How to treat a calf muscle injury

Written by laurie rappeport
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Calf muscle injuries result when a calf muscle pulls or tears away from the Achilles tendon. People who are involved in sports, especially runners, are most prone to calf muscle injuries. There are three grades of calf muscle injuries, ranging from slight discomfort from a muscle tear to severe pain from a complete muscle rupture. Whatever the level of muscle injury, the injury must be attended to immediately. If a calf muscle injury is not treated and rested as prescribed serious complications can result.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Ice
  • Ace bandage
  • Heel pad
  • Ibuprofen

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  1. 1

    See an orthopedist immediately if a calf muscle injury is suspected. Look at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons website (see "References") to find a qualified orthopedist or orthopaedic surgeon. The AAOS lists orthopaedic surgeons who are licensed by their state board of orthopaedic surgery. Conduct a search for an orthopedist in the area.

  2. 2

    Begin first aid for a calf injury even before the first visit to the orthopedist. This includes resting the affected limb, applying ice, bandaging the limb with an ACE bandage and elevating the limb.

  3. 3

    Put a heel pad in the shoe of the affected limb. Heel pads can be purchased at a shoe store that specialises in orthopaedic shoes. The orthopedist will be able to provide a listing of such stores in the area.

  4. 4

    Take ibuprofen for pain. Do not take anything stronger unless supervised by a physician.

  5. 5

    Slowly rehabilitate the calf muscle, but only under the advice of a sports injury professional or rehabilitation therapist and only when the attending physician gives her approval. Exercising the injured calf muscle, even gently, can cause complications if done too early or incorrectly.

Tips and warnings

  • Runners and athletes are most prone to calf injuries. These injuries are often caused by ineffective warm-up and warm-down routines, uphill running, suddenly increasing running times, dehydration, dietary deficiencies and an improper running technique.
  • Before embarking on a running routine, research the correct way to run, warm up and warm down and hydrate. Consider adding a multivitamin to the daily diet.
  • If a calf strain is suspected do not continue to exercise or run on it. Attend to the injury immediately and don't let complications set in.

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