There are 2 major muscles in the lower part of the leg or calf. They are the soleus and gastrocnemius. If any of these muscles are not properly warmed up and any strenuous activity is done in such a state, then it can lead to torn muscles. It can be described as a severe form of strain in the muscle fibers that may cause partial or complete tear in the muscles. Due to a tear in the calf muscle, one experiences sharp muscle cramps in the calf area, which makes normal activities like walking very painful.
➜ The first sign of a torn calf muscle is a sudden outbreak of pain. The pain is felt at the back of the lower section of the leg. Depending on the location of the tear, one can experience knee or heel pain as well.
➜ With the passage of time, inflammation may occur. This happens because as soon as the muscles get torn, the blood starts rushing to the injury site. This causes the muscle to swell.
➜ Bruising may also occur. This happens when the blood gets trapped under the skin, which results in a blue or purple color bruise on the area. Moving the leg may become difficult, as an injury to the muscles tends to stiffen them.
➜ Simple movements like pointing the toes or walking become an extremely painful experience. In serious injuries, one can feel a popping sensation and a snapping sound as well.
➜ Based on the severity of the strain on the calf muscle, the condition is often categorized into minor, moderate, and severe. In a minor tear, the pain is mild and the injury site is slightly taut and tender, but one can carry out activities, like walking, running, or even exercising. In such a case, the symptoms last for only a few days.
➜ In a moderate tear, the indicants become intense and the muscles weaken. The soreness of the calf muscle lasts for 2 or 3 weeks. In a severely torn calf muscle, the muscle fibers get completely ruptured.
➜ As a result, if you touch the injured calf, you can feel the muscle fibers bunched up at one spot. The swelling and bruising makes the area tender to touch. The healing time is much longer in case of a rupture.
How to Treat a Torn Calf Muscle
➜ As soon as you experience a sudden, sharp pulling sensation accompanied by severe muscle pain, the first thing to do is to give complete rest to your feet. Any activity can further strain the muscles.
➜ The next thing to be done is to apply ice on the injured area. Do not apply the ice on the skin directly. Rather, take a few cubes of ice in a packet and wrap it up with a thin towel and then place it over the calf.
➜ Keep it over the injury for about 20 minutes and then wait for half an hour and then reapply it. This ice treatment should continue for the next 2 days, as it keeps the pain as well as the swelling under check.
➜ Compression of the injured calf using an elastic bandage has proved to be useful. However, you have to ensure that you do not wrap it around the calf very tightly. It should just exert a gentle pressure on the calf.
➜ Instead of easing the pain if it increases, then no need to use the wrap. While sleeping, make sure you keep your leg in an elevated position. Otherwise, both the pain and swelling will worsen during the night. To cure the pain, you can take over-the-counter pain relieving medicines.
➜ If the non-surgical treatment fails to show any improvement in the condition, then surgery is the only option left. However, surgery as an option is mostly availed by athletes. The surgical procedure involves the release of blood from the affected part, and the torn part of the calf muscle is attached to the tendon.
The pain due to torn calf muscles usually subsides after 2 days. Then, you should start resuming short-distance, easy walks in order to make the injured muscle flexible. You should stay away from sports activities for at least a month. During this period, perform some stretching and muscle strengthening exercises. To obtain the best results, it is recommended to do the exercises under the supervision of a physiotherapist. A sports massage at this point of time by a professional is quite beneficial. In case surgery is required, it should be followed by a rehabilitation program in order to normalize the movement of the legs. Recovery time for the surgery can get extended for several weeks.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.