A torn or pulled muscle, also known as a muscle strain, occurs most often in the calf during physical exercise. Commonly, the muscle will tear while you are accelerating or changing directions. You can identify a torn muscle by a popping noise with immediate pain following the pop. If you are suffering a muscle tear in your calf, your muscle will contract and your toes will immediately point down. You may see bruises around the torn muscle due to internal bleeding of the muscle. There are a few steps you can take to heal your torn muscle, including visiting the doctor as soon as possible.
See the doctor to determine your bone is not broken and you have not torn any tendons. If you have been given a confirmation of a torn muscle by your doctor, he or she will let you return home to rest it.
Follow the R.I.C.E. treatment. The R.I.C.E. treatment is useful for any sprain---it stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Wrap your torn muscle with an ace bandage and elevate it so any blood does not collect in the foot. Place ice on the foot and rest it for the first few days.
Participate in passive stretching. When you do not feel any pain in your torn muscle, which may take up to a few weeks, you can start gently stretching it. If you have torn your calf muscle, while sitting down with your leg extended, flex your toes and reach slowly towards your foot with your hands. Repeat approximately 10 times. If you feel any pain, do a more gentle stretch like rolling your ankle up and down and from side-to-side.
Participate in active stretching as soon as you can walk on your foot. Stand and reach down to touch your toes. If you are suffering from a calf injury, very gently lunge your non-injured leg in front of the injured leg to stretch out the muscle.
Practice resistance exercises. Take an exercise band and place the centre of it under your toes. Hold either end of the band with your hands and gently press your foot down while lifting on the bands. Gently stretch your leg while using the resistance band, paying specific attention to stiff or sore areas.
See your doctor when you feel you are pain-free. He or she can determine whether or not you will be able to do vigorous exercise again.
Drink plenty of water while recovering from a torn muscle.
If you return to regular physical exercise too soon, you risk developing a chronic injury.
Tips and warnings
- Drink plenty of water while recovering from a torn muscle.
- If you return to regular physical exercise too soon, you risk developing a chronic injury.