Pulled Calf Muscles: Overview
A pulled calf muscle occurs when the lower back muscles – the soleus and gastrocnemius- are overstretched. The injury may also be called the calf muscle strain and involves mild overstretching and or complete muscle tearing. Mild injuries may be recovered through conservative measures, including rest, ice massage, compression garments like calf supports, or elevating the injured areas. However, a torn calf muscle may require surgery for complete recovery.
Who can experience pulled calf muscles?
Anyone can experience this calf problem; however, the problem is common among athletes involved in abrupt stop and moving conditions. This is why footballers, runners, soccer players, and tennis players are at a high risk of the pulled calf muscle. The following are other risk factors contributing to the pulled calf muscles or calf strains:
Age: People over 40 years of age are at a higher risk of calf strains when involved in physical activities.
Gender: Some studies have revealed that men are prone to muscle strain during physical activities.
Poor conditioning: It is advisable to warm up, stretch, and condition your muscles before starting every strenuous activity. This is because lack of conditioning or poor conditioning can cause strain in muscles.
Muscle type: People with short or tight calf muscles are prone to muscle injuries.
Common causes of pulled calf muscles?
Sudden moves or overstretches after standing still and other activities can cause pulled calf muscles. As well as this, quick jumps, pivots, or abrupt stops may also cause calf muscle strain. The injury most commonly occurs when your toes get forced while your ankles pull your calf muscles down too quickly.
Symptoms of pulled calf muscles
Whenever you feel any of the given symptoms, you may have developed the pulled calf muscles:
Pain: Pain is a common symptom you may feel in your lower back, especially when someone kicks your calf.
Swelling: Swelling is another prominent symptom that appears when you experience the pulled calf muscles.
Bruising: Bruising is known as skin discolouration resulting from skin or tissue injuries. Skin discolouration happens when blood vessels underneath the skin get damaged. Pulled calf muscles may also result in bruising.
Visible indentation: Visible indentation underneath the calfskin may also appear because of the pulled calf muscle.
Weakness: The condition may also result in weakness around the calf or leg.
Imbalance: The condition may make you unable to balance or bear weight on the injured area.
Popping or snapping sensation: The condition, sometimes, may also result in popping and snapping sensations.
Other vein problems: In very rare cases, pulled or torn calf muscles may also result in serious medical conditions or vein problems, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT), superficial thrombophlebitis, and compartment syndrome.
Possible treatments of pulled calf muscles
Whenever you feel any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should consult your GP or healthcare advisors to diagnose the problem. They may perform physical checkups or suggest some tests that will help them diagnose the problems. Diagnosing the problem will help them create better treatment plans. Healthcare professionals recommend conservative measures or non-surgical treatments for mild to moderate symptoms. However, severe conditions, such as completely torn muscles, may require surgery to recover completely. The following are the details of the treatments for a pulled calf muscle:
The following are the immediate non-surgical treatments for pulled calf muscles:
Rest: Stop running or other physical activities and provide your injured leg or calf with proper rest. It will help reduce the chances of further damage to the injured leg or calf.
Ice massage: Apply ice packs or cold compress to the injured areas. Healthcare professionals suggest applying ice packs for 20 minutes after every 2 hours. However, it is recommended not to apply direct ice to your skin.
Compression: Compression helps reduce pain, swelling, and fluid buildups in the injured areas. Wearing compression sleeves or calf support for pulled calf muscles helps provide the injured areas with needed compressions and support.
Severe conditions like complete calf muscle tear usually require surgical treatment. During the pulled calf muscles surgery, your surgeon makes a cut or incision in your calf and re-attaches the two ends of the torn muscle with stitches. General anaesthesia is required to perform this surgery. However, you need to stay in hospital for a few days to recover completely. After surgery, you must follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions for moving and other activities. It will help you promote healing.
How To prevent pulled calf muscles
Healthcare professionals suggest some preventive measures helping you control the chances of pulled calf muscles during sports or other physical or occupational activities:
- Ensure that your calf muscles are warmed up and conditioned before every physical activity.
- Perform calf muscle stretching exercises regularly
- Take frequent breaks during workouts
- Ensure that you have learned all the techniques properly before entering the field. It will help you perform better, preventing injuries.
- Wearing supporting or protective gear, such as calf support braces, helps reduce the chances of overstretching. Consequently, you get an injury-free sports experience.
- Ensure that you follow all other advice given by your healthcare professionals or professional trainers.
Buy the best calf supports for pulled calf muscles
The pulled calf muscle is a condition that occurs due to activities that result in muscles overstretching or tearing in your calf. Whenever you feel the symptoms leading to the pulled calf muscles, never ignore them and consult your GP to bring possible treatments. Wearing calf support is one of the most effective treatments to recover from mild to moderate symptoms. As well as this, calf support also helps reduce the chances of injuries during sports and other physical activities. However, remember that you need to wear the correct type of calf support to get maximum benefits. It is advisable to ask your GP or sports trainers to select the best calf support accordingly. At 360 relief, you can find a variety of calf supports, helping you choose the best product according to your needs Read more