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
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.