceps and calves.

What is the healing process of muscle tears?

  • Tissue healing process consist of 3 main process:
  • Inflammation stage: (0hours to ~3 days)
  • Clot formation and scarring
  • Associated with oedema, pain and scarring
  • Proliferation stage: (~4 days to 6 weeks)
  • Inflammation settles down
  • Extracellular matrix deposition
  • Reduction in pain
  • Remodelling stage: (2 to 3 weeks onwards, can last for months or years)
  • Tissue form and strengthen
  • Increase college fibres organisation
  • Improve tissue capacity

When can we start performing dry needling?

We generally want to avoid the first 48 hours. This is mainly due to the tissue still bleeding. After 48 hours, we can start to needle the two ends of the muscles but not directly on the tear itself as the tissues have not had enough time to heal yet.

We can also needle onto the adjacent muscles. For example, if there is a tear in the quadriceps, we can needle the TFL as it will aid hip flexion movement.

We will be able to perform needling onto the muscle belly/injury site after thorough assessment of the tear. Once physiotherapists think that there has been sufficient healing of the tissue, we will be able to needle into the tear site.

This information can be used to gain a better understanding of dry needling in muscle tear. To find out more about how we can help, or to book in for a consultation you can contact us via our Limp in Leap out Physiotherapy & Wellness contact us page, or book online here.

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