(Pulled Calf Muscle; Gastrocnemius Strain; Gastrocnemius Tear; Gastrocnemius Muscle Injury)
|The Calf Muscles|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
- Stretching the calf muscles beyond the amount of tension they can withstand
- Suddenly putting stress on the calf muscles when they are not ready for the stress
- A direct blow to the calf muscles
- Participation in sports that require bursts of speed. This includes track sports like running, hurdles, or long jump. Other sports include basketball, soccer, football, or rugby.
- Previous strain or injury to the area
- Muscle fatigue
- Tight calf muscles
- Poor conditioning
- Pain and tenderness in the calf
- Stiffness in the calf muscles
- Weakness of the calf muscles
- Pain when pushing off the foot or standing on tiptoe
- Bruising on the calf
- Popping sensation as the muscle tears
- Grade 1—Some stretching with micro-tearing of muscle fibers
- Grade 2—Partial tearing of muscle fibers
- Grade 3—Complete tearing of muscle fibers; this may also be called a rupture or avulsion
- Rest—Activities will need to be restricted at first. Normal activities will be reintroduced gradually.
- Ice—Ice therapy may help relieve swelling. Heat or cold may be advised throughout recovery if they provide benefits.
- Compression—Used for a limited time, compression bandages can provide gentle pressure to help move fluids out of the area.
- Elevation—Keeping the area elevated can help fluids drain out or prevent fluids from building up.
- Keep your calf muscles strong and flexible, so they can absorb the energy of sudden physical stress
- Learn the proper technique for exercise and sporting activities to decrease stress on all your muscles
American Council on Exercise http://www.acefitness.org
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.familydoctor.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Healthy U http://www.healthyalberta.com
Armfield DR. Sports-related muscle injury in the lower extremity. Clin Sports Med. 2006;25(4):803-42.
Calf strain. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what. Updated November 3, 2012. Accessed March 10, 2015.
Campbell JT. Posterior calf injury. Foot Ankle Clin. 2009 Dec;14(4):761-771.
Douis H, Gillett M, et al. Imaging in the diagnosis, prognostication, and management of lower limb muscle injury. Semin Musculoskelet Radiol. 2011 Feb;15(1):27-41.
Johns Hopkins sports medicine patient guide to muscle strain. John Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsortho.org/muscle%5Fstrain.html. Accessed March 10, 2015.
Sprains, strains, and tears. American College of Sports Medicine website. Available at: http://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/sprains-strains-and-tears.pdf. Published 2011. Accessed March 10, 2015.
1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : Massey T, Derry S, Moore R, McQuay H. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 03/2015 -
- Update Date: 03/18/2013 -