Pulled Muscle vs Torn Muscle: Difference and Comparison

It can cause muscles to pull or even tear in some cases, causing injury.

Key Takeaways

  1. A pulled muscle occurs when muscle fibers stretch or strain, while a torn muscle involves tearing muscle fibers or tissue.
  2. Pulled muscles cause mild to moderate pain and discomfort, but torn muscles result in severe pain, bruising, and loss of function.
  3. Treatment for a pulled muscle may include rest, ice, compression, and elevation, but a torn muscle might require medical intervention, such as surgery or physical therapy.

Pulled Muscle vs Torn Muscle

A pulled muscle or muscle strain refers to an injured muscle caused by a sudden overstretching of the ligaments. This occurs when falling on a body part or running on uneven ground. Torn muscle refers to an injury caused by overstretching of the tendons. A tear occurs in the tendons due to improper form during weight-lifting, poor posture or lack of flexibility.

Pulled Muscle vs Torn Muscle

When a body part, due for any reason, twists or falls directly, it can cause the soft tissue fibres present in ligaments of that particular region to overstretch or tear, causing various symptoms depending on the severity.

When someone improperly lifts a heavyweight or overuses the muscle, it can cause muscle tissues of that region to overstretch or tear.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPulled MuscleTorn Muscle
Other NamesSprain or Ligament Tear.Strain or Torn Tendon.
CausesTwisting of the body part or falling directly on it, running on uneven ground.Lifting weights with improper technique, Bad Posture, Poor Flexibility, Lack of strength.
SymptomsPain, Bruising, Popping sound in the moment of injury, limited movement around the joint, etc.Cramps, tenderness, Swelling muscle weakness, etc.
Regions commonly affectedWrist and AnkleLower back and Hamstring (A muscle on the back of thighs)
PreventionWearing strong sports shoes to support ankles, regularly indulging in physical activities.Warming up before workouts, stretching after the workout, using proper safety equipment.

What is Pulled Muscle?

Pulled muscle or sprain is a common injury caused by a sudden overstretch in the ligaments. The tissue fibres of the ligaments can sometimes even be torn, making it more severe than just an overstretch.

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There are three scales determining the severity of a pulled muscle:

  • Grade 1: A mild injury caused by overstretching but no tearing of the ligaments. It is self-diagnosed with some rest.
  • Grade 2: A moderate injury caused by not only overstretching but a partial tearing of the ligaments as well.
pulled muscle

What is Torn Muscle?

Torn muscle or strain is an injury caused commonly by overuse of muscle fibres, leading to overstretching of one or more tendons. The tissue fibres of tendons, if torn, cause severe injury.

Just like a sprain, there are three scales that determine the severity of a torn muscle :

  • Grade 1: A mild injury where tendons are only slightly overstretched and very few muscle fibres get damaged. It is self-diagnosed but can take a couple of days to completely recover.
  • Grade 2: A moderate injury where about half of the muscle fibres get damaged, causing acute swelling and pain.
torn muscle

Main Differences Between Pulled Muscle and Torn Muscle

  1. The treatment is mostly similar, including R.I.C.E Techniques, MRI, X-ray, etc.
  2. Muscles are pulled in the wrist and ankles, but muscle tearing is observed in the lower back, hamstring muscles, glutes, etc.
Difference Between Pulled Muscle and Torn Muscle
  1. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/28/2/112.short
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/036354659602406S02

Last Updated : 05 September, 2023

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