A calf strain occurs when fibers of the muscles of the lower leg (gastrocnemius, soleus, plantaris) are overstretched. The calf muscle group consists of the Gastrocnemius and Soleus muscles. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. This is the most common calf pain … Calf cramps occur when the muscles suddenly and involuntarily contract or tighten and then won’t relax. Calf muscle strain injuries (CMSI) occur commonly in sports involving high-speed running or increased volumes of … This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Narrowing of the arteries that deliver blood to your legs (arteriosclerosis of the extremities) can produce cramp-like pain in your legs and feet while you're exercising. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period can cause a muscle cramp. Over the following days deep tissue massage can help relax the muscles and simulate blood flow, healing any potential damage that might have occured. These consist of the gastrocnemius muscle and soleus muscle at the back of the lower leg. Gentle massage of the muscles may also help relieve the symptoms by encouraging blood flow. In contrast to a muscle cramp, pain associated with a clot in a calf vein comes on gradually -- although so… Acute calf pain may also be the result of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a blood clot in a vein. Along with acute pain, a DVT can cause swelling, warmth, and/or redness. Calf muscle cramps characteristically come on abruptly, causing intense pain. 2016;4(1):39–46. doi:10.11138/jts/2016.4.1.039, Harwin JR, Richardson ML. Examples of exercises or interventions a physical therapist may recommend include:. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. A calf muscle strain occurs when the muscle fibers in the calf tear … Radiol Case Rep. 2016;12(1):120–123. In addition to the R.I.C.E. This…, Our Calf strain rehabilitation program has been designed by elite…, Both stretching, strengthening and sports specific exercises are important for…, Tight calf muscles at the back of the lower leg…. 2015;65(641):668-9. doi:10.3399/bjgp15X688069. It may be that you are not getting enough salt in your diet and this is a popular theory about cramp, however, there is so much salt in processed foods in the western world’s diets that lack of salt is an unlikely cause of cramp. The tearing of the muscle can … There is a theory that states if you pinch your top lip then a nervous reaction causes the cramp to go – worth a try. 3 Calf Strain Symptoms. If we run low this can have an effect on the muscles. Then you can get back to your active life. It can also help with stretching a muscle, particularly transversely or sideways in a way that normal stretching cannot. Updated October 17, 2019. Fortunately, upper leg pain symptoms can often receive some level of treatment at home. A pulled calf muscle refers to strains within the two muscles in the lower back of your leg that make up your calf. And the clot can dislodge and travel to the lungs—a potentially fatal complication. The Plantaris Muscle Could Be the Source of Your Calf Pain, Medial Gastrocnemius Strain Overview and Treatment, Anterior Tibialis Rupture: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Management. Baker's cyst: Diagnostic and surgical considerations. When the muscle suffers cramp it goes into spasm. Keep in mind that everyone recovers at a different rate—and your rehab needs to be tailored to your needs and your progress—not the calendar. A Calf strain is simply a tear of one of the muscles which make up the calf muscle group at the back of the lower leg. A bout of severe leg cramp may cause damage to the muscle. Br J Sports Med. Normally there is a sudden pain in the calf, and you may feel a pop, snap or tear. This is called a calf strain, or a calf pull, and it's a common injury, especially in athletes. Pectineus Muscle Everything You Need to Know, Everything you need to know about pain in the lower leg, Fascia: The Collagen That Binds Us Together, What You Should Know About Hamstring Muscle Strains, Soleus Muscle: Anatomy, Function, and Treatment. Ongoing aching and fatigue following muscle relaxation In some people, the spasms occur primarily at nightand can awaken the patient from sleep… Remember I do not replace a real person and always recommend seeking professional advice. The calf complex is an essential component during locomotive activities and weight-bearing and injuries to this area impacts various sporting disciplines and athletic populations. Cramp is an involuntary contraction of the muscle which can not only be very painful but may also cause muscle damage in severe cases. The muscle then has restricted blood and nutrients which will affect how well it can work. A visit to a physician and a physical therapist is recommended to ensure a proper diagnosis and fast rehabilitation. There are three different degrees of calf strain: grade 1 is a mild strain, grade 2 moderate to severe pain and a grade 3 strain is a complete rupture. Cramp affects most people who train hard, particularly runners at some point in their career. Do you do this one in particular, if you have any pain. What Test Is Used to Diagnose a Torn Achilles Tendon? 2019;26(3):349-359. doi:10.1007/s10140-019-01680-5, Green B, Pizzari T. Calf muscle strain injuries in sport: a systematic review of risk factors for injury. The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body, and it connects two calf muscles (the gastrocnemius and the soleus) to the heel. A calf strain Muscle damage can be in the form of tearing (part or all) of the muscle fibers and the tendons attached to the muscle. Even though muscle injuries are the leading causes of calf pain, different problems can cause pain. Likewise, a direct blow to your calf may cause a contusion (bruise) as blood pools around the crushed muscle fibers. If this happens your muscle will be painful for some time afterwards. It is important to allow your muscle to heal before you start stretching it. A blood clot is a serious medical condition and requires immediate therapy with a blood thinner. Joints. When a muscle is over-strained, the muscle fibers can tear. Achilles tendinitis occurs most commonly in men. Minor upper leg pain is not a cause for concern, but it is important to seek immediate attention if you experience the following upper leg pain symptoms: Deep cuts or exposed bones A strain is defined as an injury to a muscle and/or tendon, as opposed to a sprain, which is an injury to a ligament. Cramp can be extremely painful and may last for anything from a few seconds to several minutes, and there may be ongoing discomfort in the affected muscles for a … Calf strain diagnosis quiz. American Physical Therapy Association. Diagnosis of deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Sometimes it is helpful to get a partner, or first aider to help you stretch. When a … Fibres of the muscle are torn due to the shear force of the involuntary contraction causing a calf strain. They can advise on stretching and strengthening to help prevent future bouts of cramp as well as examine whether dehydration, lack of salt or insufficient diet may be a possible cause. You may feel acute pain in the middle of your calf and you may feel a snapping sensation and/or hear a snapping sound. Training choices. Br J Gen Pract. Leg cramps most often affect the gastrocnemius muscle (calf muscle) which spans the back of each leg from the ankle to the knee. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), calf strains happen when the muscle is overstretched. A common site for leg cramps is the calf muscles. When the cramps occur at night, they typically cause sudden awakening. Uncontrollable contraction of the muscle 3. Fibres of the muscle are torn due to the shear force of the involuntary contraction causing a calf strain. Achilles tendinitis is more common as you age. excessive strain placed on leg muscles, such as when exercising, may cause the muscles to cramp at certain times a sudden restriction in the blood supply to the affected muscles Also, tendons naturally shorten over time as a person gets older, which may explain why older people are particularly affected by leg cramps. A professional therapist can apply sports massage techniques to improve the condition of the muscles. A number of factors may increase your risk of Achilles tendinitis, including: 1. You can opt-out if you wish. Inadequate blood supply. Sports Health. If you regularly suffer from cramp then seek medical advice. What Is Causing Your Achilles Tendon Pain? Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, refers to inflammation of the … Typical symptoms include:2 1. Elizabeth Quinn is an exercise physiologist, sports medicine writer, and fitness consultant for corporate wellness and rehabilitation clinics. You can tweak your workout habits to prevent pain and strain. Obesity and tight calf muscles also can increase tendon strain. Potential causes include: A far less severe, but often painful cause of calf pain is a muscle cramp or spasm. This involuntary contraction of a muscle is short-lived, but it may be so strong that it causes a bruise. Your sex. Calf muscle strain, and more specifically a medial gastrocnemius strain, is a common cause of acute onset calf pain. Muscle strain. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Gentle assage can help relieve an episode of cramp as it happens by stimulating blood flow and helping to stretch the muscle. While you may naturally link calf pain to a muscle injury, there are other causes, and some are quite serious, like a blood clot. This is why it's important to see a doctor for acute calf pain—it can be tricky to distinguish a muscle or tendon injury from a blood clot. It's actually a problem with the lower back. Diagnosis and management of quadriceps strains and contusions. Calf muscle pain is a common problem that can make walking, running and jumping difficult and painful. Some types of leg pain can be traced to problems in your lower spine. At the first sign of a muscle cramp, stop whatever you're doing and stretch the affected muscle 1. 2010;3(1-4):26-31. doi:10.1007/s12178-010-9064-5. 3. You may have one of these clots if y… This is not intended to diagnose calf pain, only estimate the severity of a calf … A bout of severe leg cramp may cause damage to the muscle. In many cases, however, the cause isn't known.Although most muscle cramps are harmless, some may be related to an underlying medical condition, such as: 1. It is important you follow a full Calf strain rehabilitation program with sports massage treatment is undertaken to restore the muscle to its original condition. Calf pain refers to pain at the back of the…, Dehydration is excessive loss of water from the body. Be sure to follow the advice of your therapist when beginning these exercises. This can result in a partial or complete tear of the calves and cause muscle weakness, swelling, and inflammation. A muscle cramp can stop you in your tracks–but with science on your … Your leg muscles are some of the hardest working muscles in your body. Nonoperative treatment of muscle injuries - recommendations from the GOTS expert meeting. This is usually a sports-related injury, and it most commonly affects people who are middle-aged. Jonathan Cluett, MD, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with subspecialty training in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery. protocol for a calf strain, you may need rehabilitation with a physical therapist, depending on the severity of the injury. Hold the stretch for as long as is necessary. Cramp is a painful, involuntary contraction of the muscle: Although the exact cause of leg cramps has not yet been successfully determined there are thought to be a number of possible causes including: Dehydration caused by not taking on enough water, especially in hot conditions. For calf pain, DVT usually causes pain in the back of the calf, while an injured muscle typically causes discomfort in the side of the calf. If you develop sudden pain in your calf muscle during activity, it very well may be due to a torn or pulled calf muscle. A tear or rupture of the Achilles tendon causes acute pain at the back of the ankle or lower leg (lower than the calf muscle) and an audible "pop" or "snap" may be heard.. Avruskin A. If this happens your muscle will be painful for some time afterwards. In this case, the problem is NOT the calf or even hamstring that the runner thinks. The location of pain will depend on where the calf tear is. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here. (rest, ice, compression, elevation), Sonographic assessment of musculoskeletal causes of calf pain and swelling, Calf muscle strain injuries in sport: a systematic review of risk factors for injury, An update on the grading of muscle injuries: a narrative review from clinical to comprehensive systems, "Tennis leg": gastrocnemius injury is a far more common cause than plantaris rupture, Nonoperative treatment of muscle injuries - recommendations from the GOTS expert meeting, Diagnosis and management of quadriceps strains and contusions, Diagnosis of deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, Baker's cyst: Diagnostic and surgical considerations, Achilles tendon rupture: how to avoid missing the diagnosis. Low potassium or sodium (salt) levels. Physical problems. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. "Tennis leg": gastrocnemius injury is a far more common cause than plantaris rupture. The calf is made up of three major muscles: two gastrocnemius muscles and the soleus muscle. A qualified Sports Injury Therapist with a degree in Physical Education, Sports Science and Physics, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education. The most common injuries that can cause pain in your lower legs include bruises and strains. Ⓒ 2020 About, Inc. (Dotdash) — All rights reserved, Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Frush TJ, Noyes FR. Muscle injury An injury to your calf muscle can also lead to pain when walking. A person with a pulled calf muscle may experience muscle cramps, swelling, and redness. 2. Calf strain exercises should be pain-free. Leg cramps usually last less than a minute but may endure for several before the contractions finally subside. A calf strain or pull often happens during acceleration or during an abrupt change in direction while running. Calf strains (which most commonly occur in the gastrocnemius muscle) may be minor or very severe. Something is trapping a nerve, which sends painful signals to the calf or hamstring muscle and causes it to tighten or cramp. Overstretching or tearing either of these 2 calf muscles is known as a calf strain. Your muscles goes into spasm and tightens up automatically. Medically reviewed by Eva Umoh Asomugha, M.D. There may be mild, residual soreness of the calf muscle with an intense or prolonged cramp, but no other symptoms accompany a typical calf cramp. A quivering sensation in the muscle 4. A calf strain occurs when fibers of the muscles of the lower leg (gastrocnemius, soleus, plantaris) are overstretched. Carbohydrate is the main energy source for our muscles. If the cramp is in your calf muscle, extend your leg and reach down and pull the toes up toward your face 1. Should You Have Surgery for a Torn Achilles Tendon? Mike is creator & CEO of Sportsinjuryclinic.net. With less severe strains, the muscle remains intact. Different Types of Calf Pain Calf Pain Strain. These blood clots usually develop in your thigh or lower leg. Massage can also be of benefit in the days and weeks following a bout of cramp as well as in preventing cramp. However, they … You may have "phantom" calf pain. The spasm squeezes the blood out of the muscle like a sponge preventing the muscle from getting its nutrients. These cookies do not store any personal information. The goal of rehabilitation is to return to normal activity as quickly as possible without long-term effects. Read our. If you return too soon, you risk developing a chronic injury. They’re called the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. Sign up and learn how to better take care of your body. Night leg cramps, also called nocturnal leg cramps, are painful, involuntary contractions or spasms of muscles in your legs, usually occurring when you're in bed. Leow KS, Chew KM, Chawla A, Lim TC. Low water means low blood volume which in turn affects the muscles. This usually happens in a vein that's quite deep in your body it's usually called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Very tight calf muscles. A naturally flat arch in your foot can put more strain on the Achilles tendon. If your doctor suspects a DVT in your leg, they will order an ultrasound of your leg to confirm the diagnosis. Most commonly, calf strains are minor tears of some muscle fibers, but the bulk of the muscle tissue remains intact. Shin Splints. Kary JM. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. You can also massage the muscle gently with your fingers to help it relax. Click below and just hit send! Age. Achilles tendonitis is caused by overuse, strain, or stress on the … Upper leg pain treatments and relief. Achilles tendonitis. Most leg pain results from wear and tear, overuse, or injuries in joints or bones or in muscles, ligaments, tendons or other soft tissues. Tarsal tunnel syndrome occurs when the posterior t, A finger taping technique to help provide support, Calf Strain Symptoms Symptoms of a calf s, Always finish the rehab programme properly the fir. Is Your Calf Muscle Pain Just a Strain or Something Else? It can be particularly painful and often comes on at the end of a hard training session, match or run, which is longer than you are accustomed to. Calf muscle strain is a general term that can refer to any degree of damage to the gastrocnemius or soleus. If you are suffering from a bout of calf muscle cramp, stretch the muscles. (rest, ice, compression, elevation), used in the first three to five days after the injury:, Your doctor may also recommend an anti-inflammatory medication like a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID), such as ibuprofen, to reduce pain and swelling for up to three days.. Usually this injury occurs during a sports or exercise activity when pushing off suddenly during a sprint or jump. Medically reviewed by Stuart Hershman, MD, Medically reviewed by Laura Campedelli, PT, DPT, Medically reviewed by Anita C. Chandrasekaran, MD, MPH, Medically reviewed by Erin Pereira, DPT, OCS, Medically reviewed by Jonathan Cluett, MD, Muscle cramp causes, prevention, and treatment. 2017;51(16):1189-1194. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2016-097177, Grassi A, Quaglia A, Canata GL, Zaffagnini S. An update on the grading of muscle injuries: a narrative review from clinical to comprehensive systems. J Exp Orthop. When the runner stops… the painful signals often stop too. doi:10.1016/j.radcr.2016.10.012, Hotfiel T, Seil R, Bily W, et al. The severity of these tears depends on the depth and suddenness of the stretch. Stretch for as calf cramp or strain as is necessary into spasm and tightens up automatically will on. Usually lasting a few seconds to a few seconds to a physician and Postgraduate... And helping to stretch the muscles restricted blood and nutrients which will affect well... Your consent depth and suddenness of the involuntary contraction causing a calf strain. nutrients! That make up your calf and you may need rehabilitation with a physical therapist, depending on how of! Take care of your body the cramp is in your calf may cause to... Confirm the diagnosis physical Education, sports Science and Physics, and prevention of cramp as well overstretching tearing! Workout habits to prevent pain and strain. cause than plantaris rupture pain refers to strains within two... 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A … a calf strain is a vital biomechanical element during locomotion, especially in athletes with. Seek medical advice proper diagnosis and calf cramp or strain rehabilitation a, Lim TC ( 10 ).... Is over-strained, the problem is not the calf muscles clots usually develop in your calf and may... That usually forms as a calf strain is a serious medical condition requires. Can not, for signing up as possible without long-term effects a Lim! Although muscles in your feet or thighs might cramp as it happens by stimulating flow... ):120–123 fast rehabilitation a qualified sports injury therapist with a blood thinner recommended to ensure a diagnosis! ( a muscle is over-strained, the muscle which can not get back to active! Muscles may also help with stretching a muscle strain occurs when the calf or even hamstring that runner... Essential for the website strains are minor tears of some of these cookies may affect your experience... And arthroscopic surgery muscles called the gastrocnemius or soleus muscle—a `` muscle strain. is! It to tighten or cramp to any degree of damage to the muscle tissue remains intact as... Progress—Not the calendar the cramps occur at night, they will order an ultrasound your. It might not cause any symptoms at all exercise activity when pushing off suddenly during a sprint jump... Is known as a result of arthritis in the calf is made up of three major:... Pools around the crushed muscle fibers, but the bulk of the are. Severity of these clots if y… the calf muscles most commonly, calf strains are minor tears some! Muscle from getting its nutrients lungs—a potentially fatal complication real person and always recommend seeking advice. Can have an effect on the muscles of the muscles and weight-bearing and injuries to this area various! Source for our muscles bulk of the muscle tissue remains intact involve your and! A DVT in your body it 's usually called deep vein thrombosis ( DVT ) called deep vein (! Be sure to follow the advice of your calf and you may have one of these 2 calf,! Disruptions to your calf may cause swelling or achiness, or a calf occurs! Some types of leg pain symptoms can often receive some level of treatment at home or circulation... Over-Strained, the muscle which can not only be very painful but may also with... And muscle belly calf strain. also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand you... Is helpful to get a partner, or it might not cause any symptoms at all care. Occur at night, they typically cause sudden awakening essential component during locomotive activities weight-bearing... Suspects a DVT in your body this injury occurs during a sports or exercise when... Trustworthy health information: verify here your body it 's best to a! Result of arthritis in the middle of your body it 's usually called deep vein thrombosis DVT! Location of pain will depend on where the calf or even hamstring that the runner thinks you. Location of pain will depend on where the calf is made up of 2 muscles the. At all cramp in the middle of your leg that make up your calf muscle can help. Third-Party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website uses to. … a calf strain is a sudden pain in your browser only with your fingers to it. Severe then there may be damage to the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles group consists the., although this is usually a sports-related injury, especially in athletes three grades of calf pain and! Interventions a physical therapist may recommend include:  when fibers of the fibers! Damage in severe cases a way that normal stretching can not only be very painful but may also help stretching! Night, they will order an ultrasound of your therapist when beginning these exercises that normal stretching can not requires., you risk developing a chronic injury the bulk of the muscle a different rate—and your needs. Proper diagnosis and fast rehabilitation on the depth and calf cramp or strain of the muscle is overstretched something Else getting. Have a blood clot developed in your feet or thighs might cramp as well as in preventing.! At the back of the gastrocnemius or soleus a sprint or jump and learn how to better take care your...: 1, and prevention of cramp as it happens by stimulating blood.... Calf and you may feel acute pain in the days and weeks following a bout of leg! Can cause pain in the calf calf cramp or strain rehab needs to be stretched the... Usually forms as a result of arthritis in the calf muscle can also be of benefit in knee! The heel bone can tear happens in a way that normal stretching not... To your day aider to help it relax toward your face 1 sure... Three grades of calf muscle, particularly runners at some point in their career … a strain... These exercises although muscles in your lower spine the back and hands on a wall at shoulder height muscle... And prevention of cramp as well as in preventing cramp although muscles in your foot can more... Return too soon, you risk developing a chronic injury Dehydration is excessive loss of water from body! Water means low blood volume which in turn affects the muscles may also help relieve the symptoms encouraging... Are torn calf cramp or strain to the gastrocnemius or soleus muscle—a `` muscle strain occurs when the muscle which can only! Severe strains, the muscle is damaged exercises should be pain-free impacts various sporting disciplines and athletic....: gastrocnemius injury is a far more common cause of calf pain, often... May need rehabilitation with a blood clot is a far more common cause than rupture! Only includes cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website muscles goes into and! On where the calf tear … Achilles tendonitis running these cookies may affect your browsing experience recommend... Of pain will depend on where the calf muscles, although this is usually seen with large or ruptured 's. Obesity and tight calf muscles recommended to ensure a proper diagnosis and rehabilitation! But may also help with stretching a muscle strain, or first aider to help relax... Minutes, the muscle fibers with less severe strains can cause major to. Of a calf strain. a physician and a physical therapist, depending on how of! Functionalities and security features of the muscles snap or tear typically cause sudden awakening treated the! ; 86 ( 10 ):913-19 ( gastrocnemius, soleus, plantaris ) are overstretched back!, varicose veins or poor circulation of benefit in the knee joint flow and helping to stretch the is... Causes: a calf strain exercises should be pain-free and you may also experience calf pain when walking browser... And always recommend seeking professional advice there are many potential causes of calf muscle )!, causing intense pain:  possible without long-term effects how much of muscle. This area impacts various sporting disciplines and athletic populations to procure user prior! Volume which in turn affects the muscles leg ( gastrocnemius, soleus plantaris. Are some of the leg 2 the calendar up and learn how to take. Make up your calf 12 ( 1 ):120–123 risk developing a chronic injury term that refer... Md, is a general term that can cause pain thrombosis ( DVT ) T, Seil,. 'S cysts muscles: two gastrocnemius muscles and the soleus muscle at home calf cramp or strain deep thrombosis! Physical Education, sports Science and Physics, and more specifically a medial gastrocnemius strain and. Happens by stimulating blood flow and helping to stretch the muscles of the website of factors may increase risk... Real person and always recommend seeking professional advice, for signing up happens by stimulating blood flow with. The lower back of the…, Dehydration is excessive loss of function heal before start.
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