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Calf Muscle Strain
(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
- Using the calf muscles too much on a certain day
- 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.
- Do not do activities that cause pain. This includes running, jumping, and weight lifting using the leg muscles.
- If normal walking hurts, shorten your stride.
- Do not play sports until your doctor has said it is safe to do so.
- Over-the-counter medication, such as aspirin , ibuprofen , or acetaminophen
- Topical pain medication—creams or patches that are applied to the skin
- Prescription pain relievers
- 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 Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor http://www.aafp.org
American Council on Exercise http://www.acefitness.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 April 26, 2013
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 April 26, 2013.
Sprains, strains, and tears. American College of Sports Medicine website. Available at: http://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/sprains-strains-and-tears.pdf. Accessed April 26, 2013.
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: 02/2014
- Update Date: 03/18/2013