How to treat a torn calf muscle

Written by carole ellis
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While it will hurt like the dickens, a torn calf muscle generally is not that big of a deal. However, it will take some time and patience for it to heal correctly. Should you suspect that you have torn your calf muscle, you should verify this with a physician to make sure that you do not actually have a more severe injury. You can start treating the injury right away though to speed your healing as much as possible.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Ice pack
  • Towel
  • Elastic bandage
  • Pillow
  • Ibuprofen
  • Heating pad

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  1. 1

    Stop what you are doing immediately. If you feel a strain, a pulling sensation or a pop in your calf, then you need to stop whatever physical activity you are doing right away. Continuing will exacerbate the injury.

  2. 2

    Place an ice pack on the area of the calf that is painful. You may want to wrap the ice pack in a moist towel before placing it on your skin to keep it from getting too cold too fast. You can ice the calf for 20-minute intervals, giving the area a 20-minute break between ice sessions. You can continue to apply ice to keep swelling down for the first 48 hours if necessary.

  3. 3

    Wrap the calf. Use the elastic bandage to lightly but firmly wrap the injured area. This will help with swelling and will ease some of the pain in the area in many cases. Do not wrap the calf too tightly, but just create a gentle pressure on the area. The wrap should not increase the level of pain that you are experiencing.

  4. 4

    Elevate the injured area. Use the pillow to prop up your calf. Sit on a sofa or bed if possible, and place your leg on top of the pillows. This is particularly important when you sleep. If you do not elevate your leg it will likely start to throb during the night and can swell or become inflamed.

  5. 5

    Take a mild pain reliever like ibuprofen every eight hours. You should only do this if your doctor allows you to take ibuprofen for headaches or other mild pain issues. If you do not usually take over-the-counter pain medication, then consult a physician first. The pain reliever may also help prevent additional inflammation.

  6. 6

    Rehabilitate your injury with sports massage. If your physician approves, then once your torn calf muscle is no longer in danger of becoming inflamed or further irritated, you can speed your recovery with a daily massage placing gentle pressure on the area. Check with your physician before you attempt this, since doing this too soon or in the wrong way for your particular injury can make the problem worse.

Tips and warnings

  • If you suspect that you have any type of muscle injury, you should confirm your diagnosis with your doctor.

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