Calf Strain - A pulled Muscle Strain Injury
What is a Calf Strain?
A strain is an injury in which muscle fibers or tendons are stretched
or torn through there extreme overuse. A calf strain is an injury to
the muscles and tendons in the lower back part of your leg.
How does Calf Strain occur?
Calf strain can occur during a physical activity where you push off
forcefully from your toes. It may occur in running, jumping, or lunging.
The calf muscles consist of the Gastrocnemius which is the big muscle
at the back of the lower leg and the Soleus muscle which is a smaller
muscle lower down in the leg and under the Gastrocnemius. Either of
these two muscles can be strained.
Symptoms of Calf Strain:
- A sudden pain in the lower back part of the leg.
- Difficulty in contracting the knee or standing on tip of the toe.
- Pain and swelling in the calf muscle.
Treatment of Calf Strain:
- Rest the leg and apply R.I.C.E. treatment (Rest , Ice , Compression , Elevation).
- Elevate your leg on a pillow while you are lying down.
- Wrap an elastic bandage around your calf muscle to prevent the swelling from getting worse.
- Use crutches, if it is too painful to walk.
- Take anti-inflammatory medications.
- See a sports injury specialist who could advise a full rehabilitation program.
When can I return to my sport or activity?
The goal of rehabilitation is to return you to your sport or activity
as soon and as safely as possible. But, If you return too soon you may
worsen your injury, which could lead to permanent damage. Everyone
recovers from injury at a different rate. Returning to your sport or
activity will be determined by your recovering ability, the sooner your
calf recovers, the soon you could join your sport or activity. Returning
to your sport or activity is not determined by how many days or weeks
have passed since your injury occurred. In general, the longer you have
symptoms of the injury, the longer it will take you to get better.
You may safely return to your sport or activity when, each of the following points are true:
- You have a full range of motion in the leg without any pain.
- You have full strength in your leg.
- You can jog straight ahead without any pain or limping.
- You can sprint straight ahead without any pain or limping.
- You can stand on the tip of your toe without any pain.
- You can jump on both the legs without any pain.
Prevention of Calf Strain:
Calf strains are best prevented by doing proper warm ups like
running, sit ups, or with the help of any of the popular fitness
equipments like treadmills, strength trainers, steppers, exercise bikes, dumbbells
etc.. and by doing proper calf-stretching exercises before starting any
sport or activity. These warm ups are especially important if you are
doing jumping or sprinting sports.
What could a sports injury specialist do?
- Prescribe anti-inflammatory medication e.g. ibuprofen which is beneficial in the first few days after the injury.
- Use ultrasound or laser treatment.
- Wrap an elastic bandage to prevent the injury from getting worse.
- Use a compression device.
- Provide a massage.
- Prescribe a full rehabilitation program.