Calf muscle strain

What is a calf muscles strain?
The calf muscles consist of the Gastrocnemius muscle, which is the big muscle at the back of the lower leg and the Soleus muscle, which is a smaller muscle lower in the leg, below the Gastrocnemius.

What causes a calf muscle strain?
A strain is caused by twisting or pulling the calf muscle.

An acute strain is caused by trauma or an injury such as a blow to the muscle or overstressing the calf muscle. Chronic strains are usually the result of overuse - prolonged, repetitive movement of the muscles.

Contributing factors include an inadequate warm up, lack of flexibility, fatigue and insufficient strength.


  • Pain: Gastrocnemius - midway up calf muscle; Soleus - lower in leg and when muscle contracts with knee bent
  • Difficulty contracting calf muscle or standing on toes
  • Audible pop sound and feeling of being hit in the calf
  • Swelling

What can you do

  • Seek medical attention
  • Apply RICE: rest - slows down bleeding and reduces the risk of further damage; Ice - eases pain, reduces swelling, reduces bleeding initially; compression - reduces bleeding and swelling; elevation - reduces bleeding and swelling by allowing fluids to flow away from the site of injury.
(Health24, October 2003)

Other related articles:
Painkillers (Paracetamol)
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
COX-2 specific inhibitors
Different Steroids
Cortisone injections

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