Estimated Reading Time: 3-4 minutes

Four Types of Skeletal Muscle Injuries You Should Know About

There are over 600 muscles in your body! These muscles are categorized into three main types: cardiac, smooth and skeletal:

  • Cardiac muscle tissue forms the walls of your heart.
  • Smooth muscle tissue is found in the walls of hollow organs like the bladder, as well as in passageways like the airway and gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
  • Skeletal muscle is the most common muscle tissue in the body, and is prone to injury. Skeletal muscles attach to bones via tendons to facilitate your body’s movement and strength.. Here are four types of skeletal muscle injuries you should know about:

Muscle Strain

A muscle strain is commonly referred to as a “pulled” muscle. This injury can happen when the muscle is overstretched, overused or used improperly. Muscle strains result in microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. Common sites for strain injuries include the hamstring, shoulder, neck and low back.

Strains can result in muscle soreness, stiffness, weakness, swelling and spasms. They usually heal over the course of a few weeks. Interventions like ice, anti-inflammatory medications and gentle stretching can often help the injury heal faster.

Muscle Tear

While a muscle strain refers to microscopic injury to muscle fibers, a muscle tear is a larger injury in which a muscle and the blood vessels that supply it are torn. It typically takes a significant amount of force to cause this type of injury. Like a muscle strain, the most common muscle tears occur in the lower back, neck, shoulder and hamstring.

Muscle tears often cause a sudden onset of severe pain, as well as bruising, swelling and weakness. Anyone who sustains this type of injury should seek urgent medical attention. Patients who have a torn muscle also often require follow-up care and rehabilitation with physical therapy.


Rhabdomyolysis is a serious condition that occurs when muscle fibers die and their contents are released into the bloodstream. Since the kidneys filter out these muscle byproducts, rhabdomyolysis can result in kidney failure, which may be fatal in some cases.

Symptoms of rhabdomyolysis include muscle pain, weakness and dark urine.

Causes of rhabdomyolysis maybe traumatic or non-traumatic. Examples of traumatic rhabdomyolysis include crush injuries, car accidents or lying unconscious on a hard surface for a long period of time. Non-traumatic muscle injury can be caused by heat stroke, infections, intense exercise, seizures, and the use of certain recreational drugs like cocaine and amphetamines.

Muscle Contusion

A muscle contusion is commonly referred to as a muscle “bruise.” This type of injury occurs when a blunt object strikes the body and crushes underlying muscle tissue, but does not break the skin. Contusions typically cause pain, swelling and decreased range of motion. They also often cause visible bruising because blood from damaged blood vessels pools underneath the surface of the skin.

While mild contusion injuries often heal with ice, rest and time, more serious injuries sometimes require surgical intervention to address excessive pressure that can accumulate from internal swelling and bleeding.


At GoHealth Urgent Care we’re open 7 days a week to care for you. Click here if there’s anything we can do today to help you feel better:


We Put You First

Check-in online or just walk in and be cared for from best-in-class providers who make you their priority

people iconCulture Of Care
Culture Of Care

Highly skilled, caring providers go out of their way to make you their #1 priority.

hands shaking iconTrusted Partnerships
Trusted Partnerships

We partner with leading health systems that have the finest networks of physicians and clinicians.

workflow iconEffortless Experience
Effortless Experience

Enjoy effortless access with online check-ins, walk in appointments and integrated electronic medical records.

marker iconInnovative Facilities
Innovative Facilities

State of the art urgent care centers welcome you with a clean, contemporary design engineered for your comfort and privacy.

Health News and Tips for the Whole Family

By providing your email address you agree that GoHealth Urgent Care and our health system partner may contact you in the future. Your privacy is important to us; view our Privacy Policy.