Typically calf tears occur due to extreme muscle movements. This can occur when playing a number of sports from soccer and baseball, to skiing or running. Most often the pain feels as if you were struck in the back of the leg and you can sometimes feel the tear or pop. It is typically quite painful and makes moving around extremely difficult. Due to swelling, the calf muscle can sometimes become extremely large. Pain will usually flow throughout the leg making its way down to the Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle.
One primary culprit of calf muscle tears is muscles being too tight. With age, the degradation of muscles is inevitable, but people who have regular light exercise schedules are less likely to have complications with their muscles later in life. Properly stretching is one key to keeping muscles in top shape, otherwise typical stress could do more damage than it should to muscles.
It is quite common for these types of calf muscle tears to heal by themselves. Surgery is rarely needed but is recommended when other treatment options fail to yield improvement. Rest and icing the muscles can help with recovery time and pain relief.
It is important after a tear to control the swelling of the muscles. There are multiple ways to control the swelling including elevating the leg or laying on your stomach so the leg rests on the shin. Keeping pressure on the affected area to help with internal bleeding. Typically an ace bandage is applied but anything can be used to compress the area. Icing the area is also extremely important in combating pain and swelling. Resting the damaged muscles like this is key to recovery and subjecting the recovering muscle to stress could damage the muscles even worse.
There are many ways to control pain during this type of muscle tear. As mentioned before, ice helps with the pain as do different types of ibuprofen such as Advil or Tylenol. If the pain is extreme your doctor may prescribe a stronger medication for pain relief. For the first few weeks it is imperative to keep weight and stress off of the affected leg. For movement your doctor will typically suggest either crutches or a type of leg support. Moving the muscle as little as possible is important in making sure that it heals properly in the right place. Due to gravity if the muscle tears completely part of the muscle will want to fall down through the calf and so for the first week it is highly important to keep the affected leg horizontal while healing. With this type of recovery it is recommended that you take something such as aspirin to help the healing blood from forming clots. However, you should consult your doctor with any questions about recommendations on medication.
Prevention is important in all muscle care and keeping a light exercise routine can make all the difference. Remember to stretch muscles before exercising and ice after a hard workout. Helping your muscles with exercise will greatly improve your mobility later in life. Strong muscles deteriorate much slowing keeping you stronger for longer. Exercise is key to a long, healthy and mobile life so working out your legs can keep you mobile and help prevent from future tears in the calf muscles.