Muscle: Structure, Physiology, and Response to Injury


Skeletal muscle injuries are among the most common injuries in sports, with strain, contusion, laceration, and delayed-onset muscle soreness accounting for the majority. Although nonsurgical management is the foundation of treatment for muscle strain and contusion, complete tears or laceration injuries will benefit from surgical repair, which allows the muscle to regain a significant amount of strength. Researchers are currently trying to use recombinant human growth factors to improve muscle healing, and gene therapy is being explored as a method for delivering stable high concentrations of growth factors to injured muscle. Nevertheless, the need remains for Level I clinical evidence that advises of the best treatment strategies for these injuries. In this review, we discuss muscle structure, physiology, common mechanisms of muscle injury, and response to injury. We also provide an overview of diagnostic pearls and potential treatment strategies.

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