Calf sprains are very common injuries, especially for athletes. A calf sprain is a stretch or tear of ligaments, while a calf strain is the stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon. A calf strain occurs when the muscle fibers at the back of the lower leg are torn. Calf strains can range from mild to severe, depending on the nature of the tear. The severity of the injury will play a big part in the recovery time from such an injury.
What are the causes of calf sprains and strains?
Most calf tears occur due to a jerky pushing off movement or due to excessive stretching of the calf muscles. A quick change or direction or a dramatic jumping motion could cause the injury.
Some calf strains are due to general stress on that part of the body, such as an athlete overtraining or playing. High heels are also a common reason why calf strains occur, as wearing such shoes weakens the calf muscles over time.
What are the symptoms of calf sprains and strains?
The most common symptom of a calf strain is a sharp and sudden pain in the back of the lower leg. The pain may occur all the time or when the leg is in motion.
If it is a grade 1 strain, the pain may only be mild. It feels like a tightness or twinge in the back of the leg. A grade 2 strain results in sharper pain, which could include some bruising. With a grade 3 strain, 90 to 100 percent of the muscle fibers tear. Such sports injuries cause extreme pain and the person would be unable to walk on the leg.
What is the treatment of calf sprains and strains?
Treatment usually involves rest, icing the area to prevent and reduce swelling, and a gradual stretching or strengthening program via sports medicine.
Athletes who suffer a calf strain are encouraged to visit a sports medicine doctor at the Spinal Rehab and Sports Medicine Clinic. Dr. Bob will properly diagnose the severity of the strain and recommend the best sports injury treatment plan.