How To Rehab Calf Strain? (Solution)

Calf wall stretch (knees bent)

  1. Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at about eye level. Put your affected leg about a step behind your other leg.
  2. Keeping both heels on the floor, bend both knees.
  3. Hold the stretch for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times.


How long should you rest a strained calf muscle?

This a partial muscle tear and requires 3 to 6 weeks of rest and recovery before you can return to full activity. Third Degree (Severe). This injury results in complete tearing of the muscle–tendon unit. A third-degree muscle strain can take many weeks or months to fully heal.

How do you rehab a pulled calf muscle?

How are pulled calf muscles treated?

  1. Rest: Stop running or physical activity to avoid further damaging the calf.
  2. Ice: Apply an ice pack or cold compress for 20 minutes every two hours.
  3. Compression: Reduce swelling and fluid buildup by applying a compression bandage or wrap to the injured area.

What is the fastest way to heal a calf muscle?

How do you treat a calf muscle injury?

  1. Rest your injured leg.
  2. Put ice or a cold pack on the sore muscle for 10 to 20 minutes at a time to stop swelling.
  3. After 2 or 3 days, you can try alternating cold with heat.
  4. Wrap your lower leg with an elastic bandage (such as an Ace wrap) to help decrease swelling.

Should I stretch a strained calf muscle?

As healing gets underway, it is important you begin a series of exercises to gently stretch the calf muscle. This will help your knee and ankle joints to get back into their normal position. This helps to reduce the risk of further injury.

Can I exercise with a calf strain?

Exercises With a Calf Strain You can incorporate calf stretches such as a standing gastrocnemius stretch or a soleus muscle stretch into your rehab. Exercising on the elliptical with a calf strain is also an acceptable cardiovascular exercise you can do while healing.

Can I cycle with a calf strain?

Symptoms you have damaged your calf muscles If you injure your calf muscle it is important to stop cycling and not to put any weight on your leg. As soon as you can, rest and cool the area with an ice pack or cold water.

How do you tell if calf muscle is torn or pulled?

Symptoms of a torn calf muscle can include:

  1. No calf strength, including being unable to balance or bear weight on the injured leg.
  2. Snapping or popping sensation in your calf.
  3. Sudden pain in the back of your lower leg, like someone kicked your calf.
  4. Swelling and bruising in your calf muscle.

Should you massage a calf strain?

Massage can lengthen the entire posterior chain while increasing circulation around the strain through the whole leg. Rubbing the bottom of your foot over a tennis ball can also ease the pain felt in the calf.

What does a Grade 2 calf strain feel like?

Grade II: A second degree or moderate injury is a partial muscle tear halting activity. There is a clear loss of strength and range of motion. with marked pain, swelling and often bruising. Muscle fibre disruption between 10 and 50%.

Are Compression Socks good for calf strains?

Though compression socks and sleeves cannot cure your calf problem, they can help reduce and alleviate pain, as well as help prevent calf injuries. They also help you feel better as you heal. Blood Circulation – Both compression socks and sleeves are good for blood circulation, especially for runners.

How do you loosen tight calf muscles?

Stand near a wall with one foot in front of the other, front knee slightly bent. Also bend your back knee, keeping your heel on the ground, as you lean toward the wall. Feel the stretch in the lower part of your calf muscle. Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds.

How To Rehab Calf Strains : Treatment Considerations – [ ]

Do you get a calf strain after doing some physical activity? Perhaps you are experiencing discomfort behind your knee or in the muscular belly of your calf. No need to be concerned; we’re here to assist you in getting back on track by showing you how to rehab calf strains! We have three muscles in our calf that are located on the back of our lower legs and can become injured if they are subjected to an excessive amount of stress or if they are not properly strengthened. Runners, tennis players, and other athletes, as well as weekend warriors, are frequently affected by calf strains of varying degrees of severity.

Understanding The Calf Muscle Complex

The ‘calf muscle’ is actually a group of three muscles, the gastrocnemius, the soleus, and the plantaris, all of which work together. Every muscle in our lower leg travels down the back of our lower leg and connects with the Achilles tendon, which then attaches to our calcaneus (heel bone). The gastrocnemius muscle has two heads: a medial head and a lateral head, which is located superficial to the deeper soleus muscle. The gastrocnemius muscle is divided into two groups. In contrast to the soleus, the gastrocnemius is distinguished by the fact that it is a two-joint muscle, since it spans both the knee joint and the ankle joint.

Calf Muscle Anatomy

Adobe’s website The gastrocnemius muscle has been cut in this image to reveal the deeper soleus and plantaris muscles on the back of the lower leg, which are not visible otherwise.

What is A Calf Strain

You may wonder how to recover from calf strains. First and foremost, you must comprehend the nature of the injury! A strain is an injury to either a muscle or a tendon that results in partial or complete tearing of the muscle or tendon. This is distinct from an asprain, which is a partial or complete ripping of a ligament as a result of an injury to a ligament, such as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), for instance. Calf strains can develop in any of the three muscles that make up the calf complex, which were discussed above in further detail.

Because plantaris strains are extremely rare, we will only address gastrocnemius and soleus strains in this post for the sake of clarity.

Manage Calf Strains With Our Achilles Program

It is necessary to pay attention to both the calf complex and the Achilles tendon health in order to get optimal results. We have the AchillesRehab Program that is just right for you if you’re battling with calf tightness. More information may be found by clicking HERE.

Gastrocnemius Strains – The Power Generating Muscle

The writers of the literature titled Sports Injuries by Dreddie and David stated that the calf injury was originally reported in the year 1883 since it was connected with the sport of tennis, earning it the nickname “tennis leg.” This particular injury is in relation to the gastrocnemius muscle, with a common mechanism of injury consisting of knee extension (straight knee position) and ankle dorsiflexion as the primary causes of injury.

Because it crosses two joints, the gastrocnemius is particularly prone to stresses because of its location.

These sorts of muscles, which are fast-twitch and traverse several joints, are more prone to muscular strains than other types of muscles. The following are some of the most common indications and symptoms of a gastrocnemius strain:

  • You may not feel any pain right once, but as soon as you start moving, the discomfort will become noticeable and intense

Soleus Strains – The Endurance Muscle

Because of their ‘non-specific’ symptoms and slow start, soleus strains are a little more difficult to distinguish from one another. Additionally, this muscle is more directly linked to the Achilles tendon, and the clinical appearance of these two anatomical locations can often be confusingly similar to one another in terms of presentation. These musculotendinous injuries are more prevalent in distance runners than in any other type of runner. Our soleus muscle is actually loaded with 6-8 times our body weight when we are running!

According to research conducted byBalius and Capdevilla, the soleus muscle is composed of 96 percent type I muscle fibers, which are used specifically for endurance-based activities.

It can also manifest themselves in the old and middle-aged population, particularly if they are in poor physical shape.

  • Pain behind the lower leg closer to the Achilles tendon that is non-specific and gradually worsens with time
  • Resisted plantarflexion (pressing with the foot) when the knee is bent causes pain.
  • Pain that increases in intensity with activity and decreases with rest
  • It is possible that tightness and pain will begin and then grow more aggressive after a period of continuous exertion.

How to Rehab Calf Strains: Major Differences Between Gastrocnemius Versus Soleus Strains

The most crucial initial step in rehabilitating a calf strain is to determine which muscle has been injured, as treatment may change depending on which muscle has been affected. Once this has been determined, it is also useful to determine the degree of the damage suffered. The majority of calf strains are classified as levels I through III, with level I being a minor strain and level III representing full ripping of the muscle. The majority of calf strains may be treated conservatively, however certain grade III injuries may necessitate surgical intervention to alleviate the pain.

To determine whether or not a complete tear has occurred, a sports medicine specialist or orthopedic surgeon may use guided ultrasonography or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to aid in the accurate diagnosis.

Rehab Your Calf With Our Program!

It is the AchillesRehab Program that is the most comprehensive resource available for those wishing to strengthen, protect, and optimize their Achilles tendon performance. This program is intended for physically active persons who wish to increase their overall performance but who may be suffering from an Achilles’ weak link. With this three-phase program, you will strengthen your Achilles tendon so that it can withstand everything life throws at you! More information may be found HERE.

How Is This Different Than an Achilles Injury?

Because of their close relationship with one another, an Achilles tendon injury and a calf strain can sometimes be mistaken for one another. Achilles tendinopathy begins in a similar way as asoleus strain, but it is a more chronic, overuse-related condition. The discomfort will be lower than the site of the soleus muscle at the Achilles tendon, and it can be either mid-substance (in the middle of the tendon) or at the location of the insertion point at the heel, depending on the location of the pain (calcaneus).

An Achilles tendon tear is characterized by a common subjective description of someone feeling as if they have been kicked in the back of their leg, which is also described in the absence of an Achilles tendon rupture.

Listen to the Rehabilitation Audio Experience Podcast below to discover more about Achilles tendon discomfort and how to treat it.


The main concepts of treating calf strains are the same as those for treating other soft tissue injuries, and they include the following:

  • The first time of relative rest following the use of the POLICE principle
  • The POLICE principle is based on the straightforward principles of not only yearly protection of the injured site, but also early loading to aid in tissue healing.
  • Early loading of the muscle(s) involved in the progressions from is recommended.
  • To isometrics (static contractions)
  • To isotonics (full motions)
  • To isometrics (static contractions)
  • In addition, eccentric exercise (muscle lengthening against gravity) as well as other heavy, slow loading techniques are emphasized in the final phases of the program.
  • During the final phase, participants can return to their previous activities with graduated exposure according to their particular needs.

Aside from manual therapy techniques performed by a physical therapist or another healthcare provider, other aspects of care that may be beneficial in reducing symptoms include dry needling, foam rolling, instrument-assisted soft tissue massage (IASTM), and other manual therapy techniques. Because these previously mentioned interventions lack high-quality evidence to support their effectiveness, they may still be beneficial in certain case-specific circumstances. Take a look at the next section for an example of another typical soft tissue injury and how it is treated: hip flexor strain treatment!


Following that, we’ll have a look at an example of progressive workouts following a calf strain! We’ll start with the fundamentals of isometrics and isotonics in this section.

Ankle Plantarflexion Isometrics – In Neutral

Video Demonstration of an AchillesRehab Program Exercise Isometric exercises are an excellent place to begin after sustaining a soft tissue injury. isometrics are static contractions of a muscle that can help to increase early facilitation, blood flow, and have an analgesic impact, which can help to reduce some of the pain that an individual is experiencing.

  • HOW: While sitting in a comfortable posture with your feet out in front of you, wrap a resistance band around the balls of your feet. Maintain a neutral stance for your foot, with the toes pointed straight up and your ankle at a 90-degree right angle to the ground. This is the starting point for your journey. Allow your ankle to move while you slowly pull on the resistance band to enhance the difficulty of the exercise The more you tug on the band, the more difficult it will be to keep your ankle in the proper position.
  • THE FEELING: You should be able to feel the muscles in your calf that are behind your lower leg contracting
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Isometric Ankle Plantarflexion – Hand Resistance

FEEL: You should be able to feel the muscles in your calf behind your lower leg contracting; this is normal.

Calf Foam Rolling

Early in the recovery process, foam rolling of the calf complex can be effective in increasing blood flow and mobilizing the tissue that has been irritated by the injury, both of which are advantageous. Consider your surroundings and do not push yourself into substantial symptoms of pain; nonetheless, some slight discomfort that is bearable can be expected in the early stages of this procedure while using this approach.

Improve Ankle Dorsiflexion Mobility

In the acute phase of a calf strain, it is not necessary to aggressively stretch the muscle; however, it is critical to regain ankle dorsiflexion range of motion when the timing is right, as limited ankle dorsiflexion is a modifiable risk factor for other injuries such as an ankle sprain or Achilles tendinopathy. Begin working your way into this range of motion as soon as your body is willing to accept it, and you’ll notice results week after week! You may try out some of these exercises after watching this fantastic video!

Heel Raise Isometrics

Video Demonstration of an AchillesRehab Program Exercise As seen in the illustration below, heel rises with the knee extended will activate the gastrocnemius, but heel raises with the knee bent will isolate the soleus.

Heel Raise Isometrics – Knee Bent

We’re isolating the soleus muscle right here!

How To Rehab Calf Strains: Middle and Later Phase Exercises

Are you ready to take on some more challenging exercises? Take a look at them!

Single Leg Heel Raise

Video Demonstration of an AchillesRehab Program Exercise After isometrics and double leg exercises, the next phase is isotonics, which involves going through the entire action of muscle shortening (concentric) and extending (eccentric), as well as single limb activities!

Single Leg Heel Raise – Wall Squat

Video Demonstration of an AchillesRehab Program Exercise For calf strain rehab to be effective, plyometric-based movements must be introduced.

This is especially true ofthegastrocnemius, which contains an abundance of type II muscle fibers, which are utilized in powerful movements such as jumping and sprinting! More information on plyometric exercise progressions can be found HERE.

Single Leg Pogos – Frontal

Calf strains have a favorable prognosis, with the majority of patients making a full recovery! Generally speaking, recovery timeframes for strains can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the injury and the extent of the injury. The first step after suffering this injury is to ensure that you receive a proper diagnosis. Because the calf muscle is actually “three muscles in one,” you must determine which of these muscles has been injured in order to treat it properly.

If you’re seeking for a program that will teach you how to rehab calf strains right away, go no further than our calf rehab program.


  1. Stone, D. A., and Fu, F. H. Sports injuries: Mechanisms, prevention, and treatment (2001). New York: Springer-Verlag. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  2. Ricardo Balius (R.), Guillermo Rodas (G.), Carmelo Pedret (C.), Luciano Capdevila (L.), Xavier Alomar (X.), and David A. Bong (D. A. Bong) (2014). Solus muscle damage and the sensitivity of ultrasound patterns, Skeletal Radiology, 43 (6), 805-812 (2001). doi:10.1007/s00256-014-1856-z
  3. J. Bryan Dixon, J. Dixon, J. (2009). Calf muscle strains (Gastrocnemius vs Soleus strains): how to differentiate and treat them. Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine, 2 (2), 74-77. doi:10.1007/s12178-009-9045-8

About The Author

Temple University awarded Sherif a Bachelor of Science Degree with a concentration in Kinesiology after he completed his undergraduate studies there. Later, he earned his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from DeSales University, where he obtained accolades such as the professional excellence award and the research excellence award for his work in the field. Following completion of his graduate education, he worked as the Chief Resident of the St. Luke’s Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency Program for two years.

When it comes to studying how mobility impairments effect function, Sherif is particularly interested in supporting lifestyle modifications in order to avoid recurrences of injury.

He has also been involved in the development of young soccer players’ athleticism and performance.

Disclaimer – The content here is designed for informationeducation purposes only and is not intended for medical advice.

An overstretched calf muscle, also known as a calf muscle strain, arises when the muscles in your calf (the soleus and gastrocnemius) get overextended during physical activity. The calf muscles are located in your lower leg behind your shin bone and reach from the base of your thigh all the way down to the bottom of your foot. They aid in the flexion and extension of your foot, ankle, and knee. A calf strain can create discomfort and make it difficult to do activities such as running, leaping, and other sports.

A damaged calf muscle may necessitate surgical intervention.

Is a strain the same as a sprain?

A calf strain is not the same as a sprain. Strains are muscular or tendon injuries that occur (tissues that attach muscles to bones). Sprains are injuries to the ligaments of the body (tissue that connects bones or cartilages or holds a joint together).

Who gets pulled calf muscles?

A strained calf muscle may happen to anybody at any time. These strains, on the other hand, are more prevalent in athletes that engage in a lot of stop-and-go motions, as well as short bursts of speed.

Pulling calf muscles is a common injury among sprinters, football players, soccer players, and tennis players, among others. The injury is referred to as “tennis leg” in some circles. There are also more risk factors for torn calf muscles, including:

  • People over the age of 40 may be more susceptible to strains when participating in physical activities. Men are more prone than women to get calf muscle injuries, according to some research. It’s necessary to warm up and stretch before physical exercise, as well as prepare your muscles before the start of a sports season
  • Lack of fitness Calf muscle quality: People who have tight or short calf muscles are more likely to suffer calf strains.

How common are pulled calf muscles?

In one study, it was estimated that calf strains account for approximately 1.3 percent of all lower limb injuries in runners. Gastrocnemius strains were found to account for 12 percent of all muscle injuries in a study of soccer players, according to the same study. More commonly, gastrocnemius strains (those that occur near the middle of the calf) occur than soleus strains (the lower calf, closer to the heel).

Symptoms and Causes

Calf muscle strains are most commonly caused by someone suddenly moving or overextending their calf after being still for an extended period of time. Strains can be caused by sudden pivots, leaps, or abrupt pauses. This type of injury occurs most frequently when your toes are thrust upward (toward your torso) and your ankle pulls your calf muscles down too rapidly.

What are the symptoms of a pulled calf muscle?

A strained calf muscle might result in the following symptoms:

  • Standing on your toes or tensing your calf muscles can be difficult. When bending your ankle or pointing your toes, you may have muscle soreness. You’re having trouble bending your knee
  • The sensation of snapping or popping in your calf
  • Pain in the back of your lower leg that comes on suddenly
  • Your calf muscle is swollen. Bruising on the inside of your calf muscle

The majority of people who suffer a pulled calf muscle report being unable to return to their previous level of activity immediately following the injury.

Diagnosis and Tests

Your healthcare professional will do a physical examination and discuss your symptoms with you. It’s critical to describe in detail how you sustained your injury and how your calf felt immediately following the accident in your report. It is possible that this information will assist your healthcare physician in making a diagnosis. It is possible that you may require imaging tests to identify whether you have any partial or total rips in your calf muscles. Aside from that, these tests can rule out other illnesses that might cause lower leg discomfort, such as Achilles tendon ruptures or deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Your healthcare professional may do one or more of the following procedures:

  • To check for rips or fluid accumulation around the calf muscles, an ultrasound is used. To look for blood clots, a rip, or internal bleeding, an MRI is performed.

Management and Treatment

The acronym RICE, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, is commonly used to describe immediate therapy for torn calf muscles.

  • Rest: Stop running or engaging in other physical activity to avoid further injury to the calf. Apply an ice pack or cold compress for 20 minutes every two hours for a total of four hours. Do not directly apply ice to your skin
  • Instead, use a cooling pad. Compression: Applying a compression bandage or wrap to the wounded region might help to reduce edema and fluid accumulation. Lie down with your leg elevated, ideally above the level of your heart. Pillows, blankets, or cushions should be used to support the whole length of your leg.

Even if you may conduct RICE at home, it’s always a good idea to double-check with your healthcare professional to see if there are any additional instructions. Avoid:

  • Heating the wounded region
  • Applying pressure to the affected area consuming alcoholic beverages
  • Massage the calf muscle
  • Walking or engaging in some form of physical activity

Your healthcare practitioner may offer further therapies after diagnosing your injury, including but not limited to:

  • Medications for the relief of pain
  • Keep your lower leg from moving by wearing a soft cast or boot.

Will I need surgery for a pulled calf muscle?

The majority of complete calf muscle injuries necessitate surgical intervention. A surgeon creates an incision in the calf of your leg and uses stitches to rejoin the two ends of your muscle together. This treatment necessitates the use of general anesthesia, and you may be required to remain in the hospital for a few days. Following surgery, you may be required to wear a cast in plantarflexion for three weeks, followed by a gentle dorsiflexion stretch cast for another three weeks after that.

You will be advised by your healthcare provider when you can resume light physical activity after the cast has been removed from your body.


You may lower your chances of getting a strained calf muscle by doing the following:

  • Maintaining the strength and conditioning of your calf muscles
  • Regular stretching
  • Refraining from pushing past pain
  • Resting and recharging your batteries in between workouts
  • When participating in sports, it is important to use good technique. Preparing your calf muscles for physical exercise by warming them up and stretching them
  • Wearing footwear that is both supportive and well-fitting

Outlook / Prognosis

The majority of people recover completely from pulled calf muscles with no long-term consequences. Inquire with your healthcare professional about when you will be able to gradually resume light activities. Depending on the severity of your injury, it could take several weeks before you are able to return to your previous level of participation. Recovery from surgery can take anywhere from three to six months. Physical therapy will most likely be required during your recovery to help you restore strength and movement in your leg.

Allowing your injury to fully heal before returning to your usual activities will lower your chance of re-injury and help you recover faster.

Living With

If you have any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor:

  • Is it difficult for you to walk or bear weight on your leg? You are not able to bend or flex your ankle or knee
  • Have you been experiencing severe calf pain? If you see swelling in your lower leg, foot, or ankle, consult your doctor.

An announcement from the Cleveland Clinic A strained calf muscle occurs when the muscles at the rear of your lower leg are overstretched, as in running. It’s a common injury among athletes who perform a lot of stop-and-go movements, but it can also occur in older, physically active individuals. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation are all effective treatments for calf strains. Calf muscle rips are extremely uncommon and necessitate surgical intervention.


calf strain is an injury to the muscles at the back of your leg, below the knee, that causes pain and discomfort. The calf is made up of nine different muscles. At the same moment, it is possible to hurt one or more of the muscles listed above. Calf strains can develop when a person engages in high-intensity movements such as sprinting or leaping. They can also occur as a result of a clumsy movement. Calf strains are a well-known condition among sports, particularly runners, soccer and basketball players, gymnasts, and dancers, among others.

Patients with calf strains are treated by physical therapists, who work to alleviate discomfort, restore muscular strength and flexibility, and speed up the recovery process.

They improve the quality of life of their patients via hands-on treatment, patient education, and prescribed physical activity.

Find a PT is a website that can help you locate a physical therapist in your region.

What Is a Calf Strain?

It is made up of nine different muscles that make up the calf. Among the biggest and most active muscles in the region are the gastrocnemius and soleus. They collaborate with the plantaris muscles, which connect to the heel bone and perform the same function. The other six calf muscles are involved in the promotion of knee, toe, and foot motions. A calf strain is caused by overstretching or injuring any of the nine muscles of the calf. It is quite common. It might happen all at once or build progressively over a period of time.

Calves that have been injured might make it difficult or impossible to do everyday activities such as walking or climbing stairs. The severity of a muscle strain is determined by the amount of muscular damage that has occurred. The grades are as follows:

  • A mild or partial stretching or tearing of a few muscle fibers in the first grade The muscle is sore and uncomfortable, but it retains its typical strength and function as well. Walking is not restricted in any way, and leg usage is not restricted. a significant strain or ripping of more muscle fibers in the second grade Muscle tenderness and pain are present in the affected area. There is a reduction in physical strength. Bruising may occur from time to time. There is little use of the legs, and limping when walking is prevalent. A significant tear of the muscle fibers is classified as Grade 3. This can entail a total tear of the muscle. The bruising is clearly obvious. An apparent “dent” is sometimes visible beneath the skin where the muscle has been ripped. The use of one’s legs is quite difficult. Putting weight on the limb causes excruciating discomfort

Bruising can occur as a result of a stretched or torn muscle, which is caused by bleeding. If you suffer from a significant calf strain, you may get bruising that spreads around your ankle or foot. Swelling might begin within a few hours of the occurrence of the injury. The injured area will swell and become stiff as a result of the injury.

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How Does It Feel?

You may experience the following symptoms if you have a calf strain:

  • A sharp discomfort in the lower leg’s back was experienced. Pain might subside immediately or continue for a long period of time. While at repose, you feel a throbbing pain, with strong stabs of agony when you try to rise up or walk
  • Calf tightness, soreness, or weakness
  • Spasms (a gripping sensation or severe tightening in the calf muscle)
  • Calf cramps The ankle or knee should be moved or stretched to relieve the sharp discomfort in the lower back leg. When the damage occurs, there is a tugging sensation. When the damage occurs, there is a “snapping” or “popping” sound.

Signs and Symptoms

When you have a calf strain, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Swelling in the location where the strain has occurred
  • Bruising in the afflicted area(s)
  • Swelling in the affected area(s)
  • When walking, climbing stairs, or standing, you may have calf weakness. When you walk, you have a limp
  • You are unable to carry out regular chores that need standing and walking
  • Run, jump, or put any weight on the injured limb are all out of the question.

How Is It Diagnosed?

In the case of physical therapy, they will conduct a comprehensive initial examination before making any further recommendations. This will include gathering information about your medical history. A calf strain might occur as a result of a single incident. A calf strain, on the other hand, is frequently caused by repetitive activity. To diagnose the particular cause of your calf strain, your physical therapist will gather information regarding your condition. The interview will be tailored to your needs and may contain questions such as the following:

  • Has there been an injury? So, how have you been dealing with your calf strain thus far? Are there any imaging or other tests that have been ordered by other health care practitioners? What are your current symptoms, and how do they interfere with your daily activities? If you are experiencing discomfort, where is it located and how intense is it? Is your pain different throughout the day? Do you have any activities that you find difficult to complete? How many activities have you been unable to complete as a result of your injury

Following the interview, your physical therapist will do a physical examination on your behalf. They may do any of the following:

  • Keep track of your motions (walking, stair climbing, etc.)
  • Notify your doctor if you notice any moves that make your symptoms worse or better. Mobility (movement) and strength of your calf and other body parts should be tested. Using gentle and skilled pressure, assess the wounded region to discover where the most discomfort exists.

You will have an opportunity to discuss the findings with your physical therapist following the interview and physical examination. They will collaborate with you to build a customized treatment program that will help you begin your recovery process. Depending on the circumstances, your physical therapist may collaborate with an orthopedist or another medical specialist in order to provide an appropriate diagnosis. In order to confirm the diagnosis and rule out any other potential harm, they may conduct further testing.

How Can a Physical Therapist Help?

In the field of physical therapy, they are movement professionals who treat patients to improve their overall quality of life. Exercise, hands-on care, and patient education are all possible components of treatment regimens. You will be provided with a focused therapy regimen by your physical therapist in order to expedite your recovery. This program will be developed in accordance with your evaluation and your objectives for a safe return to sport or daily activities after an injury.

The First 24 to 48 Hours

Your physical therapist may recommend that you do one of the following:

  • Advise you to relax and refrain from engaging in any activity that gives you pain
  • And Provide you with crutches or a brace and instruct you on how to utilize them
  • Make use of ice packs on the affected region and show you how to use them at home. Wrap the affected region with an elastic bandage to keep it compressed. In both of your shoes, place heel lift pads on the bottoms. To get further services, such as diagnostic testing, consult with another health-care professional.

Treatment Plan

Working together, your physical therapist will build a treatment plan that will help you reach your individual goals. Your strategy may comprise the following elements: Patient education is important. Your physical therapist will collaborate with you to identify and correct any external factors that are contributing to your discomfort. It is possible that you will be asked about the types and amounts of workouts you do, your sporting activities, or your footwear. Your physical therapist will make recommendations for changes to your daily routine and develop a personalized exercise program to assist you in returning to your desired level of activity without experiencing pain.

  • Your physical therapist will devise a treatment plan to alleviate your discomfort, which may include the application of ice to the painful area.
  • Your physical therapist may advise you to reduce the amount of time you spend doing certain activities that give you discomfort.
  • Exercising your range of motion.
  • Depending on your condition, your physical therapist may recommend range-of-motion (movement) exercises to help you regain normal motion in your calf muscles.
  • Your physical therapist may use “hands-on” treatments to gently manipulate the muscles and joints in and around your joints.
  • They frequently deal with issues that are tough to deal with on your own.
  • Muscle imbalances or deficiencies might play a role in the development of calf muscle tension.
  • In accordance with your condition, your physical therapist will develop a safe muscle strengthening program that is tailored to your needs.
  • In accordance with your age and physical condition, your physical therapist will recommend activities that are appropriate for you.
  • Following the improvement of your pain, strength, and range of motion, you will need to safely transition back into more physically demanding activities.

Following the recommendations of your physical therapist will also reduce your chances of suffering another injury. Using information about your specific condition, your physical therapist will design a sequence of activities that will teach you how to move effectively and securely.

If Surgery Is Necessary

A calf strain is a rare injury that necessitates surgical intervention. If your calf requires surgical repair, your physical therapist will work with you to reduce the amount of discomfort you experience. They’ll assist you in regaining mobility and strength following surgery in order to return to routine activities as securely as promptly as possible after your procedure.

Can This Injury or Condition Be Prevented?

You can avoid a calf strain by following these guidelines:

  • Increase the intensity of any activity or sport gradually, rather than all at once. Avoid pushing yourself too hard, too fast, or too soon
  • Instead, relax and enjoy yourself. Always warm up before participating in a sport or engaging in a physically demanding activity. Consistent strength and flexibility/stretching training should be part of your routine. This will assist you in maintaining strong physical conditioning even during the off-season of a sport. Individualized exercise regimens that increase strength, enhance mobility, and reduce the chance of injury are designed by physical therapists who are specialists in this field. Shoe care: Make sure your shoes are in good condition and that they fit properly.

What Kind of Physical Therapist Do I Need?

Calf strains are treated by all physical therapists who have received the necessary training and experience. However, you might want to think about the following:

  • In this case, you should see a physical therapist who has experience treating individuals with calf strains. a physical therapist that specializes in orthopedics or sports rehabilitation in their clinical practice
  • A physical therapist who is a board-certified clinical specialist in sports physical therapy or who has completed a residency or fellowship in sports physical therapy is qualified. There are advanced knowledge, expertise, and abilities available to this physical therapist that may be applicable to your situation.

If you are looking for physical therapists with these and other certifications, you may locate them by usingFind a PT, an online resource supplied by the American Physical Therapy Association. You can look for physical therapists in your region who have specialized clinical knowledge in a certain area. When looking for a physical therapist (or any other type of health care practitioner), the following general guidelines should be followed:

  • Consult with family, friends, or other health-care professionals for advice. Whenever you call a physical therapy facility to schedule an appointment, inquire about the physical therapists’ previous expertise in treating clients who suffer from calf strains. Provide as much detail as possible about your symptoms and explain what is making them worse if you are called in for an evaluation.

Is this content helpful?

Thank you very much. Your feedback has been forwarded to the appropriate party. Customers, according to the American Physical Therapy Association, should have access to information that will assist them in making health-care decisions and preparing them for their appointment with a health-care practitioner. The articles that follow present some of the most up-to-date scientific research on the subject of physical therapy treatment of calf strain. The articles present the results of recent research and provide an overview of the standards of practice in the United States as well as other parts of the world.

  • Injuries to the calf muscle in sports: a systematic review of risk factors for injury, Green and Pizzari published a paper in which they discuss calf muscle strain injuries in sports.
  • British Journal of Sports Medicine.
  • Fields KB, Rigby MD.
  • 2016;15(5):320–324.
  • Summary of the article on PubMed.
  • Campbell, JT.
  • Summary of the article in PubMed.* A free online resource developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, PubMed is available to anyone who has an Internet connection (NCBI).
  • Details Examined by an expert on November 02, 2019; updated on November 02, 2019.
  • Symptoms Conditions Strain in the calf In the name of the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy (AOPTA), Andrea Avruskin PT, DPT, expert reviewer(s) Alexander Yiu-Ming ChanPh.D., DPT, and Stephen F.

ReischlPT, DPT, board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedic physical therapy, contributed to this article on behalf of the AOPTA.

Pulled Calf Muscle: Symptoms, Treatments, and Recovery

We feature goods that we believe will be of interest to our readers. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the links on this page, we may receive a small commission. Here’s how we went about it. A calf muscle has been pulled. A pulled calf muscle is a term that refers to strains that occur in the two muscles in the lower back of your leg that form your calf. These muscles are referred to as the gastrocnemius and soleusmuscles. An injury to the muscles results in some degree of muscle fiber damage.

Runners and sportsmen are particularly prone to this type of injury, which happens often.

An injured calf muscle can manifest itself in a variety of ways depending on how severe the injury is.

While it is possible to walk with a minor strain, doing so may be painful.

  • Swelling of the ankles
  • Redness
  • Bruising
  • Standing on the ball of your foot is impossible

A severe pull in your calf muscles can cause you to experience sharp pain in your calves. It can also impair your mobility, preventing you from being able to walk. A symptom check is used to determine whether a calf muscle has been pulled. In addition, your doctor will search for symptoms of infection such as swelling and bruising. They might even ask you to do some light stretches while they examine your calf muscle to see if it’s been pulled in any way. A modest calf muscle strain may resolve within a few days if it is not severe.

  • Compresses made of ice or cold are recommended. Wrap these in a nice towel and apply them on your calf for ten minutes to relieve the pain. If you still have swelling after three days, you can repeat the procedure every hour or two for the next three days. Heat pads are a type of heating pad. Be careful not to fall asleep with the heating pad on your leg. Make sure the temperature is set at a low setting. It is best not to use a heating pad straight soon since the heat may cause your calf to swell even worse. Leg wraps are a great way to keep your legs warm. These can also aid in the reduction of edema and the improvement of movement. Raise your leg above the level of your heart. This will help to reduce edema. Rest for at least a full day after your workout. Only until your calf has been entirely relieved of discomfort and edema can you resume your routine activities and exercises. Take pain relievers that are available over-the-counter. For pain relief, you can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen as directed by your doctor unless otherwise specified. Ibuprofen is also a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) that helps to relieve swelling.

Unless your symptoms improve within a few days, you may have a more serious calf injury that needs to be treated. More severe cases may necessitate surgical intervention or physical therapy. Stronger pain medications may also be prescribed by your doctor; however, these should only be used for a short period of time and should not be taken more frequently than prescribed. It might take anywhere from one to three days for a torn calf muscle to begin to feel better in its entirety. However, according to Oxford University Hospitals, a full recovery could take up to six weeks to complete.

  • Walking on recovering calf muscles can also lengthen the time it takes to recover.
  • It is critical for your total recovery that you receive treatment as soon as possible.
  • Additionally, there is a risk of recurrent calf muscle strain within one to two weeks of the initial injury occurring.
  • Athletes who continue to compete in the same sports and people who use the same muscles over and over again have a higher chance of developing cancer.
  • Additionally, a herniated muscle can develop as a result of a torn calf muscle in some cases as well.
  • Despite the fact that it is not painful, this lump must be treated by a doctor in order to prevent additional muscle harm.

Stretching not only aids in the recuperation of your injured muscles, but it may also aid in the preservation of the stability and mobility of your knee and ankle joints. Inquire with your doctor about the following exercises that you may perform at home to aid with your calf muscle rehabilitation:

  • Chair stretches are very beneficial. Bend and straighten the knee of your problematic leg for 10 repetitions at a time while sitting in a sturdy chair
  • Wall stretches Position yourself facing a wall and extend your arms so that your hands are firmly against the wall at shoulder level. Straighten your affected leg, keeping your heel firmly pressed into the ground as you do so. Step your second leg forward until it forms a 90-degree angle with your other leg. Hold this posture for 30 seconds at a time for a total of 4 repetitions. Then, during the day, repeat the technique as many times as you feel comfortable. Stretching on the floor Sit on the floor with your afflicted leg extended straight out in front of you. Your foot should be flexed and your heel should be firmly planted on the ground. Lie down on your back and gently press your toes towards you for 5 seconds
  • Repeat the stretch up to 10 times
  • Standing stretches Take a firm hold of the back of a sturdy chair and lift yourself up onto the balls of your feet for 5 seconds. Repeat four times every session, up to a maximum of thrice per day
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Following a calf muscle strain, you are at a significantly increased risk of experiencing another strain of the same type in the near future. Muscle strains and pulled calf muscles can be avoided by doing the following:

  • Stretching your legs before exercising
  • Warming up for at least five minutes before exercising, including deep stretches
  • Cooling down for five minutes after exercising
  • Stretching your muscles again for five minutes after you’ve cooled down

You may also avoid torn calf muscles by refraining from participating in rigorous activities that you are not physically prepared for. It’s critical to progressively increase the intensity of your workouts as you progress. In certain cases, a doctor, personal trainer, or physical therapist might make advice about how to take your exercises to the next level when the time is right for you. A strained calf muscle is a frequent injury that, unless there are complications, may be treated at home with little difficulty.

Calf strains: Symptoms and Management : Orthopedic Center for Sports Medicine: Sports Medicine Physicians

What is a calf strain, and how does it manifest itself? A strained muscle or tendon is one that has been partially or completely torn by an injury to the muscle or tendon. A calf injury is most commonly sustained while participating in sports that require you to push off with your foot fast in order to achieve a sudden burst of speed. If you make a rapid action, your muscles may be stretched beyond their typical limitations. This might happen all at once or over a period of time. An injury to the calf muscle can occur in a variety of sports.

  1. Calf strains are a frequent type of muscular injury that, if not treated properly, can result in re-injury and a lengthy healing period.
  2. The gastrocnemius, the soleus, and the plantaris are the three muscles that make up the plantaris.
  3. Additionally, it aids in the provision of flexion at the knee joint.
  4. Muscle of the soleus: Its primary role is to stabilize the tibia against the calcaneus, thereby reducing forward sway, while also assisting the gastrocnemius in plantar flexion.
  5. Each of these muscles attaches to the calcaneus through the achilles tendon, which is formed by joining all three muscles.
  6. Depending on which muscle has been strained, patients may experience discomfort:
  • Gastrocnemius strain: This condition is characterized by a sudden intense pain or tearing feeling at the back of the lower thigh. There is frequently a loud or palpable “pop” in the medial portion of the posterior calf, along with discomfort to the touch at the site of the injury in most patients. Within hours or days following the accident, swelling and bruising may emerge on the skin. In the course of the evaluation, pain will be reproduced by extending the muscle and resisting plantarflexion. When compared to injuries to the gastrocnemius, soleus strains tend to be less severe in their clinical presentation and more subacute in their recovery. When the calf muscle is activated, this damage generates discomfort. Stretching the Achilles tendon, walking on tip-toe, or applying pressure to the calf muscle, according to the inspection, aggravates the discomfort. Plantaris strain: Injuries to the plantaris muscle might show with clinical signs and symptoms that are similar to those seen in injuries to the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. Affected individuals may be able to continue exercising despite experiencing discomfort and/or tightness during and after the exercise, depending on the severity of the injury.

Stiffness, discoloration, and bruising around the strained muscle are all common symptoms of muscle strains in general.

grading of muscle strains: Muscle strains are classified into three categories: I, II, and III, with III being the most severe.

  • Grade I: A partial strain or ripping of a few muscle fibers is experienced. The muscle is somewhat uncomfortable and unpleasant, yet it retains its typical strength and flexibility despite this. Walking is not restricted in any way, and the use of the legs is normal. 10 – 12 days is the average amount of time required to return to sports activity
  • Grade II: Moderate stretching or ripping of muscle fibers. The muscle is tender and painful, and there is a loss of strength in it. Bruising may occur from time to time. Leg movement is restricted, and limping is prevalent when walking. 16 to 21 days is the average amount of time it takes to return to sporting activity. Grade III: The muscular fibers have been severely torn. This can entail a total tear of the muscle. Bruising and swelling begin to appear within hours of the accident. An apparent “dent” is sometimes visible beneath the skin where the muscle has been ripped. Inability to utilize the legs is exceedingly frustrating, and placing weight on the limb is extremely painful. A positive Thomson’s test may reveal an Achilles tendon rupture when the patient is examined. If the injury necessitates surgery, the average period required to return to sporting activities is up to 6 months.

In the doctor’s office, you’ll find: Pulling the calf muscle can be diagnosed by performing a physical examination during which they will look for swelling, bruising, and redness on the affected leg. They may also inquire as to whether or not the individual has made any recent modifications to their normal physical exercise schedule. In order to establish the degree of injury, many clinicians employ ultrasound imaging, while X-rays are used to check for fractures or calcifications. They may also employ imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to collect soft tissue information and determine the degree of the damage.

The severity of the muscle strain determines the course of treatment.

  • Ice and heat therapy: During the first two days after an injury, people can use a cold compress to reduce inflammation and relieve muscle pain. After 2 or 3 days, you can experiment with alternately applying cold and heat. The use of a heating pad should not be done before going to bed.
  • Compression socks and elastic bandages: Wrapping the wounded calf in an elastic bandage or compression sock might assist to reduce swelling and irritation. The injured leg should be elevated above the level of your heart as much as you possibly can. This will aid in the reduction of swelling. Ibuprofen and naproxen are two over-the-counter (OTC) medications that people can use to alleviate pain and decrease inflammation
  • However, both medications are not recommended for long-term use. Physical therapy and exercise: Some people respond well to specific exercises while others do not. Improvements in strength, function, and stability are the primary goals of physical therapy. Surgery: The majority of calf strains do not necessitate surgical intervention and recover quickly with physical therapy.

Physical Therapy Exercises: Physical therapists treat people who have calf strains by reducing pain, restoring muscle strength, restoring muscle flexibility, and speeding up the recovery process as much as possible. The following are examples of workouts that are intended to strengthen certain muscles:

  • Flex the knee of your affected leg while you’re sitting in a stable chair
  • This is known as chair stretching. Stretching against a wall: Stand facing a wall and extend your arms so that your hands are firmly against the wall at shoulder level. Straighten your affected leg, keeping your heel firmly pressed into the ground as you do so. Step your second leg forward until it forms a 90-degree angle with your other leg. Then, during the day, repeat the technique as many times as you feel comfortable. Stretching on the floor: Sit on the floor with your affected leg extended straight. Your foot should be flexed and your heel should be firmly planted on the ground. Stretching while standing: Gently push your toes towards you for 5 seconds
  • This is an example of standing stretches. Take a firm hold of the back of a sturdy chair and lift yourself up onto the balls of your feet for 5 seconds. The patient can repeat this exercise as many times as necessary throughout the day.

What is the likelihood of recovery and what is the prognosis? The degree of the damage will determine the length of recovery and prognosis. Even in the least severe situations, it may take up to three days for a torn calf muscle to begin to feel better. Full healing can take up to six weeks in the most severe instances that do not necessitate surgical intervention. Depending on whether or not surgery is required, the recovery period might last anywhere from six months to a year or longer. The majority of people who suffer from a torn calf muscle will not require surgery.

Despite the fact that it may be difficult to keep your afflicted limb immobile for a few days, moving around too soon might exacerbate the muscle tension.

Allowing oneself sufficient recuperation time is crucial to the success of your calf muscle therapy.

Muscle strains and strained calf muscles can be avoided by doing the following:

  • Preparing for exercise by warming up for at least five minutes before beginning
  • Stretching your legs before you go for a run
  • Cooling down for five minutes following a workout session
  • Exercising your muscles for another five minutes after you’ve finished cooling down

Endrina Mangual Valladares MS3 is a third-year medical student at the University of Medicine and Health Sciences in Mexico City. She is studying medicine (UMHS)

Calf Strain: Rehab Exercises

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Here are a few examples of workouts that you may try out for yourself. The exercises may be recommended for a specific disease or for rehabilitation. Start each exercise cautiously to avoid injury. If you begin to experience discomfort, reduce the intensity of the workouts. You will be instructed on when to begin these workouts as well as which ones will be most beneficial to you.

How to do the exercises

Slide number one of seven Stretching the calf wall on slide 1 of 7. (back knee straight),

  1. Stand with your back to a wall and your hands on the wall at around eye level. Step back approximately a step with your injured leg in front of your other leg. Maintaining the straightness of your back leg and the placement of your back heel on the floor, bend your front knee and slowly push your hip and chest toward the wall until you feel a stretch in the calf of your back leg Stretch for at least 15 to 30 seconds, depending on your comfort level. Repeat the process 2 to 4 times.

Calf wall stretch (knees bent)

Slide number two of seven Stretching the calf wall on slide 2 of 7. (knees bent),

  1. Stand with your back to a wall and your hands on the wall at around eye level. Step back approximately a step with your injured leg in front of your other leg. Bend both knees while keeping both heels firmly planted on the floor. Then, with your hips and chest gently pushed against the wall, you should feel a stretch in the calf of your back leg. Stretch for at least 15 to 30 seconds, depending on your comfort level. Repeat the process 2 to 4 times.

Bilateral calf stretch (knees straight)

Slide number three of seven Bilateral calf stretch is shown on slide 3 of 7. (knees straight),

  1. Place a book on the floor a few inches away from a wall or countertop, then place the balls of your feet on top of it to support yourself. Your heels should be flat to the ground. This means that the book should be thick enough that you may feel a mild stretch in each calf as you read it. If you are unsteady on your feet, you should hold on to a chair, counter, or wall while performing this stretching exercise. Maintaining your knees straight, bend forward until you feel a stretch in each calf is important. Add another book or use a thicker book, such as a phone book, a dictionary, or an encyclopedia, to increase the amount of stretch you receive. Stretch for at least 15 to 30 seconds, depending on your comfort level. Repeat the process 2 to 4 times.

Bilateral calf stretch (knees bent)

Slide number four of seven Bilateral calf stretch is shown on slide 4 of 7. (knees bent),

  1. Place a book on the floor a few inches away from a wall or countertop, then place the balls of your feet on top of it to support yourself. Your heels should be flat to the ground. This means that the book should be thick enough that you may feel a mild stretch in each calf as you read it. If you are unsteady on your feet, you should hold on to a chair, counter, or wall while performing this stretching exercise. Bend your knees and lean forward until you feel a stretch in each calf
  2. Repeat on the other side. Add another book or use a thicker book, such as a phone book, a dictionary, or an encyclopedia, to increase the amount of stretch you receive. Stretch for at least 15 to 30 seconds, depending on your comfort level. Repeat the process 2 to 4 times.

Ankle plantarflexion

Slide number five of seven Ankle plantarflexion is shown on slide 5 of 7.

  1. Sit with your afflicted leg straight and supported on the floor in a comfortable position. Maintaining the straightness of your affected leg, gently flex your foot downward so that your toes are pointed away from your body
  2. Maintain the straightness of your other leg, with that foot flat on the floor Afterwards, carefully return your foot to its original position. Repeat the process 8 to 12 times.

Ankle dorsiflexion

Slide number six of seven Ankle dorsiflexion is seen on slide 6 of 7.

  1. Sit with your afflicted leg straight and supported on the floor in a comfortable position. One leg should be straight with the foot flat on the floor
  2. With your other leg straight, gradually bend the foot back so that your toes point upward. Afterwards, carefully return your foot to its original position. Repeat the process 8 to 12 times.

Bilateral heel raises on step

Slide number seven of seven slide number seven out of seven When you take a step, your heel elevates on both sides.

  1. Place yourself on the lowest step of a stairwell, with your back to the stairwell. Placing the balls of your feet on the step is recommended. If you feel shaky on your feet, grab hold of the railing or a wall for support. Slowly raise your heels above the step, keeping both knees straight, until you are standing on your toes (see illustration). Afterwards, gradually drop your heels below the step and toward the floor
  2. Return to the starting position, keeping your feet in line with the step, and repeat. Repeat the process 8 to 12 times.

Maintaining proper follow-up care is essential to your treatment and safety. Make sure to keep all of your appointments and call your doctor if you experience any difficulties. Keep track of your test results, as well as a list of the medications you’re taking, for future reference.

Where can you learn more?

To discover more about “Calf Strain: Rehab Exercises,” type EnterS834 into the search box on this page. As of July 1, 2021, the information is current.

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