What causes calf muscle tear?
A calf muscle tear is one of the most common injuries in sports. Sometimes, the condition will be referred to as calf muscle pulling, in an effort to describe the process in which injuries to the calf muscle takes place. Usually, the condition involves the calf muscle being stretched forcibly beyond its normal limits and the tissues in the muscle eventually become torn. Such a tear on a calf muscle is called a calf strain. Depending on how severe the muscle tear is, it is categorized in three degrees of muscle strain.
As far as the first degree of muscle tear is concerned, the damage is sustained only to just a few muscle fibers and the tear isn’t as serious. Second degree strains involve damages that are much more extensive and affect several muscle fibers. Finally, a third degree calf muscle tear refers to complete rupturing of the calf muscle itself and the condition can be very serious. The calf muscle is a group of muscles that consist of the Soleus, Plantar is muscles and the Gastrocnemius, which are situated on the lower leg at the back. Calf muscles play a critical role by pulling the heel bone up when one is walking or running.
Signs and symptoms of calf muscle tear
As far as a first degree calf muscle tear is concerned, the signs and symptoms might not be present as such until the person is done with the activity. Sometimes, a sensation of cramping and tightness can be felt during the stretching and contracting of the muscles. This can also be accompanied by a slight pain feeling. For second degree calf muscle strain, one can feel the pain immediately and it is much more severe, unlike in a first degree injury. This pain is confirmed during the contraction and stretching of the calf muscle. This is also accompanied with soreness of the muscles, which can be felt by touch. Finally, a third degree calf muscle tear is quite a serious injury and one feels immediate stabbing pain or an acute burning sensation. The pain is so severe that the athlete is not even able to walk properly. This is because the calf muscle is torn completely and bleeding might even be evident as well.
The most common sense approach is taking some good rest but, unfortunately, this is something that competitive athletes tend to ignore too often. However, this is very unwise for the athletes as they only end up worsening the condition. In fact, with continued activity, it is quite easy for a first degree calf muscle tear to escalate to a second degree and for a second degree tear to resort into a third degree tear. It is thus very important to avoid any sporting activity immediately to give the calf muscle sometime to heal. If the calf muscle has been completely ruptured, surgical repair is very important, which should be followed by rehabilitation. RICE protocol should be followed for immediate calf muscle treatment, which involves taking rest, applying ice, compression and then elevation. It is very important that you don’t apply ice to the skin directly. More active rehabilitation is very important and gentle resistance exercises will also help a lot. The calf muscle function can also be improved through core stability and core strength exercises, which can go a long way in reducing the effects of calf muscle tear.
Prevention tips for calf muscle tear
A calf muscle tear can be prevented by doing some warm-up before training and matches. This can help a lot in decreasing the stretch injuries of the muscles. Doing a good warm-up is thus very important and should be done about 20 minutes before any physical training or sporting activity. You should even consider professional warm-up exercises designed especially for enhancing recovery after matches and training sessions. Doing a cool-down helps in getting rid of the waste products from the muscles and this is a perfect time for you to do some stretching exercises.
Engaging in exercises that help you cool down can go a long way in preventing a calf muscle tear. These exercises help you to maintain good flexibility and strength of your calf muscle and can reduce calf muscle straining to a very great extent. It is very common for tight muscles to be associated with strains and doing some stretching is very important to prevent injury and maintain muscle strength. Using shock absorbing insoles is also important as it helps in reducing stress on calf muscles and helps in prevention of calf muscle injuries as