Calf Strain and Injury Rehab Exercises
A calf strain can happen without warning, usually when you are pushing off or stretching excessively with your legs. Running, changing directions quickly, or jumping can lead to a painful calf injury. Often, a calf strain comes on suddenly with a sharp, stabbing pain in the lower back of the leg. You may also notice swelling, surface tenderness, and discoloration at the site of the calf strain. Rehab is usually recommended after the initial healing period. Kinetic Sports Medicine specializes in assisting patients with non-surgical activity-related injury care to resolve general and sports injuries as well as the pain associated with joint disorders.
The Anatomy of the Calf
The calf actually includes two muscles located in the back of the lower leg. The larger of the two muscles is called the gastrocnemius, and this muscle makes up the typical mass on the backside of the leg. The smaller muscle is called the soleus, and this muscle sits directly under the gastrocnemius. The calf muscles attach to the Achilles tendon at the base of the leg, which enables the calves to work in conjunction with the feet for physical activity.
A number of issues can occur with these muscles. The least serious injury is a calf strain. Rehab may be warranted after this injury that typically happens when you stretch the muscle further than its typical length. Most people heal readily with this type of a pulled muscle after applying ice, elevating the leg, and allowing it to rest. A more serious injury involves a calf tear. Rehab will take longer with this type of injury, because the muscle fibers actually tear to some degree. The time it takes to heal will depend on the severity of the tear. A rupture involves a complete calf tear. Rehab will be extensive with this severe injury.
How to Rehab a Torn Calf Muscle
Rest, ice, elevation, and compression are the standard elements of calf rehab. Exercises can begin once the muscle has healed enough. A physician will often recommend anti-inflammatory medication immediately after an injury to help manage pain and swelling. Massaging the muscles may also help with healing, but this shouldn't be done until several days after the event to prevent increased bleeding at the injury site. Once a patient has recovered enough to flex and stretch the calf muscle, it's time to begin calf rehabilitation exercises. These exercises will strengthen the muscles gently. It's important not to perform any movements to the point of pain while recovering.
Kinetic Sports Medicine
The medical team at Kinetic Sports Medicine, led by Dr. Richard Kim, is committed to offering the most innovative non-operative treatment options to resolve muscular injuries, such as calf strains and tears. Dr. Kim utilizes minimally invasive procedures, including non-surgical stem cell injections and platelet-rich plasma injections to enhance healing and reduce pain. Contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kim to learn more about our services.