I think I pulled a calf muscle. Advice?

I went for a really easy run this morning with a group of friends. Much easier then I’m used to, and on a flat. However, I have been training a lot the last three weeks - cycling, running, and/or strength pretty much daily, so this might be an overuse injury.

Anyway, we were at the end of the run and all of a sudden it felt like my calf muscle sort of folded over itself. It felt like a bad cramp, but I’ve never had a calf cramp so wasn’t sure. I sort of hobbled/ran the rest of the way back to my truck and made my way home. I got in the shower and did some stretching while letting the hot water run over it. Drank a ton of water with a Nuun tab (electrolyte replacement), ate a banana, rollered it out, iced it, and bound it up with an ace bandage. It’s now been about four hours and it kills to go down stairs (up isn’t bad if I do it flat footed rather then on my toes), do any sort of flexion movement, or bounce on my toes. Ack!

Is this a pull not just an extended cramp? Is this bad enough to visit my physical therapist about? Any advice to speed healing?

Thanks. :slight_smile:

Might be worth checking to see if you have torn your achilles.

Personally, I couldn’t put any weight at all on my foot when I did a full tear, but like you stretched and walked out the partial that lead to it. Another poster here was walking around with a full tear and didn’t have any pain till the next day (IIRC).

Thanks! I don’t think it’s an achilles injury. The pain is closer to the middle of my calf, slightly to the inside. I have no swelling or bruising (at this point).

I’m going to see if I can get in to a physio tomorrow for an assessment. I really hope it’s not serious.

When you were injured, what was your recuperation time and routine? Were you able to do any exercise?

The first (partial) tear, I carried on as usual. The leg ached and stiffened up when I rested, but came right when I walked. This faded out over three/four days.

With the full tear it was a little unusual because I tore at the top, where the muscle splits into two tendons and only one of those was torn. It was treated the same as a standard tear at the base. The only difference being that I still had movement of the ankle.

As I said, I couldn’t put weight on the foot at all. Intense pain. I still don’t know if it was the cast or the drugs kicking in, but when they forced my foot down (like a ballerina on point) and plastered it into place, it was instant relief.

I was in a toe-down cast for four weeks, so I wouldn’t put weight on the foot at all. I had full under the shoulder crutches to get around. Then they changed to a walking cast for another four weeks but I was still told to take it easy and needed calipers to assist walking.

Once the second cast came off, lots of stretching and strengthening exercises and pretty much just getting back into my usual routine.

There are different options for recovery, but mine was a fairly standard one.

Sounds more like a pull than a cramp. If you show bruising or swelling, it’s a pull. I’ve had numerous calf cramps and never had swelling.

If the calf hurts under activity but is not painful to touch, you have a mild pull.

Workout to the point of discomfort, stop immediately at that point.

Very gentle stretching, you don’t want to try for flexibility but encourage extra circulation to the injury.

Painful to touch and disability with activity, it’s more severe.

Continue ice, NSAIDs, elevation. Tape with an Elastic bandage or sports tape.

Gentle stretching and non-weight bearing exercise for a few weeks as long as pain is not present.

Just an aside: Drastically slower than usual running can actually cause injuries as you change your gait.

This is how it feels. I’ve been massaging the area on and off all afternoon and it’s not really tender. It only hurts with flexion motions.

Having it wrapped with an ace bandage seems to make it feel a bit better.

Hm, good point. My pace was quite a bit slower because of the group I was with. I never considered my change in gait because of that.

Thanks for your advice guys! :slight_smile:

Moved MPSIMS --> IMHO.

Hmmm, very interesting. Calf muscle, AKA veal, is not commonly pulled. That is a method generally reserved for BBQ pork. Calf is usually sliced thin, beaten with a hammer, lightly battered and then fried. Have you tried that?

You sound like a very knowledgeable doctor. PhD in Culinary Arts, perhaps?

I have beaten, battered, and totally fried calf muscle. Also, the rest of the muscles in my legs on particularly long and hilly runs.


It feels much, much better today. I was worried it would seize up overnight, but it seems my icing, wrapping and stretching yesterday, followed by a good sleep, seemed to be the right way to go about things.

Good, that’s different to either tear I had.

Too much Food Channel. Baseball (or Duck Dynasty!) season can’t come soon enough.