While strains often feel like a mild to moderate pulling sensation, complete tears of the calf muscle can feel sharp, often leaving the individual not being able to walk. Because the calf muscles cross two joints (ankle and knee), there is a higher risk of strain and tears, most likely during running activities. Calf muscle tears most often occur during acceleration or changes in direction. For example leaping up a step, a sudden change in direction or a sudden acceleration (sprint training) A calf tear … When a person says, “I tore a ligament in my calf,” he really means that he tore his Achilles tendon, as this is the primary ligament that controls the calf. LAT, ATC, CES | Athletic Trainer, NCFC Youth. With a complete tear, your doctor will likely refer you to an orthopedic specialist for further treatment. Typically a torn calf muscle refers to a complete tear, rather than just a muscle strain. Depending on the degree of bruising and swelling, a palpable defect in the muscle may be evident. However, like most injuries, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of a calf tear. Your doctor may also recommend that you use over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to help reduce pain and swelling. A muscle strain refers to the stretching or tearing of muscle fibers. Muscle strain. As this type of severe calf muscle tear results in complete loss of function, performing any activity will be challenging if not impossible. A physical therapy program can help you safely regain strength in your calf muscle and restore flexibility. Follow us on social media for the latest trends and activities. Your recovery will depend on your individual injury. The severity of the symptoms and the course of treatment depend on the extensiveness of the tear. 2. The injury makes it difficult to walk or bear any weight on that leg. Spasms, or sudden involuntary contractions, of the calf muscle. Some helpful tips to prevent calf tears include: Doing movements to get the lower extremities moving 5-10 minutes before activity. 2. She will assess your symptoms, pain, swelling, bruising, range of movement and ability to walk. Typically there is bruising associated with this pain and normally the maximum tenderness or location of tear is higher than the bruised area. Difficulty walking 5. ➜ The first sign of a torn calf muscle is a sudden outbreak of pain. Jody Braverman is a professional writer and editor based in Atlanta. Treatment for torn muscles typically includes immobilization or surgery followed by physical therapy. It is a common injury and is often caused by overstretching or by putting excess force through the calf muscle. The torn calf muscle may also show signs of bruising in your lower leg behind the knee. The location and intensity of your pain can help determine the extent and nature of the damage.In more severe injuries, where the muscle or tendon has been completely ruptured, your doctor may be able to see or feel a defect in the area of injury. “I want to show more than 50 seconds out of 4 years of hard work”, Get Fit during the Holidays with this Christmas Workout, Runner’s Heart: Causes, Risks and Health Advice for Athlete Runners. Muscle spasms 5. Torn calf muscles are a common injury linked to physical activity. Bruising. 2. She studied creative writing at the American University of Paris and received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland. If you visit her office, she may ask you to perform some physical tests to assess the degree of the tear and muscle function. A calf muscle with a grade III strain will be quite painful, swollen and discolored. A grade I strain is mild. The symptoms of mild to moderate muscle strains usually go away within a … It is also helpful to stretch after activity. Baker’s Cyst. Over the counter medications- NSAIDs, paired with physical therapy will help reduce inflammation and swelling of the calf while improving range of motion and recovery. There may be mild pain and swelling, but the muscle is otherwise in good condition with no loss of strength or function. Other symptoms include: Pain. Your recovery will depend on your individual injury. Muscle strains are categorized based on the extent of the damage and the symptoms you might experience 2. Depending on the severity of the damage to the muscle, symptoms of a torn calf can vary. Schedule an appointment with your doctor. 1 Grades of Calf Muscle Injury A muscle tear, however, involves a ripping of a muscle or tendon, with complete separation of muscle fibers. Mild muscle strain can cause pain that feels similar to post-workout soreness. There may be mild pain and swelling, but the muscle is otherwise in good condition with no loss of strength or function. Sharp pain when you move or stretch the ankle or knee. The mere recovery for a torn calf can be just as taxing as the rehabilitation itself. With a more severe strain, you will feel a sudden sharp pain at the back of the lower leg at the time of injury. It is crucial to make this distinction between the two terms because of the sheer gravity of a muscle tear (and recovery). A muscle strain refers to the stretching or tearing of muscle fibers. In some cases, individuals often experience the dreaded “gunshot” feeling, a sensation described as getting shot in the calf due to the sharp pain they experience with the muscle tear. The recovery times for calf tears are as follows: To prevent the pain and set back of a torn calf, taking actions ahead of physical activity will help you maintain performance and avoid a long recovery period. Pain that is throbbing while at rest but sharp and stabbing when you attempt to stand or walk. While the terms strain and tear are used interchangeably, they reflect different states of damage to the muscle. Your doctor will want to know what you were doing when you were injured. Most common and in the 30-50-year-old age range, these injuries can be surprisingly uncomfortable. Calf muscle strains are graded from 1 to 3, with grade 3 being the most severe. Your calf muscle is referred to as a single muscle, but it is actually two separate muscles: the gastrocnemius and the soleus. What Are the Treatments for Calf Muscle Pain? Pain usually increases when you move the muscle, but it is relieved by rest. Though muscle tears and strains can occur anywhere on the body, tears within the lower body and lower legs are more frequent while running or endurance training. Move the Limit I Pushing Your Limit to the Max! Some other symptoms of calf tears include: Whether you’re suffering from a mild strain to a full-blown tear, treatment afterward is key to your recovery. Muscle Strain Symptoms. It is usually, but not always, due to a change in force or stress on your leg. Refrain from exercise, sports or other strenuous activities, MyHealth.Alberta.ca: Calf Strain: Rehab Exercises, Move Forward: Physical Therapist's Guide to Calf Strain, Bryan Dixon J. Gastrocnemius vs. soleus strain: how to differentiate and deal with calf muscle injuries. The gastrocnemius and soleus muscles extend down the back of the lower leg, forming the Achilles tendon behind the heel/ankle joint. This results in pain and very limited movement. Pain and swelling or bruising in the calf muscle. Depending on the severity of the damage to the muscle, symptoms of a torn calf can vary. Only a few muscle fibers are overstretched or torn. 2009;2(2):74-77. A pop in the muscle at the time of injury 6. This pain will build as you continue your activity and there may be obvious swelling and inflammation. Shar… During the physical exam, your doctor will check for swelling and points of tenderness. Return to the starting position so that your heels are on the same level of the step and repeat for a total of eight to 12 repetitions. Wrap the lower leg in an elastic bandage to reduce swelling and provide support for weakened muscles. Master of Science (M.S. Pain when the specific muscle or … Rhabdomyolysis is a condition in which damaged skeletal muscle breaks down rapidly. Calf tears are no different. A muscle strain occurs when the muscle is stretched too far, which causes tears to occur within the muscle. While physical activity can improve cardiovascular endurance, maintain strength and flexibility, or simply relieve stress, it can also lead to minor or severe injuries. Muscle swelling, discoloration or both 3. Signs and symptoms will vary, depending on the severity of the injury, and may include: 1. Signs and symptoms A sudden pain at the back of the leg, particularly at the muscular tendinous junction. Elevation- elevating calf above your heart to limit blood flow to the area, reducing painful throbbing. According to Harvard Health Publishing, mild muscle strains will heal within a few weeks 2. Sudden instances of “pushing off” quickly to change position can also cause tears with the calf muscles. Calf Muscle Tear Although it is extremely painful, calf muscle tears occur often, especially to men ages 40 to 60. Typical symptoms for each grade of pulled calf muscle include: Grade 1 Symptoms With a grade 1 calf strain, only a few of the muscle fibres are damaged, up to approximately 10%. Especially if you heard or felt a pop at the time of injury, you should call your doctor right away. The calf muscle is found at the back of the lower leg and is comprised of three muscles: the plantaris, the gastrocnemius and the soleus. But more intense and debilitating injuries like muscle strains, tears, or bone fractures can create a more intensive recovery and rehabilitation for the individual. The pain is felt at the back of the lower section of the leg. Share your training experience with the rest of the Move The Limit community and join the movement! These muscles are the lateral (outside) and medial (inside) heads of the gastrocnemius. ), Kinesiology at Louisiana Tech University. Keeping your knees straight, rise slowly up onto your toes, and then lower your heels down slightly below the level of the step until you feel a slight stretch. 2009;2(2):74-7. doi:10.1007/s12178-009-9045-8. A calf muscle with a grade III strain will be quite painful, swollen and discolored. Swelling 6. There is also a third, maybe lesser-known muscle that completes the calf complex, the plantaris muscle, which lies between the gastrocnemius and soleus. All muscle strains and tears are typically graded on the severity and damage of the muscle. By introducing a proper routine of warmups, stretches, and recovery techniques, a tear would be less likely to occur and in turn, be less worrisome for you as an athlete. If the tear is not complete, your doctor will send you home with instructions for self-care using the RICE treatment protocol. Your doctor will examine your leg and calf muscles, ask questions about your lifestyle and how you might have injured it, and maybe even take X-rays of your lower leg (to rule out a fracture of the tibia and fibula bones). Typically a torn calf muscle refers to a complete tear, rather than just a muscle strain. 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