A Calf Strain is a strain or tear to the calf muscle, most common at the point it joins the tendon.
• Sudden sharp pain at the back of the calf muscle.
• Depending on severity the athlete may be unable to walk properly.
• There may be bruising.
• Calf muscle strains are graded 1,2 or 3 depending on how bad the injury is.
The calf muscles consist of the Gastrocnemius which is the big muscle at the back of the lower leg and the Soleus which is a smaller muscle lower down in the leg and under the Gastrocnemius.
Both muscles act together to point the foot. If the Soleus muscle is damaged you might get pain lower in the leg and also pain when you contract the muscle against resistance with the knee bent.
Muscle strains are graded from 1-3, with grade 1 being a minor tear, with up to 10% of fibres involved. A grade 2 tear involves up to 90% of the muscle fibres and a grade 3 is over 90% of fibres torn, or a full rupture. This usually occurs at the muscular tendinous junction or the achilles tendon itself.
A twinge of pain in the back of the lower leg.
May be able to play on
Tightness and aching in the 2-5 days after.
Sharp pain in the back of the lower leg.
Pain when walking.
There may be swelling in the calf.
Mild to moderate bruising.
Pain on resisted plantarflexion (pointing the foot)
Tightness and aching for a week or more.
Severe immediate pain.
A sudden pain at the back of the leg, often at the muscular tendinous junction
Inability to contract the muscle.
Considerable bruising and swelling.
In the case of a full rupture, often the muscle can be seen to be bunched up towards the top of the calf.