Monday, 29 July 2013

Grade 2 calf strain

This time of year I often see many runner coming into clinic complaining of calf strains. With many people running on the downs failure to warm up or stretch after running often leads to overloading of the calf muscles leading to tearing of the muscle. A Calf muscle injury is common in sports. Calf injuries are sometimes known as a ‘pulled Calf'. The term 'pulled muscle' comes from the description of how the injury takes place. Usually the Calf muscle is forcibly stretched beyond its limits and the muscle tissue becomes torn. A tear in the Calf muscle is referred to as a Calf strain and depending on its severity it is classified as a first, second or third degree strain: A first degree strain is damage to a few muscle fibres. A second degree strain is damage to a more extensive number of muscle fibres. A third degree strain is a complete rupture of the muscle itself.

 Calf Muscle Strain Signs & Symptoms

With a grade one Calf strain the signs may not be present until after the activity is over. There may be a sensation of cramp or tightness and a slight feeling of pain when the muscles are stretched or contracted. With a grade two Calf strain there is immediate pain which is more severe than the pain of a grade one injury. It is confirmed by pain on stretch and contraction of the muscle. A grade two Calf strain is usually sore to touch. A grade three Calf strain is a very serious injury. There is an immediate burning or stabbing pain and the athlete is unable to walk without pain. The muscle is completely torn and there may be a large lump of muscle tissue above a depression where the tear is. After a few days with grade two and three injuries a large bruise will appear below the injury site caused by the bleeding within the tissues.

 Calf Muscle Strain Treatment

Resting may be the common sense approach, but it is one that is often ignored. This is unwise, since it does not take much to turn a grade one Calf muscle strain into a grade two, or a grade two Calf strain into a grade three. As a general rule, grade one Calf strains should be rested from sporting activity for about 3 weeks and grade two injuries for about 4 to 6 weeks. In the case of a complete rupture, the Calf muscle will have to be repaired surgically and the rehabilitation afterwards will take about 3 months. I treat calf strains with a combination of massage, acupuncture, kinseotaping and advice on when to return to running.

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