Calf Injuries, Pulls, Strains, Tears, Ruptures and Myositis


A calf muscle injury is common in sports. Calf injuries are sometimes known as a ‘pulled Calf’. The term ‘pulled muscle’ comes from the description of how the injury takes place. Usually, the Calf muscle is forcibly stretched beyond its limits and the muscle tissue becomes torn.

How long does it take to heal a strained calf muscle?
Rest the area by avoiding walking or any activity that causes pain. Crutches or a brace may be recommended to reduce further strain on the muscles when walking. Apply ice packs to the area for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 hours. Compress the area with an elastic bandage wrap.
What do you do with a strained calf muscle?
  1. Protect the strained muscle from further injury.
  2. Rest the strained muscle. …
  3. Ice the muscle area (20 minutes every hour while awake). …
  4. Compression can be gently applied with an Ace or another elastic bandage, which can both provide support and decrease swelling. …
  5. Elevate the injured area to decrease swelling.
How long does it take for a torn calf muscle to heal?
Full recovery takes approximately 4 to 8 weeks with good rehabilitation. Grade 3: This is the most severe calf strain with a complete tearing or rupture of muscle fibers in the lower leg. Full recovery can take 3-4 months and, in some instances, surgery may be needed.
How do you treat a pulled calf muscle?
Cold therapy can be applied for 10 to 15 minutes every hour initially reducing the frequency of pain and swelling goes down. Do not apply ice directly to the skin as it can cause ice burns.  It is advised to use a compression bandage, calf support or sleeve.
Calf Pulls
A calf muscle strain is commonly called a pulled calf muscle. “Pulling” the muscle refers to stretching the calf muscle beyond its limit.
Pain that occurs in the calf muscle on the lower part of the leg often is the result of a pulled or torn calf muscle. A torn calf muscle is similar to an Achilles tendon tear or rupture but occurs higher up in the back of the leg. A sign of a torn calf muscle is similar to that of an Achilles tendon rupture.
What does it feel like when you pull a calf muscle?
If you strain your calf muscles, you may feel: … Spasms (a gripping or severe tightening feeling in the calf muscle). Sharp pain in the back of the lower leg, when trying to stretch or move the ankle or knee. A “pop” or hear a “pop” sound at the time of injury (with a Grade 3 calf strain).
What should you do if you pull a calf muscle?
  1. Protect the strained muscle from further injury.
  2. Rest the strained muscle. …
  3. Ice the muscle area (20 minutes every hour while awake). …
  4. Compression can be gently applied with an Ace or another elastic bandage, which can both provide support and decrease swelling. …
  5. Elevate the injured area to decrease swelling.

Calf Strain (Pulled Calf Muscle)

Whats the difference between a Calf strains and a pull?

Calf Strains
calf strain is a tear of the muscle fibers of the muscles at the back of the lower leg and can range from mild to very severe.
What causes calf strain while running?
Calf Strains. Pain in the calf, as well as swelling, tenderness, and muscle tightness resulting from sudden overloading of the muscles during speedwork, hill running or running on uneven trails. Treat with ice and anti-inflammatories. … Stretch your calf five to 10 times a day.
Calf Tears 
Definition/Description. A calf strain is a common muscle injury. It is a tear of the muscle fibers of the muscles at the back of the lower leg. Strains are the result of excessive stretching or over-stretching while the muscle is being activated. Strains are often referred to as a pulled muscle.
Calf Rupture
A complete tear of the calf muscle, resulting in severe pain and inability to walk. The calf muscle may collapse into a lump or ball shape, seen and felt through the skin.
Calf Muscle Myositis
Inflammation of the calf muscle. Infections or autoimmune conditions (caused when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues) are usually responsible, although calf muscle myositis is rare.
Benefits of Massage for Calf Injuries
Your body’s two calf muscles–gastrocnemius and soleus–help you walk, run and jump. Because of their unique anatomy and because of the way they act on your knee and ankle joints, your calf muscles are extremely powerful and can perform an incredible amount of work. But what happens when you sustain a calf injury? According to New Zealand-based sports medicine physician Dr. Ruth Highet, “Calf muscle injuries are extremely disabling when they occur, as they often do, during a short sprint on the tennis court, or soccer field, at the athletics track or during a high-intensity aerobics class.” Massage is a constructive way to cope with your calf strain. It’s been used for many years to speed healing and prevent injuries in active people.
Calf massage, when performed on you by an experienced massage therapist, helps improve your systemic circulation, as it promotes the return of venous blood to the heart. The website says: “Massage to your muscles helps them push blood back to the heart through your veins, increasing the vital oxygen needed to keep the tissue in your legs from deteriorating.” Other circulation benefits of calf massage include enhanced blood flow to the calves themselves–which benefit from the delivery of nutrients and the flushing of harmful metabolic byproducts–and a lowering of blood pressure.
Increased flexibility is a common benefit gained from a calf massage. A calf massage increases flexibility by improving tissue elasticity and relieving muscle tightness. During a calf massage, the manipulation of soft tissues and friction created between skin and fingers increases blood circulation.

After a calf muscle injury, and especially if a tear occurs, it’s common for you to experience pain, swelling, and inflammation in the area where your injury occurred. If your injury is left untreated, your body puts down scar tissue in an attempt to heal your wound. Unfortunately, your body does this in a haphazard manner. Your scar tissue often adheres to your surrounding muscles and fascia, creating “myofascial” adhesions. This results in restricted muscle range of motion and impingement of your nerves and blood vessels, and it may manifest as pain or lower extremity dysfunction, says the website Using various techniques, a skilled massage therapist can manually reduce your scar tissue adhesions to help decrease your pain and restore mobility to your restricted muscle or body segment.

Reduces Pain

While acknowledging that more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, the Mayo Clinic touts massage as an effective way to relieve your pain. It says some studies have found massage helpful for sports-related injuries. Of course, massage therapists from many different traditions have long known the pain-relieving potential of massage, and have helped countless patients recover quickly from mild to severe calf pain and dysfunction. A massage therapist skilled in the art of trigger-point therapy is able to palpate your calf muscles and identify areas of tightness that need to be “worked out” or released. Trigger points–tight bands or nodules within your muscles–often are the cause of your calf pain and can be effectively treated using a massage.

Further Reading

Sports Massage for Tight Calf Muscles

Use the Symptom Checker

Calf Muscle Tear


*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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