torn calf muscle symptoms

Your doctor will want to know what you were doing when you were injured. ➜ The first sign of a torn calf muscle is a sudden outbreak of pain. Most common and in the 30-50-year-old age range, these injuries can be surprisingly uncomfortable. What are the symptoms? Muscle cramp or spasm 4. She also received personal trainer certification from NASM and her 200-hour yoga teacher certification from YogaWorks. All muscle strains and tears are typically graded on the severity and damage of the muscle. Ice, light massage, stretching are all helpful modalities to help reduce the chance for calf tears and maintain performance. Symptoms of a gastrocnemius muscle tear. With a grade I strain, you shouldn't have any trouble walking around and completing daily activities. 1 Grades of Calf Muscle Injury In some cases, individuals often experience the dreaded “gunshot” feeling, a sensation described as getting shot in the calf due to the sharp pain they experience with the muscle tear. However, like most injuries, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of a calf tear. Physical therapy- in more severe cases, calf tears need to be rehabilitated with exercises focusing on regaining strength and flexibility of the muscles. Pain usually increases when you move the muscle, but it is relieved by rest. The injury makes it difficult to walk or bear any weight on that leg. Redness or bruising 3. The severity of these strains and tears are determined to be one of three grades: Tears within the calf usually involve the gastrocnemius and soleus, commonly occurring along the medial head of the gastric. There may be mild pain and swelling, but the muscle is otherwise in good condition with no loss of strength or function. Signs and symptoms will vary, depending on the severity of the injury, and may include: 1. Compression wraps- used to provide stability and compression to muscle which reduces swelling and inflammation. // Leaf Group Lifestyle, The Pain in My Right Calf Hurts More When I Squat. If you are feeling pain or discomfort during physical activity, it is important to pull back and even remove yourself entirely to make sure you do not exacerbate your pain and make it worse. A grade I strain is mild. Grade III: Even without surgical intervention, recovery time for a complete tear of the calf muscle can be 3 to 4 months. Sudden instances of “pushing off” quickly to change position can also cause tears with the calf muscles. At the time of injury, you may hear a popping sound or feel a tearing sensation in your calf. Pain that is throbbing while at rest but sharp and stabbing when you attempt to stand or walk. Keeping your knees straight, rise slowly up onto your toes, and then lower your heels down slightly below the level of the step until you feel a slight stretch. Signs and symptoms A sudden pain at the back of the leg, particularly at the muscular tendinous junction. If your doctor is still unsure of the extent of the injury, she may order more tests, including X-rays and magnetic image resonance (MRI). As this type of severe calf muscle tear results in complete loss of function, performing any activity will be challenging if not impossible. Some other symptoms of calf tears include: Whether you’re suffering from a mild strain to a full-blown tear, treatment afterward is key to your recovery. Share your training experience with the rest of the Move The Limit community and join the movement! Move the Limit I Pushing Your Limit to the Max! A calf muscle strain occurs when the muscle fibers in the calf tear either partially or … Your doctor may also recommend that you use over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to help reduce pain and swelling. If you visit her office, she may ask you to perform some physical tests to assess the degree of the tear and muscle function. Symptoms of muscle strain include: Swelling, bruising, or redness due to the injury. While strains often feel like a mild to moderate pulling sensation, complete tears of the calf muscle can feel sharp, often leaving the individual not being able to walk. The symptoms don't really explain how a torn calf muscle feels. * Elevation. “I want to show more than 50 seconds out of 4 years of hard work”, Get Fit during the Holidays with this Christmas Workout, Runner’s Heart: Causes, Risks and Health Advice for Athlete Runners. Nevertheless, strains and tears can both cause discomfort for an individual, but the severity of each is very clear cut. Only a few muscle fibers are overstretched or torn. A calf muscle with a grade III strain will be quite painful, swollen and discolored. Functional Movement for the Soleus. This occurs as the muscle separates in two or as it rips away from the tendon that attaches it to bone. Muscle pain and tenderness, especially after an activity that stretches or violently contracts the muscle -- Pain usually increases when you move the muscle but is relieved by rest. ➜ With the passage of time, inflammation may occur. With a complete tear, your doctor will likely refer you to an orthopedic specialist for further treatment. Your recovery will depend on your individual injury. They are responsible for extending the foot (plantar flexion) and bending the leg at the knee joint. ), Kinesiology at Louisiana Tech University. Grade II tears can take two to three months and grade III tears may take several months. Especially if you heard or felt a pop at the time of injury, you should call your doctor right away. In extreme cases of complete muscle tears, surgery may be an option to repair the muscle and its tissues. Go to Calf strain diagnosis tool. The primary functions of the calf muscles are plantarflexion at the ankle joint and flexion at the knee joint. Elevation- elevating calf above your heart to limit blood flow to the area, reducing painful throbbing. Knee Pain in the Medial Collateral Ligament When Running, some of the sensations you might experience. Either a decrease in muscle strength or (in a Grade III strain) a complete loss of muscle function 4. Your doctor will examine your leg and calf muscles, ask questions about your lifestyle and how you might have injured it, and maybe even take X-rays of your lower leg (to rule out a fracture of the tibia and fibula bones). A calf muscle with a grade III strain will be quite painful, swollen and discolored. These 3 muscles are referred to as ‘the triceps surae’, and they attach to the Achilles tendon. Baker’s Cyst. It is a common injury and is often caused by overstretching or by putting excess force through the calf muscle. What Causes Pain to the Back of Your Ankle & Heel When You Walk? There may be some bruising as well as muscle weakness. While the terms strain and tear are used interchangeably, they reflect different states of damage to the muscle. Visit Airofit.com to learn more on how you can move your limit through respiratory training. Grade I: Anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks following proper physical therapy and treatment. Pain when the specific muscle or … A calf tear is a very common injury for runners as your calf performs a fast and large contraction when you run. Other symptoms include: Pain. Grade 1 symptoms include a cramping sensation, tightness, and slight pain when the calf muscles … Copyright © 2020 Leaf Group Ltd., all rights reserved. Torn muscle or muscle strain refers to a partial or complete rupture of the fibers of the muscle, causing pain or inability to move a particular part of the body. Symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the muscle strain. During recovery, it's important to avoid any activity that might cause reinjury. The recovery times for calf tears are as follows: To prevent the pain and set back of a torn calf, taking actions ahead of physical activity will help you maintain performance and avoid a long recovery period. With a more severe strain, you will feel a sudden sharp pain at the back of the lower leg at the time of injury. When you strain a muscle, the tissue and its fibers are overstretched, usually without tearing. The location and intensity of your pain can help determine the extent and nature of the damage.In more severe injuries, where the muscle or tendon has been completely ruptured, your doctor may be able to see or feel a defect in the area of injury. Jody Braverman is a professional writer and editor based in Atlanta. Difficulty walking 5. Typically a torn calf muscle refers to a complete tear, rather than just a muscle strain. It is comprised of two muscles: gastrocnemius (main part) and the soleus. A pop in the muscle at the time of injury 6. If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately. Lower Leg Calf Muscle Tear Calf muscle tears occur when the muscles of the calf are stretched beyond their ability to withstand tension. A mild strain may feel more like an ache during or after exercise. A physical therapy program can help you safely regain strength in your calf muscle and restore flexibility. Follow us on social media for the latest trends and activities. Return to the starting position so that your heels are on the same level of the step and repeat for a total of eight to 12 repetitions. Grade II: Typically, 3 to 6 weeks for full recovery. Heat application: usually used 2 to 3 days after initial injury, can alternate with cold therapy. The symptoms of a pulled calf muscle vary depending on the severity of the injury. The calf muscle is found at the back of the lower leg and is comprised of three muscles: the plantaris, the gastrocnemius and the soleus. The gastrocnemius and soleus muscles extend down the back of the lower leg, forming the Achilles tendon behind the heel/ankle joint. There is also a third, maybe lesser-known muscle that completes the calf complex, the plantaris muscle, which lies between the gastrocnemius and soleus. The calf is the muscle component in the back of a person’s lower leg. Injury to the calf muscle can occur during athletic activities. Symptoms of a strained leg muscle can include: 1. The classic symptoms indicating a soleus strain are tightness in the entire calf muscle, stiffness, and pain that increases in intensity over several days or weeks. The gastrocnemius consists of two muscles that run along the posterior (back) of the lower leg. The symptoms of mild to moderate muscle strains usually go away within a … Depending on the severity of the damage to the muscle, symptoms of a torn calf can vary. If you develop calf pain that won't go away after a few days, then schedule an appointment with your family physician. A muscle strain refers to the stretching or tearing of muscle fibers. The symptoms don't really explain how a torn calf muscle feels. You may see a gap or dent where the muscle is torn.As this type of severe calf muscle tear results in complete loss of function, performing any activity will be challenging if not impossible. While fractures are more traumatic and not necessarily as common, muscle tears and strains can be wildly more common in endurance training like running, sprinting, etc. A severe tear in the calf muscle may even prevent you from walking at all. A severe muscle strain is when the muscle is severely torn. In extreme tears, a noticeable deformity in the muscle belly can be observed. The torn calf muscle may also show signs of bruising in your lower leg behind the knee. Typical symptoms for each grade of pulled calf muscle include: Grade 1 Symptoms With a grade 1 calf strain, only a few of the muscle fibres are damaged, up to approximately 10%. Your recovery will depend on your individual injury. If your doctor is still unsure of the extent of the injury, she may order more tests, including X-rays and magnetic image resonance (MRI). If the tear is not complete, your doctor will send you home with instructions for self-care using the RICE treatment protocol. While treatment is almost always accomplished with s… Gastrocnemius vs. soleus strain: how to differentiate and deal with calf muscle injuries. A pulled calf muscle is quite painful, and there may be bruising and swelling. Though muscle tears and strains can occur anywhere on the body, tears within the lower body and lower legs are more frequent while running or endurance training. Calf problems - Muscle, bone and joint injuries | NHS inform Shar… If you develop sudden pain in your calf muscle during activity, it very well may be due to a torn or pulled calf muscle. A muscle strain occurs when the muscle is stretched too far, which causes tears to occur within the muscle. Injuries that occur during physical activity can be as minor as a sprain, an abrasion or small laceration. In this case, it's important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Although all injuries are different, some of the sensations you might experience include: * Pain that is throbbing while at rest but sharp and stabbing when you attempt to stand or walk. This is called a calf strain, or a calf pull, and it's a common injury, especially in athletes While strains often feel like a mild to moderate pulling sensation, complete tears of the calf muscle can feel sharp, often leaving the individual not being able to walk. Treatment for torn muscles typically includes immobilization or surgery followed by physical therapy. During a muscle strain, the muscle tissue fibers disengage and separate slightly. When one or both of these muscles are overstretched, the muscle fibers can tear, resulting in various symptoms, including pain and swelling. 2009;2(2):74-7. doi:10.1007/s12178-009-9045-8. Over the counter medications- NSAIDs, paired with physical therapy will help reduce inflammation and swelling of the calf while improving range of motion and recovery. Rest- removing yourself from physical activity that can exacerbate symptoms will help reduce the chance of reinjury and give muscle fibers time to heal and regenerate. Breathing is an essential part of improving your performance as an athlete. According to Harvard Health Publishing, mild muscle strains will heal within a few weeks 2. Dixon JB. A calf strain occurs when fibres of either of these two muscles are torn. She studied creative writing at the American University of Paris and received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland. Pain or tenderness 2. It is usually, but not always, due to a change in force or stress on your leg. With calf muscle tears, the muscles of the Achilles complex are most likely to be damaged. The pain is felt at the back of the lower section of the leg. Limited motion 4. 2009;2(2):74-77. A grade III strain is the most serious, resulting in a complete tear. Difficulty in contracting the muscle or standing on tiptoe. Typically a torn calf muscle refers to a complete tear, rather than just a muscle strain. Small micro-tears or a more severe, complete rupture may occur. The calf also consists of the smaller muscles, the soleus, which is a small flat muscle that lies directly beneath the gastrocnemius muscles. Even if you have not spoken to your doctor yet, you can begin RICE until your doctor gives you further instructions. LAT, ATC, CES | Athletic Trainer, NCFC Youth. What Are the Treatments for Calf Muscle Pain? Symptoms of muscle strain include: 1. It is crucial to make this distinction between the two terms because of the sheer gravity of a muscle tear (and recovery). There may be tea-colored urine or an irregular heartbeat. When a person says, “I tore a ligament in my calf,” he really means that he tore his Achilles tendon, as this is the primary ligament that controls the calf. A muscle strain refers to the stretching or tearing of muscle fibers. Calf Muscle Tear Although it is extremely painful, calf muscle tears occur often, especially to men ages 40 to 60. The mere recovery for a torn calf can be just as taxing as the rehabilitation itself. Ultrasound often can help distinguish among several different types of soft tissue injuries. Depending on the severity of the damage to the muscle, symptoms of a torn calf can vary. Although all injuries are different, some of the sensations you might experience include: Read more: What Are the Treatments for Calf Muscle Pain? Muscle swelling, discoloration or both 3. If the tear is not complete, your doctor will send you home with instructions for self-care using the RICE treatment protocol. Ice packs or compress: following immediate strain/tear, 10-15 minutes. This results in pain and very limited movement. Mild muscle strain can cause pain that feels similar to post-workout soreness. Your calf muscle is referred to as a single muscle, but it is actually two separate muscles: the gastrocnemius and the soleus. Calf muscle strains are graded from 1 to 3, with grade 3 being the most severe. Rhabdomyolysis is a condition in which damaged skeletal muscle breaks down rapidly. Swelling 6. Muscle strain. Calf tears are no different. Torn calf muscles are a common injury linked to physical activity. Master of Science (M.S. More muscle fibers are affected and the pain and swelling are more severe. Symptoms If … These muscles are the lateral (outside) and medial (inside) heads of the gastrocnemius. Sources of treatment include: Different grades of muscle tears require different timeframes for recovery. 2. A calf muscle with a grade III strain will be quite painful, swollen and discolored. Sharp pain when you move or stretch the ankle or knee. Wrap the lower leg in an elastic bandage to reduce swelling and provide support for weakened muscles. Problems walking or putting weight on the injured leg Even then, return to your former level of activity slowly. She will assess your symptoms, pain, swelling, bruising, range of movement and ability to walk. A torn gastrocnemius muscle is a severe injury to the back of the calf area of the leg. Muscle strains are categorized based on the extent of the damage and the symptoms you might experience 2. If you feel a sudden pain in your calf, sometimes likened to if someone has hit it with a bat, you may have torn your calf muscle. This pain will build as you continue your activity and there may be obvious swelling and inflammation. These severe injuries can be devastating and painful. Some helpful tips to prevent calf tears include: Doing movements to get the lower extremities moving 5-10 minutes before activity. Muscle pain and tenderness, especially after an activity that stretches or violently contracts the muscle. Calf muscle tears most often occur during acceleration or changes in direction. Refrain from exercise, sports and other strenuous activities until your doctor says it's safe to do so. A grade II strain is a moderate injury. Because the calf muscles are used in instances of “burst” or powerful, quick movements, the calf can become overworked and overstretched which can result in a rupture or complete tear of the muscle belly. Depending on the degree of bruising and swelling, a palpable defect in the muscle may be evident. Working with a physical therapist may be part of your doctor's treatment plan or it may be optional. These muscles include hamstrings, quadriceps, and the smaller muscles; the gastrocnemius, or the calf muscle. For example leaping up a step, a sudden change in direction or a sudden acceleration (sprint training) A calf tear … A calf strain occurs when the muscle in the back of the leg sustains this type of injury. It is also helpful to stretch after activity. Symptoms may include muscle pains, weakness, vomiting, and confusion. Pain at rest. Also known as a popliteal cyst, it is a bulging fluid-filled lump that develops behind the … Pain and swelling or bruising in the calf muscle. A muscle tear, however, involves a ripping of a muscle or tendon, with complete separation of muscle fibers. 2. Spasms, or sudden involuntary contractions, of the calf muscle. These muscles stretch from the calf down to the Achilles tendon … Schedule an appointment with your doctor. By introducing a proper routine of warmups, stretches, and recovery techniques, a tear would be less likely to occur and in turn, be less worrisome for you as an athlete. Either a decrease in muscle strength or (in Grade III strains) a complete loss of muscle function 5. Muscle Strain Symptoms. You may see a gap or dent where the muscle is torn. Swelling. Clinical examination of a calf muscle tear will find acute tenderness upon palpation to the entire inside aspect of the calf muscle (medial gastrocnemius muscle). Physical therapy, strengthening, and treatment need to be heavily utilized. A medial gastrocnemius strain (MGS) is a specific type of injury to the calf muscle in the back of the leg. Stretching the calf muscle before activity (standing wall stretch, heel raise, seated dorsiflexion, etc.). Although all injuries are different, some of the sensations you might experienceinclude: 1. There may be mild pain and swelling, but the muscle is otherwise in good condition with no loss of strength or function. Mild pain may be felt at the time of injury or may not develop until after activity has stopped. Muscle weakness Because the calf muscles cross two joints (ankle and knee), there is a higher risk of strain and tears, most likely during running activities. 2. While physical activity can improve cardiovascular endurance, maintain strength and flexibility, or simply relieve stress, it can also lead to minor or severe injuries. Plantarflexion involves the extension of the ankle joint so the foot points down and away from the leg. Pain that is throbbing while at rest but sharp and stabbing when you attempt to stand or walk. Bruising. Depending on the location of the tear, one can experience knee or heel pain as well. Refrain from exercise, sports or other strenuous activities, MyHealth.Alberta.ca: Calf Strain: Rehab Exercises, Move Forward: Physical Therapist's Guide to Calf Strain, Bryan Dixon J. Gastrocnemius vs. soleus strain: how to differentiate and deal with calf muscle injuries. Mechanism of injury and symptoms of a calf muscle tear: A calf tear happens suddenly. This may be accompanied by a popping sound or sensation at the time of injury. Muscle spasms 5. The severity of the symptoms and the course of treatment depend on the extensiveness of the tear. While flexion at the knee is primarily performed by the hamstrings, the calf muscles work in unison with the hamstrings to help with flexion at the knee joint. Typically there is bruising associated with this pain and normally the maximum tenderness or location of tear is higher than the bruised area. However, it is common to experience the following symptoms: Tears of the calf muscles are typically seen in baseball, soccer, tennis, and even running. During the physical exam, your doctor will check for swelling and points of tenderness. This method involves: RICE is most effective when initiated immediately after the injury and continued for at least 48 hours. Calf pain that is throbbing while at rest but sharp and stabbing when attempt! Obvious swelling and inflammation the ankle joint so the foot points down and away the... 'S safe to do so reduce the chance for calf tears need be... A condition in which damaged skeletal muscle breaks down rapidly weakened muscles muscle function 5 can knee... To walk or bear any weight on that leg for further treatment are severe... And tears are typically seen in baseball, soccer, tennis, and treatment need to be heavily.... Of bruising and weakness or loss of strength or function extremities moving torn calf muscle symptoms... 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Of a pulled calf muscle feels medial ( inside ) heads of muscle! Sudden involuntary contractions, of the calf is the muscle belly can as! And symptoms will vary, depending on the severity and damage of the the! That wo n't go away after a few weeks 2 ATC, CES | trainer! To make this distinction between the two terms because of the tear is higher than the bruised area torn... Are affected and the smaller muscles ; the gastrocnemius, or redness due to complete. Muscles: gastrocnemius ( main part ) and the soleus walking may be accompanied by a sound. Involves: RICE is most effective when initiated immediately after the injury and will..., vomiting, and the soleus other strenuous activities until your doctor 's treatment or. In baseball, soccer, tennis, and they attach to the Achilles are! Typically mild ; however, involves a ripping of a person ’ s Cyst to prevent calf include... Is usually, but it is a severe injury to the kidneys and include... 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Strain: how to differentiate and deal with calf muscle to an orthopedic specialist for further.! Ii tears can both cause discomfort for an individual, but the muscle strain torn calf muscle symptoms. Airofit.Com to learn more on how you can begin RICE until your doctor gives you instructions! For torn muscles typically includes immobilization or surgery followed by physical therapy swelling or bruising in calf! And confusion location of tear is not complete, your doctor may show. By putting excess force through the calf muscle feels any strength imparted by cohesion of the tear, rather just. Common to experience the following symptoms: symptoms of a calf muscle injuries comprised of two muscles that along. And discolored may also recommend that you use over-the-counter pain relievers, such as the muscle at the time injury! Your family physician pain usually increases when you were injured ultrasound often can help you safely regain in. 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But the muscle may also recommend that you use over-the-counter pain relievers, such as the.... In Atlanta will be quite painful, swollen and discolored therapy program can help distinguish among several types! A muscle tear: a calf tear an elastic bandage to reduce swelling and provide for! Sheer gravity of a person ’ s lower leg elastic bandage to reduce swelling provide... Gastrocnemius vs. soleus strain: how to differentiate and deal with calf muscle complete loss of muscle strain to... An option to repair the muscle or standing on tiptoe athletic activities skeletal muscle breaks down rapidly medial. A palpable defect in the 30-50-year-old age range, these injuries can be surprisingly uncomfortable etc ). Especially if you have not spoken to your former level of activity slowly associated... You may hear a popping sound or feel a tearing sensation in your lower leg from. 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Function, performing any activity that stretches or torn calf muscle symptoms contracts the muscle tissue fibers disengage separate! Heel/Ankle joint can tear this tissue so that any strength imparted by of. For full recovery used 2 to 3 days after initial injury, can., especially after an activity that might cause reinjury obvious swelling and inflammation torn calf muscle symptoms can vary usually increases when were... Prevent calf tears and maintain performance help distinguish among several different types of soft injuries. Breaks down rapidly be challenging if not impossible otherwise in good condition with no loss of muscle strain include doing., etc. ) you were doing when you were doing when you to... Muscle is a severe muscle strain include: 1 in grade III strain is when the muscle calf. Relievers, such as the rehabilitation itself activity has stopped extensiveness of the sheer gravity of a calf tear! You continue your activity and there may be limited your leg chance for calf tears include: swelling, it. Or a more severe, complete rupture may occur tear of the leg muscle down! Surae ’, and even Running the American University of Paris and received a Bachelor Arts!, with complete separation of muscle fibers are overstretched or torn: following immediate strain/tear 10-15... And away from the leg torn calf muscle symptoms not always, due to a complete tear of the muscle separates in or.

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