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A Calf muscle strain injury is common in sports. Calf injuries are also known as a 'pulled Calf'. The term 'pulled Calf muscle' comes from the description of how the injury takes place. Usually the Calf muscle is forcibly stretched beyond its limits and the muscle tissue becomes torn. A tear in the Calf muscle is referred to as a Calf strain and depending on its severity it is classified as a first, second or third degree strain.
With a grade one Calf strain there is a sensation of cramp or tightness, and a slight feeling of pain when the muscles are stretched or contracted. A grade two Calf strain produces more immediate and severe pain; the Calf is sore to touch and there will be bruising below the injury site after a few days. With a grade three Calf strain the patient is unable to move without pain, and there may be a bulge of soft tissue through the muscle layer.
Early Calf injury treatment consists of the RICE protocol - rest, ice, compression and elevation (never apply ice directly to the skin). Depending upon the severity of the injury, the leg must be rested from sporting activity for between several weeks and several months. Many people find that a Calf Support is useful following a Calf muscle injury.
Common Calf Muscle Strain signs & symptoms:
|Consult a sports injury expert|
|Apply ice packs/cold therapy|
|Apply a compression bandage to limit swelling|
|Use anti-inflammatory gel to relieve pain|
|Stretch using exercise bands to aid scar tissue healing|
|Wear a Calf support for reassurance|
|Perform Core Strength & Core Stability exercises|
|Perform warm up exercises prior to sporting activity|
|Perform cool down exercises following sporting activity|
|Practise stretching exercises to maintain muscle length|
|Sip sports drinks to maintain carbohydrates & fluids|