Calf strains are really common muscle injuries particularly in sports that involve running. The calf muscle is a big, powerful muscle at the back of the leg which is used to push off with the leg when running and walking. When the muscle is torn this can lead to severe pain and swelling in the calf and can lead to several weeks of rehabilitation being needed.
When muscles are torn or strained they are classified in the following way:
Grade 1 – a few fibres of the muscle are torn. Likely recovery time 2-6 weeks
Grade 2 – a lot of the muscle fibres are torn. Likely recovery time 6-12 weeks
Grade 3 – the muscle is completely ruptured. Surgery likely to be needed.
Common sports that cause calf strains:
- Running – particularly sprinting
Common Signs & Symptoms
Following this injury the common signs and symptoms are:
- Severe pain in the calf muscle
- Swelling in the calf muscle
- Inability to walk on the leg properly
What should be done following this injury:
- Attend the Emergency Room if you think the injury is severe or your Doctor
- Consult a chartered physical therapist - they will give you advice and exercises to aid your recovery
- Use ice or a reusable cold pack to reduce the swelling (the recommended time is 10 minutes on with 1 hour off) Never apply ice directly to the skin.
- When returning to sport use a support to help provide stabilization