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How to Avoid or Treat a Strained Calf Muscle

If you experience a strained calf muscle, you’re at risk to a tear when exercising. A calf strain happens when your foot suddenly bends upward, which stretches the calf muscle past it’s limits and tears the muscle fibers away from the tendon or tendons away from the bone.

How to Avoid or Treat a Strained Calf Muscle

A strained calf muscle can happen at times such as:

  • a sprinter coming out of the starting blocks
  • a tennis player rushing the net or changing directions
  • a high jumper or long jumper accelerating before taking off
  • a soccer player sprinting toward a ball
  • a runner or jogger

Those who are at risk of a strained calf muscle include: Football players, tennis players, hurdlers, runners, sprinters, or really any athlete who “pushes off” frequently. Soccer players, baseball, basketball, rugby and lacrosse players are also subject to the injury.

Symptoms of a strained calf muscle are:

  • Pain in the back of the lower leg between the knee and the heel
  • Pain when pushing off or standing on toes
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness
  • Bruising
  • Gap or indentation of the muscle (grade 3)

If you’re a victim of this injury, here are a few steps you should take to begin the healing process:

  • Rest! Try and stay away from activities such as running, jumping, and weightlifting that require lower leg strength and power.Apply ice or cold packs for about 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a day for the first few days.
  • Apply moist heat after the first couple of days for about 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a day.
  • Use an elastic wrap or bandage around the area to reduce swelling.
  • Use a cushion to elevate the your leg whenever you can during the day and while you sleep.
  • Aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen may relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
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