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What are Calf Muscle Strain (Injury), its causes, treatment, and prevention

Here in this article, learn about what is calf muscle strain or sprain, various causes by which it happens. Also, find the ways of treatment and prevention to calf injuries.

Minlun Sat
Last updated: 03.06.2020
Calf Muscle Strain or Sprain | Sports Social Blog

In this article, we will only focus on what to do when you have a pulled calf muscle, the causes of that, and how to treat it. We will not focus on what happens where there is a muscle tear in the calf region.


What is a calf injury?

In Image: Calf Muscle

The calf muscle is made up of two muscle fibers that are at the back of your lower leg called the gastrocnemius and the soleus muscles. Any kind of tear, stretch, strain, and pressure to these muscles results in calf injury. The various levels of Calf injury determine the longevity of your recovery period.


  • Calf muscle strain or sprain:


Now, many athletes have experienced some form of a calf injury in their playing career. This is one of the most common injuries that athletes across all sports platforms undergo. The main cause of this injury is due to the force and pressure applied when taking off from the surface either for a run, leap, jump, or dive.


In footballers, this injury is also caused by extreme external force usually by contact from another player while kicking the leg. This causes the muscle to contract and thus sends a jolt of pain to the body. At times, it results in loss of movement for a few seconds.

  • Cause of Calf Sprain or Strain:

In Image: What Causes Calf Pain? (Source: Very Well Health)

1. Explosive Movement: when an athlete goes into a movement that allows his body to elevate above the ground with much force there are times when the muscle can strain from the stretch or the pull. The wrongful landing or shift in the body will rupture the blood vessels thus causing a sprain or strain to the calf muscle.

2. Exercise: Sometimes simple exercise or a sudden jolt on uneven surfaces can cause sharp pain and momentary paralysis from the pain.

3. External Impact: In football, many athletes when fighting for the ball can accidentally come in contact with the muscle by kicking the calf this will cause inflammation or swelling from the impact.

4. Stretching: When the body is not warm enough or the body has been fatigued, simple flexibility exercises can cause a sudden catch to the muscle or overstretch the muscle causing it to swell or bruise inside.


  • Treatment of Calf Sprain or Strain:

1. REST: It is one of the best ways to recover faster by allowing the muscle to relax without much movement either by holding weight or stretching through movement.

2. ICE and BANDAGE: When there is muscle inflammation it is always good to ice the area of the swelling. This allows the muscle to relax. You can follow this by using medically approved bandages to keep the muscle from experiencing too much exertion by movement.

3. BALMS: If there is much swelling, bruising, and pain, applying for muscle-relaxing balms help. The sting from these balms will cause the inflammation to die down a bit.

4. MASSAGE: A simple rub down in soft, circular motion helps the muscles to stretch, thus keeping the muscle from contracting.


  • Prevention of Calf Strain and Sprain:

1. Make sure that when working on explosive exercises there is a proper technique used and the form of the exercise done is correct.

2. Do not play a sport on an uneven surface because the pressure and shock created with contact from the ground can cause the muscle to over-stretch.

3. When playing any sport make sure to stretch the muscles properly and wear the right gear.

4. If one is going to play a sport or work out after long periods, make sure to not stretch the muscle in haste but in periodic and rhythmic patterns so that the muscle is not yanked apart.

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