Calf muscle tear: Gastrocnemious Strain

Patient

Q: I tore my calf muscle about a month ago. It was a grade 2 tear, used crutches for a week and have increased pressure daily. Now can walk with no to little pain. Area is sensitive and painful to the touch. Bruising noted on lower leg and ankle. Still severe swelling daily. Should I return to the doctor or will this resolve with time?

Doctor

A:   A medial calf injury is a musculotendinous disruption of varying degrees in the medial head of the gastrocnemius muscle that results from an acute, forceful push-off with the foot. This injury occurs commonly in sports activities (e.g., hill running, jumping, tennis), but it can occur in any activity. A medial calf injury is often seen in the intermittently active athlete, often referred to as the weekend warrior. Initial treatment of a medial calf injury includes relative rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE), and early weight bearing, as tolerated. The initial treatment should continue for 24-72 hours. Ice therapy is best instituted over a damp elastic wrap, which also provides compression. Preventing the limb from hanging dependently prevents further swelling. The use of crutches with a feathering gait and bilateral heel lifts is indicated if normal gait is compromised. Active foot and ankle Range Of Motion movements can be carried out if there is pain-free ROM. Use anti inflammatory medication to control pain and swelling (Aleve, Motrin). The healing time is different for each patient in particular, this period can last about 8-12 weeks, depending on the degree of tissue damage at the moment that the injured was sustained.

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