Calf Muscle Strain
Calf muscle strain also called 'Tennis Leg' is a term used to describe stretches, tears, or incomplete ruptures of the large calf muscles (gastrocnemius).
Straining your calf muscles, happens when lunging or pushing off one leg to get to a wide ball or serve. May also happen with daily activities, such as running to catch a bus or climbing stairs. It feels like being kicked in the leg from behind. The calf muscle strain sufferer feels an quick severe sharp pain, turns around to see who kicked them, only to discover that no one is there.
This type of injury usually occurs in middle-age athletes, as we age muscle flexibility decreases, experience early stages of muscle loss and degeneration due to the aging and/or inactivity.
Signs and symptoms of the injury can be obvious, sudden, sharp or burning pain (sometimes along with a popping sound), swelling to the area, a bruise often develops and area very tender to the touch. You can walk but by altering your walking pattern, often walking on the toes to prevent upward bending of the ankle.
There are three grades to a calf muscle strain injury.
- Grade 1 - a minor tear of the muscle (10% of the muscle fibers). You may be able to continue your activity because the pain is minor twinge in your calf. The calf muscle feels achy and tightness for two to five days after the injury, recovery for healing is 7 to 10 days.
- Grade 2 - partial tearing of the calf muscle (90% of the muscle fibers). You will feel sharp pain and minor to moderate swelling of your calf. Walking and flexing your foot down (pressing the gas pedal) will cause pain. The calf muscle feels achy and tightness for a least a week after the injury, recovery for healing within about 4 to 6 weeks
- Grade 3 - complete tearing of over 90% of the calf muscle or rupture. This is the most painful of all the grades of calf muscle strain, causing immediate severe pain, considerable bruising and swelling in the calf. Walking will be aided with crutches, achy, tightness for about 30 to 35 days, recovery for healing within about three to four months.
Note: As the pain may appear high up in the back of the calf and can be confused with deep venous thrombosis, acute compartment syndrome, and cellulitis all which is a much more serious life-threatening conditions. If you have not had a specific event you should seek medical attention to rule this out. The doctor should preform a MRI for correct diagnosis between the two conditions.
Treatment - What You Can Do!
For years, doctors, trainers, and other medical professionals have recommended RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) to treat the pain and swelling of fresh injuries, chronic pain, and after any re-injury.
Mild, moderate and severe cases of calf muscle strain injury (tennis leg) are best treated with conservative home therapies. Seldom should even severe cases need surgical repair.
Although RICE can help to treat these symptoms, ice and freezer gel packs reach temperatures so low they can cause cryoburn, an ice burn on your skin. The problem is, up until now there hasn't been another option to treat painful conditions and injuries, so ice and freezer gel packs have been the only choice.
Fortunately, you no longer have to settle for these ice cold methods that are uncomfortably cold against your skin, provide short term relief, cause ice burns, and numb your skin and underlying tissue beyond feeling so you don't even notice the ice burn until it's too late. The Leg/Arm Freezie Wrap® allows you to treat your calf in an effective and convenient way. Cold Compression Therapy works by stopping and slowing nerve and cell function in the injured area and reducing swelling that can block blood vessels.
This is important because once blood vessels are blocked or damaged, they can no longer carry oxygenated blood through the tissue and tissue cells begin to break-down. Without cold compression therapy cellular break-down and tissue damage continues as the cells do not get the oxygen they need to survive. By limiting the amount of damage done to your calf muscles, you also limit the amount of healing that needs to occur. This is a very important step to heal calf muscle strain injuries faster and with less pain!
Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy
Once the inflammation in your leg has been reduced, providing extra blood flow and strengthening the tissue in the muscles, tendons, and surrounding area is recommended.
Using Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy (BFST®), will speed your recovery and heal your leg more completely preparing it for strengthening exercises. BFST® increases the amount of blood that flows naturally to your soft tissue to nourish your tendons, ligaments and muscles, improving elasticity and increasing the healing process.
This increased Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy to your leg muscles is greatly needed. Our natural process for repair to damaged tissue is to heal the quickest way = scar tissue and adhesions.
The growth of scar tissue and adhesions can lie in any direction. Ultimately what causes stiffening in the leg muscles, entrapping a nerve, restricting movement, less elasticity, poor circulation, and flexibility.
Unfortunately, scar tissue may plague you for weeks, months and maybe even years, depending on your level of activity and the amount of conservative treatments you have done during your rehabilitation. Scar tissue is a major problem, especially when it comes to re-injury of your leg muscles. When dealing with scar tissue it is always important to:
- listen well to your physician and if conservative treatments are recommended and remember to stick to your (daily) treatment plan using these therapies
- frequent use of the Leg/Arm Freezie Wrap® will help reduce the swelling very quickly. Much of the pain you feel will be from the swelling, and you will be surprised how fast the pain drops off once the swelling is down.
- the Leg/Arm Inferno Wrap® is a safe, electromagnetic energy device that will help reduce scar tissue and increase blood flow to the area (thereby accelerating the body's own healing process).
- when applied before stretching, the Leg/Arm Inferno Wrap® will help flush the area with fresh blood. This will help improve your range of motion and prevent re-injury.
It may seem hard to believe, but our Leg/Arm Freezie Wrap®and Leg/Arm Inferno Wrap® home therapy products will assist you in recovering from your injury faster and reduce the chance of degenerative conditions by maximizing blood flow where it is needed most, reduce swelling and inflammation induced pain.
Continuing he healing process with resting your leg. Limit your movements that may be aggravate your calf muscles, leading to reinjury. Muscle related injuries can easily turn from a grade 1 calf muscle strain into a grade 2 or a grade 2 into a grade 3 calf muscle strain injury.
Grade 1 - Calf muscle strain walking with the use of partial weight bearing crutches. The use of quarter to a half inch heel lift in both shoes may also offer some relief by reducing tension on the strain in your leg. Resting from activities that aggravate your calf muscle should be about 3 weeks.
Grade 2 - Immobilizing the calf with the foot slight pointed downwards (in something called a "hanging enquinus position") for anywhere between three to six weeks to allow the muscle fibers to heal. Physical therapy program with stretching exercises will be essential once out of the cast/brace before returning to activity. Resting from activities that aggravate your calf muscle should be about 4 to 8 weeks.
Grade 3 - Immobilizing calf as mentioned with a Grade 2 calf muscle strain. Resting from activities that aggravate your calf muscle should be about 6 to 12 weeks.
Passive Strengthening of Your Calf Strain
We spend hours on our feet, simple daily routine, enjoy recreational activities, exercise regularly, or participate in athletics, you need to give your body proper care and attention. Why risk having to limit or give up your favorite weekend activity, your exercise routine, or even your job due to an injury?
Gentle stretching is important to help align scar tissue along the normal lines of stress and strength in the healing calf muscle is enhanced. Scar tissue is fibrous and brittle, without the correct alignment your left with weak calf muscles. The slightest daily activities you have pain and tightness in your calf, greatly increasing your chance of re-injury.
Once your ready to start strengthening your calf (always speak to your Medical professional). A simple device such as the Passive Stretch Device - Knee Flex, gently glides you thru the process of stretching, strengthening and flexing your calf muscles in a passive away.
- Increasing your calf muscles elasticity and strength
- Help align forming scar tissue
- Increasing range of motion
- Increasing over all leg and hip strength
With calf muscles passive stretching you will build healthy flexible tendons and muscle and a speedy recovery. Strengthening your whole leg and Achilles tendon and preventing re-injury to our leg.
Your full recovery depends on your commitment to stretching and strengthening exercises. Your physical therapist will develop an effective program during your clinic visits for your recovery. But ask any therapist, the key to a successful recovery is commitment to at home exercise! Many physical therapists in Canada are already using this amazing technology to help their patients recover. Now YOU can access the Knee-Flex® Passive Knee Stretch Device, to use in the comfort of your own home!
Don't settle for minimal treatments when the best products are ready and waiting for you! If you want to get back on your feet with fast, effective, and safe home therapy treatment, speak to your doctor or therapist about incorporating the Leg/Arm Inferno Wrap® and Knee-Flex® Passive Knee Stretch Device into your training, recovery, and every day maintenance of your legs, ankles, and feet.
Prevention and Promotion of Lifelong Health
If you want to avoid re-injury, or manage pain and increase circulation for lifelong health benefits, an Leg/Arm Freezie Wrap®, Leg/Arm Inferno Wrap®, and Knee-Flex® Passive Knee Stretch Device, will provide exceptional results. Why spend time in pain, off from work, and missing out on your active lifestyle when you can be proactive about your injury and the health of your body? Talk to your doctor about incorporating a regular routine of using a Freezie Wrap® and Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ into your everyday health regimen.
Learn More About SUPERIOR Calf Muscle Strain Treatments
Learn more about how the Leg/Arm Freezie Wrap® is designed to be the most effective cold compression wrap on the market today.
Learn more about how the Leg/Arm Inferno Wrap® helps with the healing process.
Learn more about how the Knee-Flex® Passive Knee Stretch Device helps with the strengthen and stretching process.