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Methods of treating calf muscle sprain


Sharp pain, growing edema, severe hematoma - these are the signs that accompany the rupture of the calf muscle. The calf muscles are located on the back surface of the lower leg. They cope with heavy loads every day. Sometimes the strength of the load reaches high levels, and muscle fibers do not withstand. Muscle tissue tears, signs of severe stretching appear.

Symptoms and signs

Symptoms of injuries to these muscles are similar to those of other injuries. Well-known signs accompany an injury:

  1. Sharp and severe pain. Occurs at the time of violation of the integrity of the muscle. The strength of the pain is determined by the severity of the injury. With a complete rupture of muscle tissue, the pain sensations are quite strong, do not subside even with complete rest,
  2. Hematoma. It occurs due to the release of blood into muscle tissue. A hematoma is dangerous because in the presence of wounds or infection inside the body, it can become a focal point of infection,
  3. Wounds or abrasions. Occur when exposed to the skin and muscles of blunt objects,
  4. Edema. The gap is accompanied by severe swelling,
  5. Inflammation around the site of injury. The inflammatory process is manifested by swelling, redness, local fever,
  6. The sound of a crunch or crack at the moment of injury. Such a sound occurs when the muscle is completely torn or when it is torn from the place of attachment to the bone,
  7. Lameness. This is a characteristic sign of damage to the structures of the lower extremities. It is obvious that lameness occurs on the side of damage.

The presence of at least a few of the symptoms listed above cannot be ignored. They are a good reason for contacting a trauma center. It is possible that for an accurate diagnosis, you will need additional examination methods, such as MRI.

How to determine: tensile or tearing

In fact, fiber rupture is the extreme, most severe degree of stretching. There are several characteristic differences that distinguish a gap from an ordinary stretch.

Characteristic symptomSprainBreak
PainThey occur at the time of injury due to tissue micro-fractures, are stopped by tableted analgesics and subside at rest.Severe pain that does not go away at rest. For analgesia, injections of analgesics are necessary. Sometimes the victim needs novocaine blockades.
Characteristic sound during injuryMissing.When the fibers are broken, a crunch or crack is heard.
InflammationWith a mild degree does not occur at all, in the rest it is not too pronounced.Trauma is accompanied by severe inflammation, up to an increase in local temperature.

This table illustrates the differences between the gap and the tensile. Even an inexperienced person in medicine will be able to distinguish between these conditions.

First aid

The sequence of pre-medical actions:

  • Remove shoes from the victim and bring the foot to an elevated position. Place a soft roller under the shin,
  • Cold will help reduce pain and stop the buildup of edema. For these purposes, a compress from a cold cloth, a bubble with ice or snow is suitable. If ice is used, be sure to wrap the source of cold in a cloth. Otherwise, there is a risk of frostbite on the soft tissues,
  • Give the affected person an analgesic to reduce pain. The pain will not completely disappear, but relief will come,
  • When lying down transport a person to a medical facility.

In the old days, compresses made of milk and raw potatoes were used for first aid. This compress relieves inflammation, relieves pain and stimulates tissue repair.

Partial ruptures of the calf muscles are treated non-surgical method. The victim is prescribed complete rest with movement restriction, limb immobilization and drug therapy. In the acute period, analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, cold compresses are used.

At the end of the inflammatory period, the attending physician prescribes a course of physiotherapy sessions. Procedures such as UHF, ultrasound, magnetotherapy eliminate the residual effects of inflammation, reduce pain and accelerate tissue regeneration. This type of rupture is allowed to be treated at home, but only with the consent of the traumatologist. Home treatment is no different from hospital treatment. The advantage of this treatment is the familiar environment in which the patient allows himself to relax and recovery progresses faster.

The surgical method is required for complete violation of muscle integrity. As a rule, surgical treatment includes several mini-operations.

So, when the medial head of the gastrocnemius muscle is torn with an infected hematoma, muscle fibers are relaxed with their subsequent stitching, hematoma dissection, purulent contents removal and wound drainage. In addition to treatment, antibiotic therapy is carried out to prevent purulent infection.

Recovery and rehabilitation

Tearing of the muscle fibers of the lower leg is a difficult injury requiring a long recovery. At the end of tissue healing, a traumatologist appoints a set of procedures to restore the limb's motor function. Rehabilitation includes:

  1. Massage. Tones up the skin and speeds up healing. The recovery period during massage is shortened, as there are many blood vessels in the muscles that intensively nourish the tissues,
  2. Physiotherapy. Exercises begin immediately after the disappearance of pain,
  3. Physiotherapy. Thermal procedures have a beneficial effect on tissues, eliminating edema after an injury.


The use of kinesiotape during breaks has a beneficial effect on the muscles and improves the quality of life of the victim. Due to the fact that tape tapes take on part of the load, muscle fibers recover faster.

The benefits of kinesiotape are hard to overestimate:

  • Tapes can be worn for more than a week without removing
  • No need to take them off to take a shower,
  • A wide selection of colors and manufacturers
  • High quality allergy-free materials.

Causes of Stretching and Risk Factors

Stretching the calf muscles is a complete or partial tear of muscle fibers, ligaments connecting the Achilles tendon to the muscle. People say about this injury: they pulled a muscle.

The causes of injuries to the ankle ligaments are as follows:

  • When performing a high amplitude of a number of movements, excess of the inherent elastic capabilities of muscle fibers or, more simply, injury to the calf muscle after excessive tension can occur. Such damage can occur during an unsuccessful landing after a jump, fall, or during stretching exercises without proper preparation.
  • Rupture of the tibial muscle can occur due to a strong contraction of the veins if they are not warmed up enough or when a sharp load occurs.
  • If a strong and sharp blow was inflicted on the ankle, then both closed and open damage to the tendons, ligaments and muscles can occur.
  • With intense prolonged exertion during training or hiking, fatigue of the calf fibers occurs, which can also provoke a partial tear.

Strongly increase the risk of such an injury, the following factors

  • sports related to jerking - running, jumping, basketball, football, rugby,
  • overfatigue, overstrain and hypothermia,
  • muscle stiffness increased.


Symptoms and treatment of ankle sprain depend on the severity of the injury.

With a slight, slight stretching, the symptom is one - aching pain, which slightly intensifies at the place of rupture when pushing the foot off the ground or during shin tension. This is often experienced by a beginner after the first training session.

In case of severe stretching, acute pain in the muscle appears, and if you continue to strain it, the pain syndrome intensifies. With such injuries, muscle tissue continues to be injured, the patient hardly lifts himself on tiptoe, it is difficult for him to bend his foot.

In severe injuries, rupture of muscles, ligaments, and tendons occurs. When receiving this degree of injury, a characteristic crack is often heard, a click, the contractility of the lower limb completely disappears. Dislocations or injuries such as fractures, burns can provoke severe stretching with a violation of the integrity of muscle tissue.

If there is a bruise of the gastrocnemius muscle or internal damage to the vessels, hematoma, swelling occurs. With a similar injury to the lower leg and ankle joint, the symptoms are similar.

Any signs of muscle rupture make it necessary to apply an elastic bandage to fix the leg. When immobilizing the lower limb should be bent at the knee. After this, the victim must be taken to the hospital.


For any type of injury, if the muscles or ligaments are stretched, you should seek help from a specialist who will prescribe all the necessary studies, take an interest in the symptoms that have arisen, and ask about physical exertion about the previous injury. He will also examine the sore spot in order to identify: hypersensitivity, bruise, pain at the time of muscle contraction. Additionally, diagnostic methods such as MRI, Doppler ultrasound, and a blood test may be needed.

The answer to the question of how to treat the resulting leg muscle strain depends on the severity of the injury. With the often encountered "beginner's injury", it is enough not to overload the muscle until it is completely restored. It takes from 3 to 5 days. Further training can only be continued with a minimum load on the sore leg and only with a warm muscle.

Treatment of stretching of the gastrocnemius muscle of the first and second degree is carried out by a conservative method. The recovery period takes 1-2 months.

Stretching the calf muscles of the third degree is treated with surgical intervention, and the full course of rehabilitation takes from three months to six months.

First aid for stretching the calf muscles when a characteristic pain occurs, is to stop any movement that may be associated with a load on the lower leg and ankle.

To avoid internal hemorrhages, which can lead to the appearance of hematomas, as well as a local analgesic, cold should be applied to the place of localization of pain for at least 20 minutes. Ice is not applied to an open area of ​​the skin so as not to cause frostbite of the dermis.

To prevent swelling and swelling of the joint, the lower leg should be tightly rewound with a special bandage. The bandage should not be applied too tightly, as this causes a violation of blood circulation and hypoxia of muscle tissue.

With more severe trauma, when all the symptoms indicate a complete rupture of the calf muscle, it is necessary to fix the limb, but only in a position bent at the knee joint. To do this, use a longet and deliver the patient to the emergency room to the orthopedic surgeon.

If the functionality of the leg has not changed, and the signs indicate a moderate injury, then apply the following measures:

  • Two days of damage to the shin shows absolute rest. Treatment with painkillers is appropriate only for severe pain. With pronounced edema, it is advisable to do without aspirin and ibuprofen, since these drugs negatively affect blood coagulation. To eliminate puffiness, it helps to keep a damaged leg on a hill, applying cold. At night, you can use cooling ointments - Ketonal, Voltaren and others from this group.
  • A week later, after the disappearance of pain, the therapy is continued with warming drugs - Ben-gay ointment, Viprosal. These drugs stimulate microcirculation in tissues, restoring their elasticity. A light shin massage and special exercises are also allowed.
  • Physiotherapy in the form of ultrasound, magnetotherapy will help speed up the recovery process.
  • Physical exercises, loads are allowed to be restored only after the pain and discomfort during movement disappear. It is advisable to start with small loads and after warming up the muscles.

If a sprain of the calf muscle in a child has occurred, then you should immediately contact a specialist who will identify the symptoms and prescribe an effective treatment.


Getting injured is much easier than getting rid of its consequences, so stretching should be avoided, and the following recommendations will help:

  • Before any workout, a warm-up consisting of simple exercises must be carried out without fail.
  • Exercise should be regular, it is necessary to exclude long pauses between workouts.
  • The load must be increased gradually.
  • Preference should be given to comfortable sports shoes.
  • Women should wear heeled shoes periodically. From this, the calf muscles will be in good shape.

It is important to remember that stretching treatment should be timely. It is also necessary to know that once injured muscles have their own memory, and neglecting them over time can lead to negative consequences.

Do not delay with the diagnosis and treatment of the disease!


The calf muscles can withstand heavy loads and prolonged tension. They are quite elastic, they can easily stretch and contract. At the same time, they are quite prone to sprains, which is why sharp pain appears.

Do not exercise after the onset of pain. The patient's condition will deteriorate significantly and complications may occur. Stretching the calf muscle is the most common trauma for novice athletes.

Stretching the calf muscles can occur for a variety of reasons. The main ones include:

  1. The given range of motion is slightly larger than the elasticity of muscles laid down by nature. The muscle is damaged due to strong tension. This often occurs due to improper push from the ground, when falling, performing stretching exercises without warming up muscle tissue.
  2. A powerful blow to the lower leg contributes to open or closed injuries of muscle tissue.
  3. A sharp load on the unheated muscle provokes the strongest muscle contraction. For this reason, the limb is injured, the muscle is stretched. That is why, before stretching exercises or jogging, a warm-up is required.
  4. Long loads on poorly warmed muscle, for example, a race in low-quality shoes provoke an overstrain of muscle fibers.

The calf muscle is the most powerful in the body. It is on her condition that success in various sports depends.

Stretching can be of several degrees:

  1. First degree. It is a micro-fracture. Stretching the muscles of the lower leg of the first degree does not require special treatment. For a few days, you need to reduce the load.
  2. Second degree. Partial rupture of muscle fibers. The treatment is the same as in the first case, only to provide peace for a week. It is possible to use local funds.
  3. Third degree. Complete rupture of muscle tissue and tendons. Such an injury requires surgery. Mobility recovery may take up to six months.

Any injury requires consultation with a specialist.

Symptoms of gastrocnemius muscle extension directly depend on the type and extent of the injury. The greater the pain at rest, the greater the damage may be. Most of the newcomers to sports after exercise experience aching pain in the lower leg. When pushing the foot against a hard surface, the pain becomes more severe. Significantly more discomfort occurs while running. Such phenomena are a symptom of a calf muscle injury.

Despite the fact that muscle fibers are torn during an injury, such pain is considered to be useful. Minor tears after training grow together very quickly, while the muscle becomes more hardy and strong. The more training is carried out, the less pain will occur.

If the calf muscle injury is more dangerous, then severe severe pain occurs. There is a feeling as if they hit on the leg with something heavy. If you repeat the exercises that led to such pain, the pain will be doubled. A person who has received such an injury cannot fully stand on his foot and move his foot.

If during sports, a person heard a crack, a single click, contractile ability disappeared, then this is a rather serious rupture of muscle tissue. This condition needs long-term therapy. The resulting swelling suggests that it is urgent to seek help from a doctor.

Caring for injured muscle with folk remedies

Treatment of gastrocnemius muscle when stretched with folk remedies will increase the recovery period after an injury, but significantly improve muscle condition. Doctors recommend using such methods:

  1. Boil milk, take gauze and moisten it in it. Apply a compress to the damaged area. Change applications as they cool.
  2. Take 2 cups of elderberry and boil them in 5 liters of liquid. Then add a large spoonful of soda. Filter the resulting product, moisten gauze in it and apply to the affected area.
  3. Take onions, grate and mix the gruel with sugar. Lay out the composition on a piece of gauze. Compress must be fixed on diseased calf.
  4. Take the ash from the shoots of the vine and combine it with olive oil in a ratio of 1 to 4. The prepared composition is applied to the affected area in the form of compresses.
  5. Take 20 grams of mountain arnica and pour 0.25 liters of alcohol. Leave to insist for 3 weeks. After this time, moisten gauze in the medicinal fluid and apply to the affected area.

A person who has encountered a problem, even after full recovery, must monitor the state of the muscle.

Strengthening and Recovery Exercises

Everyone who has encountered a limb injury is wondering how to treat calf muscle sprain. To do this, you will need to perform exercises at home:

  1. Place the cushion of the sole on the step so that the heel is below the level of the step. Keep your knee straight. Fix this pose to the count of 30.
  2. Stand at a distance of 30 cm from the wall and rest against it with your hands. Hands should be located at chest level. Set the patient straight leg back by 45 cm. Extremities should be shoulder width apart. Bend the knee of the second leg, leaving the affected leg intact. Lock the pose to count 30.
  3. Stand and hold the wall to maintain balance. Stand on your fingers, lifting your heels. Fix the position to the count 5. Slowly and gently lower yourself to the feet. Repeat the exercise 10-12 times.

The doctor should prescribe therapeutic exercises only after examining the patient. The muscle should rest and recover slightly after an injury. Only after this exercise is shown. It is recommended to perform the exercise for the first time under the supervision of a doctor. This will avoid possible errors, which in turn contribute to the development of complications.

Stretching and tearing muscles - what are the differences?

The calf muscle is located on the back surface of the leg. It consists of thin but long muscle fibers enclosed in a connective tissue capsule. The diagnosis formulation depends on the degree of their damage:

  • stretching - partial tearing of the fibers, the anatomical integrity of the muscle is maintained,
  • gap - the anatomical integrity of the muscle is broken.

Anatomically, both of these diagnoses represent a similar injury, but to varying degrees of severity. According to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD - 10), both of these injuries belong to the same subgroup (S86.1 - Injuries to other muscles and tendons of the posterior muscle group at the lower leg, except for the Achilles tendon).

The calf muscle is responsible for all types of vertical movement (walking, running, squats, jumping), so its anatomical structure allows it to withstand severe loads. In the upper part, it is attached to the femur. Further, its fibers are divided into 2 large bundles, and over the ankle the calf muscle is connected to the soleus. These two muscles form the triceps muscle of the lower leg and end in the common Achilles tendon.

The main causes of injury

All possible causes of the extension of the calf muscle can be divided into sports and domestic injuries. They arise if muscle fibers are forced to stretch beyond their capabilities. Among the most common causes and factors, several can be distinguished:

  • strong tension of the fibers as a result of falling or careless movements,
  • one-time excessive load on the shin,
  • long simple exercises between which the calf muscle does not have time to recover (including walking),
  • a blow to the back of the leg.

Damage to the calf muscle is a frequent occurrence if the patient's professional activity is associated with prolonged walking. However, persons leading a sedentary lifestyle unrelated to sports are not immune from this injury. On the contrary, muscle fibers under such conditions lose strength and elasticity, therefore, are more prone to injury.

Symptoms of rupture of the calf muscle

Clinical signs of damage to the calf muscle are a protective reaction of the body that, with the help of pain, protects the limb from further stress. Microfractures of the fibers provoke the development of the inflammatory process and the appearance of soft tissue edema.

Damage to the calf muscle can be divided into 3 degrees:

  • 1 degree - a slight stretching of muscle fibers. The pain is moderate, manifested some time after the injury. There is a slight swelling, the amplitude of limb movement is slightly reduced due to increased pain during exertion.
  • 2 degree - a rupture of part of the fibers. Trauma is accompanied by acute pain and rapid onset of swelling. Hematomas occur. Movement of the injured limb causes pain, but the joint remains mobile.
  • Grade 3 - complete muscle breakdown. The muscle is separated from the Achilles tendon, the appearance of pathological ankle mobility is possible. Injury causes acute pain up to pain shock, an extensive hematoma forms in the damaged area.

If symptoms begin to manifest immediately upon injury, there is reason to suspect a muscle break. When stretched, the victim may not feel them, and pain and swelling will appear after a few hours. It is very important to be able to distinguish the rupture of the calf muscle from damage to other structures that are located in the back of the lower leg - ligaments and Achilles tendon.

Diagnostic Methods

Before starting treatment, it is important to determine which tissues are damaged and which of them have retained their integrity. It is also necessary to take an x-ray of the bone to make sure there are no cracks, which is especially important after falls. In combination with other diagnostic methods, the use of hardware methods is possible:

  • Ultrasound is the main way to assess the condition of soft tissues,
  • X-ray - is prescribed for suspected cracks or fractures of the lower leg bones,
  • MRI is an additional diagnostic method in doubtful situations.

When stretching the muscles, it is important to correctly diagnose. Treatment at home is possible only if the motor function of the limb is preserved, and the pain syndrome is moderate.

First aid

A traumatologist is involved in the treatment of calf muscle tear. But, it is very important to provide first aid in time and follow simple rules.

Even if the victim does not feel pain at the time of the fall, you should not try to immediately get on your feet - in some cases, symptoms begin to appear after a while.

Visually, you can assess the degree of damage to muscles and other structures by the rate of appearance of edema and the presence or absence of a hematoma.

First aid consists of the following actions:

  • Apply a cold compress or ice to the damaged area to reduce the likelihood of swelling and bruising,
  • Fix the limb with a tight elastic bandage (if there are no visible signs of muscle rupture or bone fracture),
  • Take painkillers if necessary.

In some cases, it is best to call an ambulance. Injuries that are accompanied by rupture of the calf muscle are often accompanied by fractures or cracked bones, damage to ligaments and tendons. In addition, the possibility of extensive hemorrhage in the soft tissues is not excluded.

The main approaches to treatment

The first few days after the damage, it is necessary to observe bed rest or to remove the load from the limb, if we are talking about the first degree of stretching. Periodically apply ice to the painful area. Warming ointments or creams are contraindicated during this period, as they dilate blood vessels and can exacerbate inflammation.

In the future, the patient can develop eggs with simple exercises, but this happens after the integrity of the muscle fibers is restored and acute pain passes. At home, it is recommended to use an elastic bandage or bandage if, according to the doctor’s decision, no plaster is applied. Another way to fix the calf muscle is taping. Teip - an elastic patch on a rubber base, which is glued to the back surface of the lower leg and does not allow the muscle to stretch.

Drug therapy for stretching or rupture of the calf muscle is reduced to the use of ointments or gels that contain anti-inflammatory and analgesic components, penetrating into the thickness of the tissues contributing to the rapid regeneration of fibers:

  • Traumeel is a natural herbal product for external use, which allows you to quickly relieve pain and inflammation, normalize blood circulation in the damaged area and start cell repair processes,
  • Apizartron is a pharmacy drug based on bee venom, under the influence of which hematomas resolve.

During the recovery period, it is useful to undergo physiotherapy and massage courses. This will improve blood circulation and muscle nutrition, prevent the formation of scars. In addition, at home it is necessary to develop a limb with no complicated exercises. They are performed smoothly, while painful sensations should not occur.

The duration of treatment depends on the severity of the injury and the responsibility of the patient.

To fully recover from a slight degree of stretching, 5-10 days is enough. With complete muscle breakdown, rehabilitation can take several months.