Monday, August 06, 2007

Torn Calf Muscle Redux

Could it only be just over a year ago when I first tore my right calf muscle? What I find most interesting is that this article has generated the most search hits on my blog - over 35%. Also of interest is that this spring and early summer, I noticed the frequency of these search hits increasing.

I guess this makes quite a bit of sense, as the weather improves and people get outside more frequently and over-do stuff. So, if you are one of those people who arrive here via a search for "torn calf muscle", welcome! Please leave a comment on how you injured yourself (accident, sporting, shark bite, etc.) and what your recuperation and recovery experience was. Especially helpful would be stretches to loosen up the ole' calf muscle to prevent this from happening a third time.

"Did he say third time?", I hear you mumble? Why, yes I did. However, this time it was the left calf muscle. Thus, it seems as if the universe has balanced out my damaged lower leg muscles once and (hopefully) for all.

We were at opening day for the Vista Soccer Club, and all three of our kids are playing this season. Besides team pictures, there are several booths there for the kids and/or adults who still think they are kids (that would be me).

My son ran a timed sprint, and set the record for his age group at that early hour. He encouraged me to give it a try, and I did so, even though my left calf had been bitching at me for several weeks that something just wasn't right. I didn't stretch, warm up, or do anything to remotely warn my calves what I was about to ask of them.

Two steps into the sprint, and I feel a pop in my left calf muscle, and immediately pull up and hop around like a wounded stork. Stupid, stupid, stupid! I applied ice immediately, went home, and applied R.I.C.E. therapy. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

Comparing the initial discomfort to my previous injury, I knew that the new tear wasn't as bad as the old one. Instead of feeling as if someone hit the back of my leg with an aluminum baseball bat, the new injury felt as if something just popped loose.

So, as of this Monday morning, I am limping around the office like a goon, but relatively pain free. I will be taking it extremely easy over the next 4 weeks, with a goal of returning to the water and surfing gently at some point after that. Wish me luck!

[ Update: Please see this later post about my calf muscle rehabilitation, and add comments there. ]

394 comments:

  1. Looks like no one has commented yet so I'll be the first. I am sitting on my couch Google searching torn calf muscle because I just did my left one a few hours ago. My scenario: I am 35 and in decent shape. I ski all winter and as spring was just starting here, I went out on a 2 hour bike ride yesterday. Today, I joined my wife for some recreational volleyball at the park. No stretching of any sort before playing, of course... I was at the net and jumped up to hit the ball as it came over the net. I felt a "pop" in about my midcalf and it felt like someone threw a rock hard at my calf. I remember my mind thinking "why did my wife just kick a rock into me?" This quickly turned into "Oh no! I know what just happened." Immediate pain in the calf and my toes pointed straight down. I could not put any weight on the leg. Next stop was the ER because my fear was a torn Achilles. Doc checked it out and decided no complete tear of Achilles. After poking around for a while, I was feeling much better. Doc asked me to put some weight on it. Sure, why not? As I gingerly put weight down on my left leg, the sharp pain hit and I nearly collapsed. OK, half splint on the lower left leg and an appointment for an ortho and MRI later this week.

    As I read much more information about people and their injuries, it is clear there is a wide range of recovery duration and options.

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  2. Sorry to hear about the injury, Anon. I can only hope that yours will start to feel better in about a week, as mine did. However, don't do anything stupid once it starts to feel better, as it is *still* injured. I stupidly re-injured my left calf muscle the first time I had a tear, and boy did I feel dumb.

    Good luck!

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  3. Hi guys,

    Thanks for sharing your calf war stories. Here is mine.

    At age 55 I decided to give slow pitch softball a try after a 15 year "rest" and a gain of 40 extra pounds. I was surprised to discover that I was the kid out there.

    First time out was a gas. Swung the bat fine, fielded grounders OK, threw great after the first 25 or so. The experience was fun but left me a bit sore. Five days later was the next game. While playing third base, I did a cross over step to backhand a grounder down the line...pulled my left hamstring. Earlier, I felt something pop in my inside elbow/forearm area. Turns out I either pulled a muscle or tore a tendon there as well. 8 days and lots of soreness later, I was left with nasty bruises on both but at least I was feeling better.

    Game #3. Batted and played first. Ultimate humiliation...a 63 YO lady ran for me the entire game but I survived, unscathed but sore.

    Today was game number #4, 5 days since the last. Now comes the part relevant to this thread. This time I "ran" for myself at bat and played short fielder. I had lots of action in the field and the inning before had to hustle to score from second. Lots of long dormant muscles/sinew was stressed.

    While in the field a ball was hit to my left and I just tensed as if to go for it when I felt a pop in my mid to lower left calf. It did not feel like I was struck or stabbed or anything traumatic, just a distinct pop that caused me to go straight down probably more due to fear than pain.

    I was helped off the field and iced it for 15 minutes before gimping very gingerly back to my car which was about 150 yards away...yikes! It turns out I couldn't manage any "push off" with my left foot while walking without intense pain. I almost had to walk sideways or backward as dumb as it sounds.

    My Subaru outback is a stick and it was almost impossible to use the clutch, but I managed to get home.

    It's now 12 hours since the injury. No swelling or bruising, and I have no pain except if I stand and try to walk. Then it's whoa-gee-momma pain! However, if my left knee is at a 90 degree angle while sitting or lying on my back I can flex my foot up and down but in the standing position it is very painful and impossible to flex the foot forward as if to walk.

    This is the weirdest part. My son was taken aback when he saw my calf from the rear while I was trying to stand up straight. Turns out I have sort of a hollow spot in my lower calf and it has what I would descibe looks like a vein running just under the skin like what most men have on the tops of their hands.

    I'm speculating that this is probably a part of my achilles tendon that has torn from the calf muscle and retracted towards my heel. A visit to the hospital may be in order tommorrow depending on how it goes tonight.

    I'm considering re-evaluating my decision to play softball. What do you guys think?.

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  4. Joe,

    I would hustle to the doctor ASAP and have it looked at. My doc said that if it was a bad tear, surgery may be needed. However, when he examined my calf muscle he said that he could detect no "voids", which it sounds like you may have.

    For all of my injuries, I attribute them to a lack of stretching beforehand and sudden acceleration causing the tear.

    I was thinking about trying to play some soccer again, but I know that my lower legs are not in the best of shape anymore, so I am currently in the same dilemma as you.

    Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

    Alan

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  5. Alright, here's my story, on Monday, I was walking out in a field with my client, who is an adult and disabled. I am a 49 year old female, not in the greatest shape, but actively losing weight and working on my fitness. So I was walking slightly uphill, she wobbled, I wobbled, put my foot down on an elevated spot and my heel dropped. Pop. Shriek! I thought I had the Charly Horse from hell, until it became obvious that the pain wasn't receding and I couldn't walk. Yup, I was stuck in the field with my disabled client. My MD assured me that its not a tendon, diagnoses is Undetermined tear of muscle, ligament, fascia. Go home, Ice it and come back in a week. Its been three days and the pain is still extreme. Sigh...

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  6. le' ouch, anonymous! Hopefully, after around 7 days, your leg will begin feeling normal. However, DON'T do anything stupid, as you can easily re-tear the muscle... Don't ask how I know that, just learn from my stupid mistake (see http://c600g.blogspot.com/2006/07/torn-calf-muscle.html ).

    Good luck, and I hope you feel better ASAP.

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  7. Thanks to all and especially Alan for giving us this forum to share info on our similar injury. I'm finding the advice and experiences very helpful.

    It is now seven days since my injury occurred and I never did see the Dctor.

    There's good news and bad news.

    First the good news...Just like Alan said, my left calf is pain free except if I try to walk with a 100% normal gate. It's the push off part from the ball off the left foot.

    If I try to stand on tippy toes with both feet, I can put maybe 20%weight on my left foot before feeling a twinge. Standing only on the toes of the injured side is out of the question at this stage. However, I feel my progress is wonderful compared to where I was 7 days ago. I feel I would be back to normal in about another 3 weeks except for...the bad news.

    I have 2 ruptured disks in my lower back for years that flare up at least once a year and cripple me. Well, the 150 yard crab gimp to my car after the injury triggered my back to go out.

    That will pass in a week or so as it always does and then I'm sure I'll be OK...that is, if my wife doesn't kill me in the meanwhile for being such a wuss.

    To the 49 YO female....

    I'm curious how you made it out of the field? Ambulance? Also, FYI...I never had any steady calf or heel pain. It only hurt if I tried to work the associated muscle/tendon group. Interestingly enough, on about the fourth day I was able to bear weight on the small toe edge of the foot first. Little by little the strength worked it's way toward the ball of my foot. The remaining weakness now seems to be centered over the second toe on the left foot. Walking on my left heel as if it were a peg leg for the first three days is what put the coup de grace on my back. I had to sit on an exercise ball to take a shower because I couldn't stand.

    I hope anyone doing a google search of achilles tendon tear, or injury or pulled calf muscle or torn calf muscle or pop in my calf muscle finds this blog. There, I think I have all the keywords/phrases in there.

    Best to all. I'll check in in another week.

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  8. I am 46, work out 3 times a week and have always been active and in good shape. In the last inning, with two outs, I went for an over the shoulder running catch (which I made) but felt the pop and went down. I used crutches the first two days because the pain was unbearable walking. Now 10 days later, I still can't walk without discomfort (or a bent knee), I am still swollen in my lower leg, and things just don't seem to be getting better. My reading tells me this is a Grade III strain/tear, but surgery is not necessary. It looks like a long road to recovery, so the playoffs are out of the question for me! I will use crutches to minimize use and see a sports medicine friend if things don't get better. He was team doctor for the pro basketball team here for many years, so I know he will have the right diagnosis. Good luck to everyone else.

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  9. This is my 3rd post on this blog. My first was the day of my injury. The second 7 days later. This one, my third is at the 14 day mark.

    Because of my back I've been basically housebound, barely able to straighten up. But today it felt better and I decided to try a 1/4 mile walk around my building. I'm pleased to report that I almost have a pain free normal gate. The only 'discomfort' is when I tried to walk up an incline where you need an exagerated push off from the ball of the affected foot.

    I still can't raise myself or even hold myself on my left tippy toes alone as a can with my right foot, but I can comfortably stand on both simultaneously.

    I'm confident that my calf will heal without surgery on it's own. I expect it to be there in about another 3-4 weeks if my back allows my to get out and exercise.

    To 46 YO 3X/week workout guy...Your injury seems way worse than mine and you're nine years younger and in better shape than I am. I suggest you see your Doctor sooner rather than later. 10 days is too long without seeing any improvement.

    At least you have a heroic tale and an awe struck crowd to go along with your injury. I hurt mine doing basically nothing other than trying to react to a ball hit in my direction.

    Best of luck to all and thanks again Alan for the blog. I think I have one more update left in me for next week.

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  10. Anonymous 46 year-old ball player,

    Sounds like a bad one! I hope you saw your doctor and got some professional advice. After 10 days, I would have expected a bit more decrease in pain than you note.

    Joe,

    Glad to hear that your back is being somewhat cooperative now, and allowing you to get up and about.

    I have been jogging again and getting back out in the surf a bit, and make sure to stretch out my calf muscles fairly well each time. I believe that once you tear a calf muscle, it heals but it is "shorter" than it was before, and hence more susceptible to tearing again.

    Also, going up on your tippy toes will probably be the last thing that you can do, at the end of recovery. That is putting pressure almost entirely on the calf muscle, and is in fact how I re-injured mine the first time (I had to jump up to get on a water slide).

    Good luck, and I look forward to your next update!

    Alan

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  11. Hey guys. Here is something that may surprise you. 5 days ago i was playing a pick up game of basketball. I was chasing down a loose ball when i slipped on a wet spot on the court and i felt like someone just hit me in the calf with a bat or something. Sure enough i tore my left calf muscle. Here is the surprising part. Im only 19 years old! I tore it five days ago and still cant really put any weight on my left leg or really straighten it out.Its starting to become black and blue. Everyone keeps telling me that someone my age should not get this injury. Thats kind of scary to me because im a very active person and i love to play sports. Right now im keeping it elevated and taking anti inflamatory pills. Just thought i would share my torn calf muscle story with you guys.

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  12. Who knew there were blogs devoted to this?? Not me - until this afternoon. I was out playing tennis when I ran for a ball and felt a pop in my calf and went down. It was extremely painful - I couldn't walk on it at all. My husband practically carried me to the car where we went straight to the emergency room. Now I am sitting here studying for the bar exam with my leg elevated on a baggie of ice. My calf is still excrutiating and it feels like it keeps cramping up around the tear. One question - most of you say you can't go up on your tiptoes, my mine hurts when I flex my foot in the other direction (towards the knee). Tiptoe is the only way I can put ANY weight on the leg - I'm wondering if I've been misdiagnosed... Also, the doctor told me that I should NOT compress or wrap the leg - but I keep hearing RICE - any thoughts there?? Also, how long will this last?? I want to get back out there on the court and I also can't imagine carrying my backpack while using crutches.

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  13. Gosh, I'm glad this forum is here! I am really struggling with this stupid injury. I "pulled" my left calf muscle about four weeks ago. I took it easy for about three days and then played softball on it. Tweaked it a bit but was able to finish the game. I then decided that something really wasn't quite right, and I needed to take some time off from any running activities, so I took off for two weeks. On Monday, I'm back on the softball field, hit the ball, take off for first, and POP!, I'm down on the ground. I had to crawl to first base (it was a triple hit for sure) and I said a few choice cuss words because it hurt so bad. I immediately applied ice and elevated my leg. Went to the doc the next day, MRI, x-ray, etc. Now I'm in a boot for a minimum of two weeks with the hopes of starting pt at the two-week mark. I've heard that you can spin while dealing with this kind of injury . . .anyone out there heard this or tried it? Working up a good sweat in spin class would be a welcome activity for me to get through this and not do something stupid too quick to re-injure my leg. Thoughts?

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  14. And P.S. to the 19-year-old - my doc said this can happen to anyone if you've got a tendency to have tight muscles, so although it seems to afflict us older folks, it is not unheard of in young people! Your advantage is that you're younger and will heal quicker! Hang in there!

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  15. Anonomyous tennis player -

    I imagine that how the muscle was torn will determine what types of muscle movement will cause the most pain. When you flex your toes down, the calf muscle is contracting, whereas putting your toes up will stretch out the muscle.

    As far as RICE (Rest, Ice, Cold, Elevation I think), that is what my doc told me. After one week, the cold won't do much, however.

    Finally, the timeline for me was as follows: 1 week until I wasn't in constant pain. 4-5 more weeks after that until I felt safe enough to try exerting the muscle "vigorously" again.

    Good luck!

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  16. Laura -

    A boot - wow! Must have been a doozie of a tear.

    And let me just say that I find it amazing that this one blog post of mine has generated so much traffic and comment. You'd think there would be a more informative site than a personal blog, but I guess that just isn't the case.

    Anyhow, I hope these and future comments detailing our experiences help others deal with this type of injury.

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  17. Great forum, although sorry to hear about all the painful injuries.

    I was playing 2nd base last night and lunged for a line drive. Felt a twinge in my left calf but decided to take a couple more steps in case it was just a minor cramp. BAD DECISION!! Had to pretty much hop off the field after that.

    5 hours later at the clinic, turns out I had torn it. No big bruises yet, but have to use crutches today at work as I cannot walk on it without pain. I can stand with some pain, but trying to take a step is killer. Also, every so often, it feels like I am getting a series of painful mini-spasms which hurt like heck, but am afraid to wiggle my foot around cause that hurts too.

    Oh well...Sounds like a couple of weeks rest and RICE will do it, but am itching to get back on the field.

    How long did it take some of you other ballplayers out there?

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  18. Thanks for the timeline Alan - It has been almost a week now since I tore my calf playing tennis and I still can't flex my foot without great pain - I can't even think about walking on that leg.
    I finally made a doctor's appointment for Monday, I hope he gives me good advice because I'm dying to get back to tennis, but afraid I will tear it again.

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  19. My tear seems to have happened in a unique way. I was on my feet all day at work (standing with little movement for 12 hrs) and 4 hours after I got home I started getting cramps in my calves which is normal for me after a day like that. My left calf cramped hard and I jumped up to press down on the ball of my foot to stretch it out (like I've done hundreds of times). Well I heard and felt it tear and hit the ground. The worst part was the cramp didn't go away so the pain was intense. A trip to the ER and no Achilles damage only the upper muscle was torn. I can put pressure on it, and even limp around on it but have stuck to the crutches in hopes of a quick recovery. I don’t really have any pain as long as I don’t straighten my leg while sitting. If I do the pain shoots all the way into my hamstring.
    My Orthopedic said no surgery, but 4 months until I am running any foot races. I'm hoping for 3 months after hearing about some of your injuries. I see him again this week and he will have the MRI results to confirm the amount of damage.
    The hardest part is managing the cramps I was already having. It’s only been three days since it happened so it can only get better.
    Good luck with all your injuries, it’s nice to be able to share the experiences of others. Thanks Alan!!

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  20. Well thank you for your great blog. It has helped me out a lot. I am 36 and overweight but very active. I coach little league and was doing a workout with my pitchers yesterday when I bet them that I could outrun them up a 60 yard incline to help push them alittle. They had stretched and worked out for about an hour already.
    I was trying to show them to run on the balls of thier feet so I let them take off so I could watch them and then try and pass them to movitate them. It took about 20 yards and I heard and felt the pop in my left calf. I turned around thinking someone had hit me in the leg with a baseball and then the pain started. Well I decided that was enough practice for one day and took my pride and my hurt calf back to my truck. I went home and started R.I.C.E for the rest of the day.
    I woke up this morning and it took about ten minutes to get from my bed to the shower (all of maybe 20 feet). My only pain is mid-calf but it is intense which makes it hard to walk at all. I was hoping to be able to umpire the 4th of July tournament but after reading these posts I am not so optimistic now. I guess I should get down and have an MRI to see how bad it is. Thanks to all that have posted and good luck in your recovery.

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  21. I too googled "torn calf muscles".. and was so pleased to find this informative board...

    Okay my story - out of shape 45 year old female...2 days ago - I had just stepped into the swimming pool for my first swim of the season-the children were chanting "cannonball..cannonball.."-I give off a big splash!! -- So off I went--I am not sure what actually happened- I think I may have been off balance on my take-off-- Onlookers said I gave off a loud "uggg"" on entry to the pool-once I hit the water I had the oddest sensation in my right leg- a popping, pulling feel- --Once out of the pool I was in intense pain and could not put any weight on my leg at all... got to a chair and elevated the leg and immediately applied ice.. terrible pain - upon touch-or movement--

    sat for about 6 hours before realizing that I would not sleep well with a leg that kept turning purple when i stood with crutches(which we had on hand from previous injury)--not knowing exactly what was wrong...

    Off to the E.R. - where they said I had ripped my calf muscle and they put an ace bandage on it--and gave me percocet for the pain-and said to see the orthorpedist on Monday...who might do an MRI to determine extent of damage and possible surgery....

    Well, just returned from ortho who confirmed that calf muscles were torn and ruptured.. he said "think of a piece of steak torn apart.. that's what you did" -- He put me into a full boot shoe to knee with a compression sock underneath--tightend me up and said try to stand up! (I was brought in a wheelchair!)--I used the crutches- still can't put full weight at all on my right leg- but at least I am not hopping anymore!

    I am to start Physical therapy next week - for 6 weeks - 2 times a week...Keep the boot brace on-- when hanging out take boot off and keep applying ice. Must take 1 aspirin twice a day to prevent clotting (which he said can occur with this injury)--he gave me prescription for vicodin (refillable-percocet not)- He said this injury will heal itself-at least 6 weeks before-- said that scar tissue will form and it will heal... in about 6 weeks will be able to move better- may be weak for a while..

    so here I sit with my leg elevated and my ice pack on--exhausted from this day-- I am having difficulty moving about... we'll see what happens--will keep you updated..so much for my summer of cannonballing the kids!!---

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  22. Well this is an update to the June 9th 10am comment. I went to see the docter and she said that I have a classic Grade 2 tear and that I shouldn't try and run for 8 weeks. I am walking with a little pain but much better after taking the last two days off work and using R.I.C.E.

    She has given me Ibuprofen and Vicodin but find I don't need the Vicodin except before bed so I can roll over without waking myself up. I will use crutches for a couple more days just to let the muscle relax as much as possible but it feels so much better than it did two days ago and the swelling has reduced significantlly.

    After how much better I feel today I am shooting to be umpiring by the 4th of July but decided to not push it to much if I can help it. Good luck all and I will give an update in about 4 weeks.

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  23. I was lucky enough to not need any prescription painkillers with my two calf muscle tears. I found that Ibuprofen and Acetaminophin (a.k.a. Advil and Tylenol - a safe combination as they have different active ingredients) did the trick for me, with my tears.

    Some of you sound as if your tear is worse, and of course pain is a very personal thing.

    I have been surfing more, and feeling a bit better although I am very conscious about what kind of stress I place on my still weakened calf muscles.

    The other day while swimming, my left calf muscle locked up in a vicious cramp, so I am still not back to 100% yet. So, either I still have a bit of recovery yet to do, or I'm getting old!

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  24. I am 50 years old last month an was going to play basketball again after 12 years just working too much. First day was last Wednesday, 2nd game I had a familiar pain shoot through my lower back. I was upset this happened the first day yet was determined to continue, bought a back brace, stretched, took some Advil and this morning at 6am I was ready. 2 games - no problem yet they asked me to play a 3rd. As I was running down the court I looked to see who kicked me in the calf, no one around, who through the ball that hard into my leg, no ball and just then I knew that big pop meant the game was over for me. I hobbled home , logged in to check on the recovery time and this is the first site I found. I have had many sports injuries over the years but I never had a calf problem, are my basketball days over?

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  25. Tonight i was jumping on my friend's trampoline and my foot got stuck between the springs on the circumference of the trampoline. I fell backwards and twisted my leg. I felt a sharp pain in my upper calf. After disentangling my leg out of the springs, I attempted to walk to a chair. However, I was unable to walk. I could put pressure on my foot with my calf only hurting a little, but i was not capable of moving the calf muscle to walk. I quickly put ice on it and elevated it. A few hours later, there is still a lot of pain in this area and I still cannot walk. The muscle feels very sore and stiff. Whenever i straighten it, it hurts a lot. I'm not sure if it is a pulled muscle, torn, or something worse? any thoughts?

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  26. Okay, after reading everyone else's experience with this injury I thought I should share my experience. This happened two weeks ago on 6/7/08.

    During a flag football game, a guy was coming right at me and I tried to get out of the way as we were both out of bounds. As I was getting out of the way, I slipped and felt a pain in my calf. I thought some one hit me in the back of the leg with a baseball or golf ball. I looked around for either, but nothing was behind me. There was a guy standing right next me, who asked what happened? I explained that I thought something hit my calf muscle, he said that is what it looked like. I was done with flag football for the day and on my way home I called my friend who is a physical therapist as I thought my achilles was torn. He explained that it could be either the achilles or a torn calf muscle. Made an appointment to see my doctor the next day.

    Went to see my doctor, who is the team doctor for an NFL team, about my injury. He told me I had torn my calf muscle and put me in a boot for three weeks and told me I had to go to PT after the boot.

    If you ever have had to wear a boot before you know how annoying it can be.(This is my third time in the same boot). However I couldn't really walk without it, let alone walk with it. My leg was very sore the first 10 days. I did a lot of icing and taking anti inflammatory. After the 10 days it started to bruise and still had some swelling but it started to feel better. I would walk around the house and to the store across the street without the boot. Even though I was walking with a limp, i had minimal pain. So on Day 13 from the injury i decided to go the whole day without wearing the boot, big mistake. By the end of the day, my leg really swollen and in pain not as bad as when I first injured it but the swelling and the pain was more than I experienced the past few days. I decided I will keep wearing the boot for the full three weeks.

    My goal is just to be back to normal by sometime in August, as I know injuries can be nagging future injuries if you do not properly let them heal and rehab them correcly.

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  27. Ok, here's my Torn Calf Muscle story..I should say Stories..I'm very active, hike, lift, swim, run..anyway, I played golf on a Wed and walked the course, a very hilly course. I noticed that day my calf muscles were really tight. I sell houses and the next day I was coming out of the back of a home and turned quickly and felt a POP and practically fell to the ground...the pain was huge, I limped around for a few days and then felt better...once in awhile, I would feel a twinge. So fast forward to two weeks ago. I am up at my house in Flagstaff and decide to go on a short easy run. I wasn't 10 feet from starting when I felt the pop again and new right away what happened. Except this time I fell to the ground. That was on a Sunday by Tuesday the side of my foot was black and blue. I went to my Dr. who confirmed that I tore a calf muscle. He put me on celebrex to reduce inflamation for a week and scheduled me for an MRI to ascertain the level of the tear. All in all not so bad. Today he called me and said the results confirmed what he thought. Start with light stretching with Ice. It should start healing. No physical therapy right now. The thing that surprised me was how much blood pooled in my foot. That is looking better now. It is still painful to touch. I am hoping that all should be good in a few weeks, but am going to be carefull with the calf for a few months.

    I am swimming with a bouy between my legs and using hand paddles for cardio. avoiding stress on the calf.

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  28. This didn't come through the first time. I'm active 48yr old male. Last fall I broke up a fight at, of all things, a volleyball game, when I lifted one boy up, I felt my left calf pop. My sunglasses cut my head, at ER and 9 staples later I kept telling the Dr. my calf hurt worse than my head. He finally put me in a knee brace, why I have no idea when it was my calf.

    Back home the Dr. said I snapped the plantarus muscle, no biggie he said, 6-8 weeks all will be well again. It did pretty much heal but this Spring I tried walking and then running and my right leg started hurting. I guess I injured it too and didn't realize it. I might add that when flexed, it appears as though a portion of the lower, medial side of my gastroc is missing. My wife said it looks like s shark took a hunk out of my leg.

    I've been officiating basketball games, and after doing 2-4 games a night, it really hurts like hell! A chiropractor friend of mine has been doing ultrasound and some PT on it. But still after games its really, stiff, sore and sometimes swells. Yes, I do R-I-C-E, and advil.

    The Dr. now says he thinks its either a Bakers Cyst or torn popiletus(sp). I know its not Bakers Cyst because no swelling behind my knee but I can pin point in upper part of calf to the spot that hurts and in my mid-calf.

    I have an MRI for this weekend but in the mean time I'm still officiating. I'm running backwards because it doesn't hurt as much and wearing a neopreen sleeve on my calf. I really stretch good, before, during and after the games.

    Will this EVER get better? I'm no longer coaching but want to take up officiating

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  29. Ok, here my story but it's still in progress so I can't tell you how it ends yet. I'm 47 yrs old and have been playing soccer sine grade school. I've been very lucky, no injuries at all to date. Yesterday I was playing on our 3v3 soccer league and felt a pop in my right calf. A few weeks ago I had some pain in my calf and rested then decided to start playing again when it felt better. After feeling the pop I limped off he field and put ice on my calf. I came home and used RICE until today. I can move my ankle without pain so I think my tendon is OK. I'll wait a few days and see if I need to see my doc. I need to travel in a week so I hope I can at least walk somewhat normally by then. Hope I can get back to playing in 4-6 weeks.

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  31. What a relief! I did a Google search to learn about my most recent sports injury, a torn calf muscle, and I stumbled across this blog. I guess I’m not the only middle-aged guy suffering from this ailment. What’s also a relief is that so many of the stories are identical to mine. What the heck, I’ll share my story.

    I will be turning 50 in exactly 1 month. While I have a sedentary job (I’m an attorney), I’m very active in that I play racquetball once or twice a week, play hockey once a week, ride my bike, play golf, and work out at the gym three or four times a week. On Thursday the 26th I was playing an early-morning racquetball game when, after I hit a shot and was waiting for my partner to returned his shot, I felt a “pop” in my left calf like someone had shot me with a gun. Needless to say I went down, and was in excruciating pain. My racquetball partner came over and thought that I had a cramp in my calf and started to knead my calf. My howls of pain immediately stopped him.

    I hobble off the court and up to the locker room literally dragging my left leg behind me as I could barely put any weight on it and couldn’t keep my foot in a forward position. I went to my doctor who wasn’t quite sure what the problem was, and referred me to an orthopedist. She came into the exam room and asked me what happened. As soon as I told her my story, she told me she knew exactly what had happened; I had torn my calf muscle. I was somewhat surprised that such excruciating pain could be diagnosed in such a glib fashion, but after having read the posts to this blog and seeing that my story is mirrored dozens of times, I now understand how she could be so sure.

    My doctor tells me I’m looking at a rehabilitation of six to eight weeks. She put me in a “ski boot” to keep my ankle at a certain angle to my leg to allow the calf muscle to stay in the same place so it can heal back together. The boot allows me some mobility as I can hobble around on the boot without putting any pressure on my calf. My doctor wants me to use crutches for the time being, but they are a major nuisance and I seem to be alright hobbling around. Without the boot I can barely take a step on my leg so I’m thinking I have a Grade 2 or 3 tear.

    I can’t imagine a worse time of the year for something like this to happen! I think I’m going to go crazy for the next six to eight weeks laid up and unable to exercise or participate in any of my sports activities. There’s rarely a day that goes by where don’t do some sort of physical activity and not only will my psyche be damaged, I’m afraid my waistline might also take a hit! I guess I’m going to have to watch those bowls of Häagen-Dazs! Mike from Minneapolis

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  32. Yes...I was googling "torn calf muscle" and arrived here! Hi everyone! Guess this isn't so uncommon...I just unwrapped my leg and it's starting to get yellow and bruise marks all over. Here's my pitiful story....I'm rehearsing for a work talent show w/ two other ladies (we're known as the "divas") on Tuesday eve...we were doing a 50's theme and we've been rehearsing for months...the night before the show, I'm doing the Chuck Berry goosestep to Johnny B. Goode and I swear one of the other divas kicks me in the leg...actually felt like a baseball going a 100 mph hit me. I'm the youngest diva at a week shy of 54 in fairly good condition...went to the gym that morning and did stairstepper.

    We applied ice and elevated for a bit, hobbled down two flights of industrial stairs and drove home where I continued to apply ice and elevate. The next morning I could hardly walk, but discovered the higher the heel the better. I fully intended to "go on w/ the show" w/ a muscle relaxer and pain pills, however,my more knowledgeable co-workers sent me to urgent care where, not surprisingly, the doc knew exactly what I did. He didn't say what stage I have, but I start pt this coming Weds.for four weeks. I'm not in too much pain now, in fact, as long as I hobble, I do pretty well, altho my foot is swollen. I can actually wear lower heeled shows now. I was given crutches and only used them the first day since I was more dangerous on them than hobbling.

    I don't like staying still, so I tend to get up and hobble a lot --I hope I'm not injuring it more, but it's not too painful unless I take a misstep and then it lets me know I've done something. I'm so bummed this happened now, cuz I love to dance at our local summer weekly rock concerts....I'm hoping this doesn't last too long. I've learned a great lesson.....stretch, stretch, stretch!!!!!

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  33. Hey there,

    Even though my calf injury happened a few years ago, I find I'm still looking for info about how to make a full recovery!!

    I was 32, and I had been playing tennis, like many of you. I limped to my car and in the ER they told me it was an "older person's" injury! The tear must have been a 2 or 3, as I could not walk without crutches for 2 months. It was extremely painful,

    I never had an MRI - is that weird? I'm not sure I was getting good care, esp. considering the severity. One year later I still had tenderness (it's the gastroc/soleus area, I believe), and discomfort working out, so I started more intense physical therapy.

    I'd say things have improved about 80%. I've lost 30 pounds since then (I guess the weight may have contributed to my getting the injury), but the problem is I still feel weakness if the leg. I was playing tennis this weekend, and my footwork is terrible. I exercise regularly so this is frustrating after all this time. Maybe I need to keep training the leg with weights for the rest of my life?

    Has anyone else had this lingering problem? Please, if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

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  34. I am 40 years old and work out 3-5 days a week. Always active. I am 6'1'' and about 200 pounds. I can still dunka basketball. Well, that was until 2 weeks ago when I tore my left calf. For the first 48 hours is hurt like hell and swole up really good. I saw a my doc on day 3 who send to a leg doc about 5 days later. He said if I could walk I was fine and it would just take a while to heal.

    I had some good bruising after the first week. Both on the front shin and then on the back were the tear was. It has been two weeks now. Bruising still there but I can walk fine now. Still can't jump or run. But I can bike so I am going to start that tomorrow about 3 days a week.

    I am very frustrated to say the least.

    Now that all the swelling has gone down you can see where the calf tore and moved over to the inside front. You can see difference for sure between my left and right calf.

    The only good news is that is has gotten progressivly better over the past two weeks.

    I want to post photos on my blog so I will post back here when I do.

    If anyone has fully recovered I would like to know how long it took you.

    Thanks.

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  35. Yes, the doctor too told me this is an injury that he sees in men my age, 48, that play tennis, or racquetball.

    I went for an MRI on Sunday, they did two, 1 on my knee and 1 on my calf. Hopefully I'll have the results back by Wednesday and will share them.

    In the meantime, I officated 5 basketball games on Saturday, I guess I'm learning how to run w/out hurting it too much but its still pretty sore today on Monday. Oh, my groin in my left leg is hurting now, I guess from compensating for my bad right calf. It's hell getting old!

    All you guys that have hurt it recently, I can promise you that it will take 6-8 weeks to heal it. In the mean time, one thing I do is ice it and I use an elastic band around the top of my foot and pull it back as far as I can and hold it for a 5-8 count. I do this about 10 times when I'm sitting in my recliner watching TV. I do it in the morning and night. When I'm sitting somewhere I'll end up doing it but without the band. I just raise my toes back as far as I can. It does hurt some but you will know when to stop. This has seem to really help me to be able to run up/down the gym floor. Good luck on recoup time.

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  36. Ok, so this is how it happened to me. I’m 30 years old (31 this August). I’ve lost about 80 lbs in two years and have taken up Muay Thai (think kickboxing with elbows and knees) and Brazilian Jiujutsu. I’ve had 3 Muay Thai fights in the last year and at my peak trained about 15 or more hours a week.

    I had hurt my right calf a while back, but thought it was ok because I let it rest. Earlier this month, I had what I thought to be a killer charlie horse. I stretched it out but went to train the next week like nothing had happened. I still felt sore but thought I would be fine. I started to jump rope and on the first landing POP! I could have sworn I heard AND felt it pop. I was man down for a few, but because I was helping teach the class I actually stayed hopping around for another hour before I iced it or elevated it.

    Went to see the doc and yup, I had a tear. Now I’m going crazy because it’s been 3 weeks today and I want to exercise but I don’t know what to do. I still have a cane (that I hate) and if I walk too much without it I start feeling sore again (which freaks me out.)

    What do I do??? I want to do something but am afraid I might over do it and end up worse. I’m on the DL and don’t think I’ll be fighting again until at least September. Any suggestions? And how long usually till this thing stops feelings sore?

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  37. Good to hear all your stories, but makes me wonder what's going on with me.

    I am a 32 yr old male, not overweight at all but not in top shape. I was playing softball and collided with another guy in the outfield while running to catch a ball. Initially I thought I just had a bruise, as it only hurt a bit and I finished playing the game, including running the bases and playing the outfield some more. I never heard a pop or felt like I'd been shot. I limped around for the rest of the evening and most of the next day. About 20 hours later the pain was getting to be too much and I went to the ER.
    After an exam, x-rays and 2 ultra-sounds the next day, I was diagnosed with a 4 inch tear in the gastrocnemius muscle and a large bruise in my lower leg. I was given tylenol 3's (codeine) and crutches. No boot or wrapping at all.
    I spent days 3-8 post-injury doing very little, limping around watching my leg swell up and bruise. I went to my doc yesterday and he said the swelling and bruising was normal, and to expect at least 3 weeks for recovery.
    It is now 10 days later and I still can't put weight on it with a flat foot, only with my leg out to my side at an angle so that my foot is not a right angle to my leg. It hurts a lot to bring my toes up towards my knee. Walking is near impossible, and results in a lot of pain after a short while. So I use my crutches to get around.
    After reading all of your posts, people putting weight on it after a few days and running/cycling in a 4 weeks etc, I don't think I'm going to be doing much for at least 6 or 8 weeks. Bummer.

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  38. Well, they called today about my leg. They told me my knee is good, no problem w/the ligaments or tendons and the meniscus is good too.

    The did say its a possible popilital cyst and something to do with the medial side of my gastroc, I don't remember what she said. However, they did say that I had an edema between the gastroc and the soleus muscle. So now I have to wait to see the ortho until July 24th and see what he has to say. Just my luck!

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  39. Wow, this is awesome! Misery loves company. My story started three days ago while playing softball. I'm 40 years old and I think I'm in pretty good shape...lift 3-4 times per week, run 3 miles twice a week. But that didn't seem to matter to my right calf as I rounded second trying to leg out a triple in softball. Halfway to third the dreaded POP! I crumpled like a burlap sack and thought I had been shot. Face covered in sweat streaked dirt thanks to my less than graceful fall, I was carried off the field by two teammates and immediately applied ice. I was able to crab walk back to my truck and drive my wife and I home. I work in physician practice management so the first thing I did in the truck was call an orthopedist we manage. It was almost 9 pm but he answered. I described the injury and circumstances, as well as the strange little dent in the calf. He diagnosed a fascial tear (different than tearing the actual muscle which is much more severe - when it comes off the bone).

    Told me to ice it and stay off of it for a day. Then, I had business at the hospital yesterday and he took a quick peek. Thanks to lots of ice and tons of stretching, again per his instructions, I was much better. No bruising and the swelling was relatively minor. He said it's very important to start stretching right away to prevent blood from pooling (that's what causes the pain and swelling - internal bleeding) in one spot. That's where you get the blood clotting that can be potentially dangerous.

    He recommended 10 days of no running but do other things that I can tolerate. Let pain be the guide for how far you stretch and how much you walk - but for sure get up and on it to loosen it up. So today, I'm at about 65% and hope to be at 90% in about 10 days.

    Best course of action is to see an ortho if you can. Every tear is a little different and require a slightly different course of action.

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  40. Happy 4th of July! Cannonballer here with my update after 4 weeks with my injury--very, very slowly improving a bit--I am still in the full boot (ankle to knee)--it is very cumbersome, heavy--but I can't walk without it or without the crutches/walker. I am not having the severe pain I was having those first 2 1/2 weeks whenever I put my leg down-especially in the morning after waking up. But, I still have extreme tenderness, soreness, and can't put full weight on it at all.

    I've was back to the orthopedist- (at the 2 1/2 week mark) and after updating him of the pain and discomfort- he was pretty straight to the point-saying what do you expect? these are serious injuries that take time to heal--then he reminded me that he gave me the vicodin with refills for a reason-use it!

    Been going to physical therapy twice a week- my leg feels like a dead weight! But I am moving it and flexing the foot...Again, being told it will take time to properly heal. FYI -they use warm packs on my calf before I begin the therapy-afterwards, it's iced.

    So- to all of you that are suffering with the same problem--accept that it will take time to heal, it's painful and not fun! There goes my summer! I will update again--in the meantime, stay off the injured leg, continue to R.I.C.E. -it really does help!

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  41. Greetings Fellow Calfsters! I am a very active 43 year old male and college-level football referee. Exactly three weeks ago I competed in a 10K race. I regularly run about 25-28 miles a week (6 miles on Tues, 9 on Thurs and nice long slow distance runs of 12 miles on the weekends) so running a little 'ol 10K is nothing- or so I thought! I just learned the hard way not to get too cocky!

    Having knocked out a 13.1 mile half marathon 2 1/2 months ago in 1:45, I figured I'd just pick up my pace for the 10K (and keep in mind I am a 6'5" 210 lb former tight end so I thought my .5 mara was a decent time for a bigger dude.)

    When I discovered at the 5 mile mark that I could finish in about 44 minutes, I started getting excited and picked up the pace just a bit more. With only 150 yards left and the finish line in sight, I made an asinine decision that just caused me three weeks of pain and frustration. You guessed it: I broke into a full sprint to "finish strong."

    I was about 12 paces into the sprint when a sniper bullet struck the meat of my right calf- at least it FELT like a sniper's bullet! It was like a cramp from he11 to the third power that would not subside. I knew I had just done something serious to my calf. I almost toppled to the ground but just barely managed to limp to the finish. I got to my car, immediately applied ice and wrapped my calf. Got home, ate FIVE ibuprofen and elevated the leg.

    I limped badly for the first week, not so badly the second and did all the gentle stretching that I could (with the belt of my bathrobe- pulling toward me and then pushing down as on a car gas pedal- GENTLY.) It has gotten a lot better. I finally saw my regular doc yesterday and he did a full range of motion exam and told me he thinks I'm almost over the whole thing. He actually advised me to go out today and try to actually RUN lightly (Hooray!!) to test it. If there was a tear that he didn't detect, it would surely be found out by a test run in which case he would schedule an MRI this Monday.

    I am so elated to report that earlier today after several fast walks up and down the football field, I broke into a light jog. I did 4X100 yard VERY slow jogs without any pain! I seriously almost started crying I was so stoked. I'm still, however, going to be EXTREMELY conservative and treat myself like I'm a first-time runner and VERY gradually (over the next several months) build myself back up to my previous running form. With the football season approaching, I can't afford to overdo it and have to start over again at square one.

    Anyway- to all suffering calf problems- HANG IN THERE- IT WILL BE OK IN THE END- BE PATIENT. If you're a runner, look at the positive: your joints/knees/feet are LOVING the downtime and rest. Best of luck to you all during your road to recovery. We're all behind you. Once again: PATIENCE!!!!

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  42. Hi. Tore my right calf muscle while fighting/handcuffing a inmate with the NC Dept of Corrections. I have a huge "dent" right under my knee. It happened in March and being a Goverment employee I had to retain a lawyer to get a MRI and treatment. I spoke with the Doc in Asheville last week and he told me that he could not fix it. He said that if he attempted to repair it that he would cause more damage than good and that it would tear away again. He said they just did not catch it in time. I am still in lots of pain with a limp. The leg is deformed with a very easy to notice dent that gets lots of comments. Any advice or similar ruptures would be appreciated.

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  43. Hi all, I am a 41 year old female and I have been doing gym classes 6 days a week for a couple of years. I have a grade 2 gastroc tear that I sustained in a step aerobic class 2 days ago. I am kicking myself because my calf was sore for a few days beforehand but I ignored it and continued doing pump and step classes until I felt a popping sensation in my left calf during a class. I immediately couldn't put weight on the leg and had to be helped from the group fitness room. I got home and did the R.I.C.E thing, then went to see a physiotherapist the next day. She did a diagnostic ultrasound and I could see the tear in my muscle. She said with a grade 2 tear I won't be able to go back to step classes for 6 weeks. She treated me with ultrasound, massage and taped the area where the muscle is torn. I'm to remove the taping after 48 hours and start some gentle stretching. The physio said I could maybe start doing pump classes in a week as long I don't do any calf raises, and some light cycling on a stationary bike. I'm seeing her again in a few days for some followup treatment.

    I could hardly walk the first day, the next day was a bit better, and today is better again. I still can't walk at full pace, but I don't have as much pain. I am very annoyed with myself as it probably could have been prevented with the warning signs I was getting, and I am very upset at having to stop all high intensity activity for so many weeks. Just when I was feeling really fit and making great progress with my exercise. Having said that I think my knees will be thankful for the rest!!

    Good luck to everyone else with their recovery and with avoiding a recurrence of this wretched injury!

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  44. Well what a wonderful blog this has turned out to be, I am 49 (male), 50 in October. On Sun 6th July 2008 I was playing squash with my wife (I think you call it racquet ball) When I heard an almighty pop in my right calf and down I went, I honestly thought she had hit me with the squash ball? I think you now know the rest with all the comments above, I am in pain as you will appreciate. The reason I need to share a comment with you all, after reading all the comments above is that age is not the cause of the injury, what am I talking about I hear you say!
    Well it's really simple and I know you will agree with me. We all should stretch exercise our muscles before we put our bodies through what we all believe can cope with what we throw at it, Alan mentioned it earlier in this blog. I have suffered all my life from the age of 5 with tight calf and thigh muscles, as my years have rolled by, on numerous occassions I would have muscle cramps, even when lying asleep in bed, how painfull and funny is that, have you been there! I was once at a formal dinner party when all of a sudden I was under the dinner table in absolute agony with calf muscle cramp. I have been told many times that it's a result of lack of salt and lack of fluids I am still not definately sure of the cause. I know proffessional atheletes have pulled up with torn muscles and they have gone through a complete warm up routine it must have a lot to do with the size of the muscle and how far it can be stretched without tearing.

    R.I.C.E is the most sensible way of dealing with the injury and if you obey and do not try to do things you know will aggrevate the injury, then you will have to let time take it's course and the healing process will be accellerated. This is where the age bit comes in, the older you are the longer it may take, be patient.

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  45. WOW! This is a great blog! hearing all of your comments, I think my guess is correct. A torn calf muscle. My story is very different, but the injury sounds the same. I don't have insurance and really want to try and avoid a trip to the ER or docs.
    Ok, last night , just before dark, I decided to take my young horse for a ride in the field behind my house. She is difficult to ride anyway and i will not even let my kids ride her. But I had a wild hair because I am going thru a seperation and found out the soon to be EX made it to the lawyer first. I just know I won't be able to afford these horses when all is said in done....SO I better get what riding in I can before I will be forced to sell them........OK enough of my whining....to the injury.
    I am 44 and very fit and strong and female. One of my reins broke while I was giving my mare her head while asking for this sweet lope she does. I believe she stepped on a rein and over the front of her I went. I thought her front hooves hit the back of my legs while she jumped over me to avoid stepping on me. After reading the "gun shot-baseball bat" descriptions.....I am wondering if the tear is the pain I felt. I don't have an indentation, minimal swelling...but walking and trying to flex that right leg calf is VERY uncomfortable. I didn't even think to ice it last night, but did this morning.It feels better when elevated, but here's the kicker...my other leg got hurt on the inner knee so trying to walk is hurting both injuries.
    Thanks for sharing all the stories. I will use the RICE suggestions and just see how it goes....I still have to feed and water horses. I hobbled out there this morning and got it done, but pushing a wheel barrel is dang near impossible! I have to grin and bare it though. I am their only care taker. OOOOOOOOOOO, I am so mad. I can't afford any injuries...I will tell you all this though... I limped over to my horse who waited for me to get up and took her by the remaining rein ...made it to the house on a hard limp....changed out her bridle and rode her for another half hour!!!! MAYBE just MAYBE it is just a bad bruised muscle???? Although, I do have a large threshold for pain, after reading everyone's comments.....I better take it easy as best I can. Don't see how I can do that when the only way I can make any $$ is by doing yard work and house work for several clients...jeesh, when it rains it pours, heh?
    Bummed out in NC, Lynn

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  46. I am physically active playing Racquet ball and running 5km. I also felt a pooting soung in my right calf after twisting ackwardly to hit a ball. The pain was intense and dull. I iced it immediately, bandages and rest. The pain is not as bad after day 2and I can walk with a noticeable limp. Climbing up and down stairs is not a problem, however, i need some advice about rehabing my leg.

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  47. I just finished my first triathlon and am training towards my second, so it's not that I'm out of shape. I was playing a game with the kids in the swimming pool today. You say a color and those who picked that color start swimming, and you jump in and swim after them. I jumped in and my foot hit the bottom of the pool and I felt something pull. I'm pretty sure I didn't tear my calf, but I sure did hurt it. I can put weight on my leg, but trying to walk is killing me. Now I know to ice it and not do anything for a few days and hopefully it will heal.

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  48. Wow...this is just too funny...I had no idea how many people have suffered from this, but it truly helps to read other's experiences. I, too, Googled "torn calf muscle". I am a 39 year old teacher, and have vamped up my exercise routine to a daily step or spin class this summer... All was going well until this morning. There was a substitute step instructor, I was late and missed the stretch/warm-up (won't EVER do THAT again), but started into the routine. I was not there 5 minutes before I stepped back off of the bench and felt the same POP everyone else has experienced. The pain was unbelieveable...stabbing, blinding, crippling! I was SO embarrassed to stop in the middle of the class and stand in the back, just holding the bottom of my leg and trying to figure out ow to get to my car and to the doctor. Finally, one of the women in the class came to me to see if I was OK. She told me she would put up my bench, so I managed, somehow, to hobble out of there, with tears in my eyes from the pain. I could, and still can, walk in a weird little jaunt of staying on my tip toes and leaning slightly to the left (it's my left leg)...so, I did my weird little walk to the car, went home, and soacked in the tub for a few minutes. Then, I headed to the Urgent Care, where they checked to make sure it was nothing more serious. The doctor was about to get a boot for my leg, but, being a silly girl, I told him there was no way I was going to wear that huge thing....he looked at me like I was nuts, but it was true. So, I took the pain prescriptions and headed home. The 800mg of Ibuprofin seem to help a bit, but I am a little scared of the stronger pain meds he gave me. I am a single mom of a very active 10 year old boy, and strong meds just knock me out...so I think I will suffer just a bit.

    I read that someone thought spin class might be OK....I hope to try the class Saturday, if I am feeling some relief, but if not, I am just going to rest and let my leg heal. The whole thing is just so inconvenient...and painful!

    Thanks SO MUCH for putting up this post! It is so reassuring to read that others have experienced this and are recovering!

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  49. Just an update from 41-year-old female stepper - it is now one week since I tore my calf and I am walking quite well, although I have to use a shorter stride and I still have bit of a limp, but no real pain to speak of. I did a pump class yesterday and all went well, I just took it easy and it was only when doing lunges that my calf felt a bit unstable. I just have to take it easy and go slowly.

    I saw the physio again yesterday and she said definitely no step for at least six weeks. She said there is a great danger of re-tearing the injured calf or tearing the other one because you are favouring the leg that was injured. She suggested that I take up body balance classes or pilates to improve my strength and balance, as this was a key factor in preventing the injury from recurring. As well as gently stretching out my calf, she has got me to practice standing on one leg with the other bent and raised in front for as long as I can, and even trying it with my eyes closed. This is to try and get my strength and balance back, which is one thing that can suffer after a calf injury apparently. Sounds weird, but I definitely can't do it on my injured leg and it is much easier on the uninjured leg, so maybe there is something to it!
    She also said after the initial 72 hour period, when only ice should be applied to the injury, it is OK to apply heat packs if that gives relief from the stiffness in the muscle as it is healing.

    It's only today that I've noticed a big bruise appearing on my calf where it was torn. I thought that would've come out earlier. Anyway, I'm to see the physio again in a week and in the meantime keep up the stretching and strengthening. It's a bit better every day, which is heartening, but I'm missing my step classes and it's another 5 long weeks before I can do that again.

    Take it easy everyone, look after those injured legs!!

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  50. I am a 41 year old male. And I guess the first step is admitting I too have a calf muscle problem.

    My wife's parents are passing through town tonight and then staying for a few nights on their way back home next week. So I washed the dishes and then I was weeding around the front yard and garden. Just as I finished up making it look all pretty, I backed up and disturbed a bee or wasp. I swung my clippers at him and he did not like this. Too set the scene let me say I have an unhealthy fear of stinging insects. This is the one thing I can truly blame on my parents, my dad is terrified of bees and passed the fear on to me. I turned to run like a little girl and felt/heard a tearing in my upper left calf. Inlaws are here I'll come back later.

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  51. I'm back. I slammed into the front door, flung the door open, fell face first to the floor, and no bee sting. Just severe pain in the calf. Crawled to the living room asked for an ice pack and put my leg up on a couch cushion and searched the web until I found this great page. I kept weight off the left leg, added a wrap as per the RICE treatment recomended here.

    I hopped around the first day and used my mother in law's crutches she had brought in case her knee acted up on her trip. The next day my wife noticed I was putting weight on my foot when I was using the crutches. We found a pair of crutches at the Savers thrift store for 99 cents. Found that if I walked on my left heel carefully I didn't need crutches. I rested this second day and didn't go to work. Found I could push the clutch without hurting my leg so I can drive, yea!

    Today I went to work and hobbled around. If I put the wrong pressure on my foot my calf gets a jolt somewhere between pain and cramping. I think I must of only had a severe pull or a minor tear. But I loved reading everybody's stories. It made me laugh when things looked bleak. Don't worry I'm going to take it easy, especially when I can start to walk normal. I don't want my weak muscle to get really hurt in a secondary trauma because I relax to much. Plus I'm going to loosen up both legs at least weekly if not daily. You all take care of your sore legs. -Chris

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  52. Yes, I did find this site Googling for "torn calf muscle". I don't know if the muscle is torn or not. 2 nights ago at 4am I awoke screaming with the worst Charlie Horse I've ever had. I had not been taking any vigorous exercise or anything the previews day. I did the usual, jumped out of bed and face down on the floor applied pressure to the toes bending them forward to relieve the tension on the cramp. But the knot stayed, and I've been limping very badly for 2 days now. My chiropractor gave me electrode treatment plus manually loosening the knot. But I'm still in agony. It's painful even to touch the back of the calf lightly. My dilemma is - should I exercise it or rest it? Is the calf muscle torn? Can a tear take place just from a bad Charlie Horse?

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  53. Anon -

    I'd be very surprised if a bad charlie horse could cause a torn calf muscle. I have had bad calf muscle cramping (usually when I have been surfing in cold water for a long period of time), which I am unable to stretch out until I again reach shore after paddling in.

    They can be extremely painful, and the discomfort has lasted for several days in those situations. However, I don't *think* you have a torn muscle.

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  54. Another Googler finding this page!

    My injury two days ago was actually the second time around for me with a torn calf. This time it was tennis, and about 8 years ago when it happened before, I was playing squash. To be honest, I don't even remember if it was the same calf or not, but I think it was the right leg last time (pushing off the back foot for a right-handed forehand), whereas this time it's the left calf, (springing into a hard first serve).

    The best thing that can be said for doing this twice is that at least I knew what "hit" me, so to speak. Oh...and this time around was MUCH more public and dramatic. My team was playing a USTA playoff match, and late in the day, ours was the only match still being played. My partner and I had struggled back from a 2-5 deficit in the third set, and I was serving at 40-15 with the set score now 4-5 when the big POP and drop happened. My wife and about 20 teammates and friends were watching and they later told me they'd all heard the leg go bang. I thought that maybe the "sound" wasn't really audible outside my own pained brain, but I was wrong. When my wife and our coach came out for a 3 minute "medical time out" I learned that the outcome of the overall contest was coming down to our match, so I decided to literally limp through. I could barely move, but was able to get off a second serve, we won the point, the game, and somehow went on to win the match! My partner covered just about everything while I limped to the net each point to volley any shots that came directly at me. The other team, having already blown a big lead and now only facing one able-bodied player, tightened up even more and started largely self-destructing with unforced errors.

    I felt awful for the other team (having choked many times myself!), but we were so thrilled that it helped numb my calf pain. After a quick celebratory beer and a bag of ice on the leg, it was off for more R-I-C-E therapy at home.

    My USTA tennis team now advances to the next round in two weeks, but I'll be strictly in the cheering section, I'm afraid. Fortunately there are several guys who can step in and I won't be missed that much, except in the "high drama" department.

    BTW, I'm a 52 year old, with a couple of occasionally painful knees, intermittent sciatica and about 30 extra pounds I'd like to shed. Despite those "old jock" woes, I'm generally in pretty good shape from tennis, skiing, lifting, the occasional olympic distance triathlon and a recent marathon. Frankly, I'm blessed that more stuff isn't broken, torn or ruptured. This too, will heal in time, and until then it's nice to have read this blog and the numerous comments with shared stories. Let's all get well soon!

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  55. Please help,the doctor i went to has me using heat not ice for my injury.He says i have a partial tear in my calf muscle.In all the posts all i see are people use ice,what is right?The doc was at a walk-in office.I do have bruising down by my ankle now.I gues from the internal bleeding.

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  56. HI- Cannonballer here- at my almost 7 week mark-- Wanted to comment first to the poster who asks about heat packs -vs- ice-- I am still icing- per the doctor and the physical therapist-- however- at the start of my physical therapy sessions they have me do a few little stretches then put the heat packs on my calf--before I start my hour and a half session. At the end of my sessions, it's back to ice. They also said to use the heat packs before I get up in the morning if my leg is paining me- or if I have been sitting for a while.. to help get the blood flowing... Maybe that is why...

    Bruising par for the course- I was told the ankle bruises because the blood pools there-- and that alot of the pain is due to the blood rushing through the injured area--I also have terrible discoloration of my foot when I keep it down for a while...

    While I am here, I'll give a brief update to my status- Last week was my 6 week ortho. appt. and the Dr. told me that I am coming along as expected- that I have another 6 to 8 weeks to go!! Can you believe? Still can't believe all this damage after one cannonball into the pool...

    I am definitely on the upswing- I am starting to put weight on the bad leg and very slowly walking without the boot- but still with the walker/crutches...Still get twinges of pain - especially after exercises-- still being told to give it time, go slowly and not to push it--also being told my leg will come back 90% to what it was-

    can again tell you that my first week was brutal, second was still very painful, by my 4th week I was feeling a bit better, more confident in moving about-- now at 7 weeks-- it is still a huge hassle- still can not drive - (my right calf) and still can not do full stairs--CRAZY!--am just sitting it out - sticking to R.I.C.E. and doing my exercises from the physical therapist.

    hope this helps!

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  57. Little league coach here. Well this is an update to my June 9th injury and post. Well I wasn't able to umpire the 4th of July Tournament because I could tell that the leg was just not ready.

    I had brusing and pooled blood show up about three weeks after the injury when I started pushing the leg a little bit so as a reminder to everyone, don't stop icing when it starts to feel better.

    Last weekend I finally made it out to umpire. Six weeks after the injury. I did seven games over the weekend. The leg was quite sore after the first day and I felt small pops a couple of times when I would spin to the inside of the field. I went home and put the calf in a ice water bucket until it went numb. The next day the muscle felt great and no more little pops. The muscle still feels tight and slight pain when pushing on the calf muscle with my hand but is getting better all the time.

    Docter was wrong, she said 8 weeks at least to be able to run with a Grade 2 Tear and I made it in 6 weeks. I would suggest to anyone with this injury to start stretching it a couple times a day after the first week or so to keep the muscle from getting so tight as it heals.

    Good luck to all in your recovery and for those of you that just got this injury, the next 4 weeks will suck, but you will see steady progress and the pain will subside.

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  58. Great blog...30 years old, very active, climbing 3 days a week, soccer two days a week, and ran 3-5miles or mountain bike the other two.

    Never through out my entire athletic career (D-2 swimmer, soccer) I never had any type of leg injury. Over past couple months of training, I did notice some tightness over the past couple months, but nothing I gave much thought about, just a little pain.

    On Monday, the 21st after a morning session of climbing (1.5 hrs), I headed out to play in the weekly alumni/high school soccer game around 6. Rode my bike out to fields, about 2 mile ride, do some stretches, jog around, during second game, bang, it felt like someone shot me in leg. RICE for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Dr. on Friday, says partial tear of soleus muscle and continue with RICE and begin stretching, progressively each day. 4-6 weeks of no impact activity. Biking after a week, if pain allows.

    Today is Saturday, I am going insane with cabin fever. I can almost walk without limp, but no real strength in calf, stretching well all things considered.

    I be blogging my recovery for something to do, so stay tuned....

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  59. I'm 32 busy Mum with 2 small kids 3 and a half and 18 months.....in good shape but don't partake in vigourous excercise anymore....not time for going to the gym!!!!

    yesterday my Husband and I we're on our way out to the park with the kids......picnic packed, bread for the ducks etc.....I picked up my 18 month old son to get his shoes and coat on.....when i stood upright i felt and heard a rip in my right calf and knew instantly it wasn't good!!!!!! I managed to get my son down safely as i nearly passed out with the pain.....i been through childbirth twice and have never felt a pain like it

    So off to Accident and Emergency we went was given painkillers and told to rest my leg but to try and keep up some movement and move around with the aid of crutches!!!!! not so easy with 2 small kids let me tell you

    My only indication beforehand was slight tenderness in my calf the week before but never in a million years would expect this to have happen to me especially caused by making such a slight movement!!!!! Not like i was running a sprint which is so puzzling........would be interested to know if anyone else has had a similar experience to me

    Wishing evryone a speedy recovery

    Jayne

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  60. I'm a 33 year old mom of three. I'm pretty active - I dance (jazz and tap), do kickboxing and spin. However, last week I was doing kickboxing and during the warm-up I brought my foot down from a kick and I heard and felt a pop in my left calf. The sound reminded me of my water breaking when I was in labor. Anyway. . . they were quick to ice it and wrap it with my hand wraps. I have a slightly torn muscle, but no kickboxing for awhile unfortunately. I can finally put my foot flat, but every now and again the muscle spasms. It is also tighter today than it has been. I'm currently on day 4.

    Jenni

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  61. wow, let me again thank Alan for this blog! What a huge relief it is to read other's similar stories. Here goes mine- 39 yr old female,preschool teacher, bellydancer in decent shape. I was doing some yard work today for a couple of hours then tried to get from point A to point B a little quicker than a 'walk', what could be called a jog perhaps and felt and heard the POP that everyone seems familiar with now. I thought that somehow I was whacked with the wooden end of my shovel. I turned around to see what just hit me. Nothing there, but in the next step felt the horrible pain in my lower calf as it pretty much buckled. I sort of stood there in disbelief going "What just happened? I can't walk!!"
    Luckily I called for some much needed help to get me back in the house. Immediatly went into see what I could find on the net and "WAH-LAH!" I found this blog!
    I'm in the RICE full swing. I don't have insurance and being a teacher am off of work till September so want to avoid the ER if at all possible.
    I am a bit confused as to when I should begin with the stretching...? Can anyone clear that up for me? I don't think mine is as bad as some of the others. I dont seem to have much swelling or brusing at this point. It did only happen today, so maybe I'll experience some of that in the coming days. However, can NOT put any weight on it! I borrowed some crutches and will baby this puppy in hopes of speeding my recovery as I'm scheduled to go on a camping/hiking trip. Any suggestions on the stretching would be most appreciated.
    thanks.

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  62. Teacher / bellydancer (and let me tell you how cool I think it is to have a bellydancer posting on teh blog!) -

    I would recommend letting your leg rest for at least one full week before even trying to gently stretch the calf muscle.

    Don't over do it, as it is easy to re-tear it (trust me!) Also, the swelling and bruising didn't show up in my injury until much later.

    Good luck, and let us all know how you progress during your recovery.

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  63. teacher/bellydansah here- Will most definatly follow your suggestions on waiting to stretch it. Bummer- noticing a bit of swelling this evening. Probably did a bit too much hobble'n round today.
    Thanks again Alan!! :)

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  64. Finally got my computer back up and running. The ortho told me that I do have a small tear in the medial side of my gastroc. Lots of fluid around it and the cyst was too small to do anything about. So he thinks...he doesn't understand how much it hurts.

    The main thing is he said, "No surgery!" But the rehab will be minimum of 6 weeks. So I'm trying to get set up w/a PT and will go from there. The good thing is that officiating volleyball...you just stand there! lol

    Here's to hoping all others recoup as fast or faster. Especially you belly dancer!

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  65. Bellydancer here,actully I'll go by DeAnna from now on, thank you very much! ;)
    Just wanted to let other's know incase they're interested about some natural remedies I've been using to help speed things along.

    Right after it tore I applied ARNICA gel, then ice. Arnica gel,if you're not familiar with it is a total Godsend! If you apply it right after a good whack to your skin it will greatly affect the amount of bruising,pain and swelling you experience. Being a preschool teacher, I've used this stuff for years on children (as well as myself)with amazing results. I continue to use it about 3 times each day on my calf.Just rub it in like lotion.

    I've also been taking the homeopathic medicines- Arnica Montana and Bryonia Alba. You can get them from your local health food stores, and they can help you determin the dosage. They come as little white pills that dissolve under your tongue. Sorta taste like sugar. These will help stimulate your body to repair that tissue even faster.
    I've also invested in a big tub of bodybuilder protein/amino acids drink powder to ensure my muscles have all of the building blocks they need in order to rebuild.

    QUESTION: I've been on crutches since it happened and not put any weight on my foot. I dont want to set myself back but am wondering when I can try walking by myself again..?
    Not running,not training for a race, not working out, just plain 'ol walking without the help of 2 metal things stuck under my arms! Just wondering when other's have tried walking and what their experiences have been.
    thanks all and happy healing! :)

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  66. Bellydancer,

    Little League Coach here.
    I was advised by the docter to just stay on the crutches for 5-7 days. I started putting weight on the leg, with the help of the crutches, on day 5 and got rid of the crutches on day 8 but still had a very noticable limp until about day 21. I would still limp after that if I was walking up an incline of any sort, even on handicap ramps, until about week 5.

    As for the stretching, after day 5 started to feel the muscle start to tighten so a towel under the foot with a "push on the gas" type motion let me stretch the muscles in both directions. Keep up with the ice though, my bruising and blood pooling did not show up until about week 3.

    Good Luck.

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  67. Bellydancer/DeAnna here,
    Hey all, just a quick note to let you know I've ditched those darned crutches and am getting round beautifully all things considered! Actually I stopped using them yeasterday which was day 4 after the intial injury.
    I still have a limp, and am pretty stiff upon waking up in the morning or if I sit for more than 10 mins or so.
    Keeping the bodybuilder amino acid drink mix coming 3times each day. (It's called 'muscle milk') And continuing to massage the Arnica gel in 2times per day as well. Didn't even wear my ace bandage today, but will wrap it up before going to bed. I let pain be my guide,and slowed down here and there when felt that cramping feeling coming on. Am a bit sore this evening, but not complaining when I think about the alternative.
    Anyway, just checking in with my progress... happy healing!

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  68. Hi- I am a 40 year old mom who loves agility training and tennis.... was warming up for a USTA match and just ran cross court and felt a pop and heard a sort of crinkle sound.. and fell to the ground. I thought I had just strained something so I sat out for about 10 minutes with ice, then got up to try to begin the match.... not a chance, once I put weight down on it, it brought tears to my eyes.
    Getting into the ortho that afternoon, he pointed out that I had a indentation in my calf, an obvious indication that there is a tear.. He prescribed lots of rest (no tennis or cardio workouts) and to begin physical therapy asap.
    After about 5 weeks of painful therapy, I felt invincible once again. I began walking on the treadmill, always following stretches, and then on vacation i joined in on a very low-key step aerobic class. Well, I stepped back on my calf, and POP. again.
    By that afternoon the calf was solid black and blue and swollen. I am going in for tests and a follow up doc appointment.
    It is just not healing with rest and PT. I am not sure if there is a surgery option, but I will consider it if it allows me to return to an active lifestyle.
    Good luck to everyone! Thanks for listening!

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  69. Two Week Update from Anonymous on Saturday, July 26, 2008 5:06:00 PM...

    Well after two weeks, I am walking without a limp except when going up a hill, I just don't have the strength yet.

    I have been walking over a mile every day, stretching and doing resistance band rehab.

    The bruise from my injury is disappearing and their is minor tenderness in my soleus when I kneel and try to sit back, other than that no significant pain at all.

    Slowly but surely things are getting back but after two weeks I am in no way ready for anything else, when my muscle gets tired it tightens up so stretching and massage have been crucial.

    Hope everyone is healing up and playing it safe because I know I don't want something like this to re-occur.

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  70. I'm 35 and really active. I Irish step dance and teach clogging. About a month ago I pulled my calf- better in about a week. Perfect! Yesterday after dancing for 2 hours I was doing a solo and heard a pop and felt it in my muscle at the same time. It was like a huge bubble burst in my leg. The advantage was I knew no one actually hauled off and hit me - I was out in front of mirrors by myself. I sat down- I couldn't even step on my foot- and that is wear class ended.
    So now I'm on the crutches. I kept it on ice yesterday. Wierdly enough- they took me to a chiropractor who was just around the corner. I hopped into her office. She told me I would be as good as new in ten days. Moral of the story- don't go to a chiropractor for you leg!

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  71. Wow, you all sound so active... I'm 37 - 6'2" 280 lbs - not too active, but planning on getting busy (just bought a bike, and was planning to use it). I was playing golf last Wednesday (Aug 6). I hit a blind shot to the green (I was behind something and couldn't see my ball fly through the air). So I ran to the left to watch it fly to the green. As soon as I took-off, I felt a "pop" in my left calf (felt like someone thumped it with their middle-finger). I ran for about 6 steps and then came-up limping - I knew something wasn't right.
    As I walked back to the golf cart, I knew it wasn't a "pull" or something easily remedied there on the course. I felt the calf, and the bottom half felt like jelly - not the usual rock-hard muscle that's normally found there. I finished the hole (with a par) and then drove to the hospital: torn calf muscle. They wrapped it there, recommended staying off it and Darvocet (no effect). When I'm sitting, there's no pain. I can hobble-around (the crutches are a serious PITA) with slight pain and when I misstep there's super-pain.
    Today I'm sorer than I have been over the past few days, but I think that's because I was at a picnic yesterday and on my feet longer than the past 5 days. I'm trying to schedule an appointment for an orthopedic, but I wanted something today: apparently, they don't have room in their schedules for same-day appointments. Basically, I just wanted to know what to expect. From reading all your experiences, I think I'm getting a good idea... Still, I'll go to an ortho and get the "official" word - complete with a therapy plan and an MRI (if so ordered).

    Thanks for being a place for all us hobblers to come-together!

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  72. Three Week Update from Anonymous on Saturday, July 26, 2008 5:06:00 PM

    Well it has been three weeks since the injury and things are getting much better.

    The bruise from the injury has disappeared. I continue to rehab the injury through a combination of stretching and bungee resistance training along with lots of walking. About 2-3 miles a day and I took my first bike ride (20 miles) and felt no pain at all.

    Strength in the calf is returning and if I had to put a percentage on my recovery, I would say I am about 70-75%. I continue to ice my calf after every activity, never can be to careful.

    My plan is to test my calf at the climbing wall at the end of my fourth week of rehab. I am going to wait until 6 weeks before trying to run.

    Hope everyone is doing well and recovering. Until next week....

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  73. I'm not a bellydancer, but I did tear my calf muscle. 41 yr old female who plays tennis year round and has dabbled in some corporate volleyball. This incident, however, had no honor. I drank 4 beers and stepped out of the pool. That's it. I practically HEARD the muscle tear and almost threw up from the spasms and pain. My right calf is now double the size of my left, and it takes me 20 minutes to limp down the hallway at my work. I figure I'm now out of tennis for at least a couple of months. Sucks. I really can't decide if I need to see a Doc though. Does anyone know if there is a serious risk of blood clots?

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  74. Drunk pool stepper (I kid, I kid!):

    Clotting would be an issue if it was inside the artery, however since it is *just* muscle tissue tearing and bleeding, I would expect that blood clotting is not an issue. My doc never mentioned anything about it...

    In other news, almost 1 year to the day that I tweaked my right calf, I have decided to try and play some adult soccer. I'll need to post what happened after that fateful decision as soon as possible...

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  75. From not-bellydancer: Good for you Alan! My one attempt at playing women's soccer last year had me in bed for 2 days just from being tired. I'll take a 3 hour tennis match any day! Be sure and let us know it goes...
    And thanks for the input about clotting.

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  76. Irish dancer here again. It has been exactly one week now since I tore my medial gastrocnemius. At least I can walk- even if I still limp. My calf is still visibly swollen and the front of my leg bruised a yellowish green. I thought that it should have been my calf to bruise. Who knew? Now my Achilles tendon is mighty sore. I can feel the ache all the way down to my ankle. Anyone else had this kind of thing??? Happy limping fellow injured!

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  77. UPDATE:

    I went to the orthopedic guy yesterday (Aug 12) and he diagnosed: ruptured plantaris muscle/tendon. Apparently, this is a vestigial muscle that 15% of the population doesn't even have: oh goody for me...

    This morning was my first physical therapy session, and it felt great! First there was the heat then the massage - there was pain, but it was a good/therapeutic pain. I got some homework (stretches and small exercises). This injury is the kind that should be worked-through (I guess), and I'm supposed to be through the entire ordeal in ~30 days...

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  78. I hear a lot of stories of people pulling their calf and feeling like they were kicked or heard a pop. I on the other hand was kicked HARD by a 40+ guy as we played a father son game of soccer. I am not a great soccer player at age 37, 6'3" and 280lbs but I can handle the ball and keep myself between the ball and my opponent. I guess the guy didnt like that the fat guy schooled him every time I came to defend our end. So as I went out to chase the ball down in our end near the side line I beat this guy to the ball. As I turned around to pass the ball up field I felt what I thought was a baseball thrown by Roger Clemens hit me in the calf. I looked and there was no baseball game going on and relized this JERK just kicked me HARD! I asked "Did you just kick me!" He didnt reply but I heard one of his friends laugh saying "He knows where the pain points are". Turns out he is a dentist and probably know a lot about the body and muscles. Anyway I limped away not able to continue to play. This was Sat noon and I had to gimp around the camp grounds the rest of the day and the next. It hurt really bad for the rest of the day and extremely bad when I was awaken by muscle spasms at 6 am in my calf. Luckily I had my 9 and 11 yr old boys there to force my foot back to flex the muscle. A hot shower helped but the pain was still there especially when I walked and over straightened my leg. This was Sun morning and I was home by 2 pm. My wife really helped me by massaging the muscle. It hurt bad but she felt the knot and knew it had to go. I iced starting Sun until now (wed). I have had several massages and it really doesnt hurt that much but boy is it swollen. Even my foot and toes are swollen. I spent most of Monday off my feet but tues I was walking a lot at work. Today I have been off my feet a lot by still very swollen. Oh yeah, this was a father son camp trip with church. I felt ripped off as I could not continue the sports with my boys that day. Next year this guy is going down!!! :)

    -Kevin

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  79. So I was 27, one year ago when I tore my left calf muscle while jumping up and down. No not dancing or running, just excited and jumping up and down. I never had an MRI, but my PT swears it was fully torn. The elevated boot cast, RICE , and commpression stockings. I was unable to work for a month as I worked on uneven terrain. Slowly it healed. However a year later I still have swelling and when dance(ballroom) my whole leg hurts. It feels related. Anyone had this long of a recovery. It is really hard trying to move on with ones life when you can't always walk

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  80. Well, I found this great blog like everyone else.....after doing some research after injury. I am 31 year old male, into all sports and weightlifting. I haven't been as active lately sports wise as I usually am.

    Last week I resumed an old routine and got my brothers, and cousins together for some basketball. We usually play aggressively for several hours at a time. It had been years since we last had this weekly meeting (even though I still played pick up games at my gym) I was excited to get back in to the rythem and shed a few lbs in the process. We played for over two hours non stop and it felt great. fast forward to today and meeting number two. I started by getting a game of "21" to warm up. I drove to the basket hard and shot a nice right hook jumping up and position my body mid air to face the basket. As I landed my right foot touched ground first and I immediately felt as though I was hit by a fastball on my right calf and even heard the pop to boot. As I turned to see who the hell hit me, I collapsed to the ground in pain clutching my calf. My brother heard the pop as well and said " well, your out for three weeks for sure!" I didn't want to accept that my injury was serious as I could still stand on my foot. Yes, it hurt like hell, but I have that old football mentality to just "walk it off". I tried, and to no avail the pain persisted. I decided to ice it and go home. So here I am, laying in bed contemplating wether or not to see a doc tomorrow. Guess I will just play it by ear and see how I feel. Happy healing!

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  81. OMG this is so funny. I too googled "torn calf muscle" and wound up here! I would have never thought that there would be so many similar stories. Here's mine:

    I'm 38 yr old mortgage broker. I'm in decent shape but not the best. I was playing flag football the other night (two days ago) and injured myself here's what happened. I was rushing the quarterback and about two strides into my rush there was a sudden and loud "POP" and the sensation of being struck by a rock or a golf ball. I went down immediately and rolled over on my back. I was looking for the S.O.B. that threw a rock at me! This of course did not happen. I then stood up and tried to walk to the sidelines. OMG the pain was incredible! I knew then that something was seriously wrong. The first thing I thought of next was that I may have ruptured my achilles tendon. I started R.I.C.E. therapy right away and saw the doctor first thing the next morning. He told me that luckily I did not rupture my achilles but that I tore my calf muscle which is luckily much less serioius. He really doesn't have me doing anything other than the R.I.C.E. therapy and using crutches. I'm only a couple of days from the injury but I really don't see any improvement yet. I'm a little concerned that this won't be enough. In 27 days I'm leaving for a 3 week trip Italy and I'm concerned that this injury will affect my vacation. I need a fast track route to recovery. Well at least to the point where I can walk without too much trouble. Based on what I've read I'd say my injury is a grade 2 tear. Has anyone tried immobilizing the lower leg for a period? Anyone have any hints for a quick recovery?

    Mike F.
    Rapid City, SD

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  82. Hi. I've had two "pops" to my left calf in as many weeks. I'm 48 and in fairly good physical condition. After living in Minneapolis and biking all the time, I'm now in San Antonio. Not very good biking but great hiking. Hiking up a hill is how I received both tears.
    After the second one, I decided to look it up (I'm an ER nurse with a phobia for doctors-only go if on my deathbed and then I'd have to think about it for awhile)and so that's how I found this place.
    I work 12 hr shifts and just take a Motrin (for leg pain) and Excedrin (for the headache I invariably get-limiting my thinking just didn't help)and have abstained from hiking until I can stand on my tiptoes with no pain-not there yet. I won't give up the flip-flops (I got horrific blisters from shoes), but will make sure I stretch before I hike. Didn't do the RICE thing-kept forgetting the ace wrap when at the store.
    Did I forget to mention I have Alzheimer's, too?
    Cindy in SA

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  83. I googled 'pulled calf muscle' and found this very helpful blog. Seems like a common thread is that most of the poster here are in their late 30s and older! I'm 50, and was playing in a racketball tournament 17 days ago and it happened - i thought the ball had hit me hard on my calf. I hobbled out of there with the help of my wife, got home and elevated my leg and iced it down. It got progressively less painful over the next week, and after 11 days, I tentatively tried a game of racketball again. I was scared to push of on that leg or chase after balls and after 10 minutes, gave up as I realized it was too soon. I realized the next day I had set it back a bit, as now there was a little blood pooled under the skin on my foot just below the ankle and it felt slightly more painful than the day before. So now I'm serious about letting it heal before starting the RB back up. It's 17 days now and I'm feeling much better. I have been doing 35 minutes on the elliptical 3 times a week with no problem - as it doesn't seem to stretch the calf too much, so there's no pain. Can anyone tell me if this is OK to do? Thank you all for your information and experiences.

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  84. Update: Started physical therapy yesterday. I was warned against using heal inserts. I was told that while it makes it more comfortable to walk that in short term in the long run it would slow my recovery. What happens when you use the heel insert is that you shorten the calf muscle. If it heals this way you in effect make yourself less flexible than you were before the injury. So I've been told to keep on taking Aleve, ice it down at night, and stretch the calf muscle throughout the day. So far so good.

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  85. Ok - I have a new post up here. The number of comments attached to this post is getting quite large, so please post any further comments on the new and above-linked post.

    Thanks much!

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  86. Its funny how easy it is for a tear to occur in the calf. My story...I met up with some co-workers after work to play old fashon dodgeball at a local recreation center. I warmed up and stretched before the game. In one of the matches, I ran over to pick up a ball off the ground and as I ran (medium speed) my right foot planted and at that time heard and felt a pop from the inner side of the calf (smack dab in the mid-calf). I went down holding my leg and eventually got off the playing court. I couldn't straighten out my leg. I put ice on it and hobbled off, My buddy drove me home. I didn't want to go to the ER beacuse I was about to go on vacation with my family and I figured I would be ok. Plus, I didn't want to hear that I would need surgery.
    I proceeded to go on vacation and was eventually able to put weight back on my right leg.
    When I got back to town I felt that I could try to do light jogging. As I tryed to jog, I felt some discomfort at the base of my calf / achilles area and I noticed that I had about a 5 inch groove running verticle where the pop had occured. So, I then decided to go to the doctor.
    My doctor recommended that I get an MRI and see an ortho. I did so, and was told that it looked like it was a tear of the muscle and the groove was the tear. They said no operation needed and that it will heel on its own. The injury occured on July 19th. I just got my MRI results August 18th. The Ortho told me that it did show a tear and that PT would be the way to go. He said see ya, before I could ask any questions; like how much longer, what was the severity. I didn't even get to see the MRI. So, I guess I'll do my own home based "rehab"...any ideas?

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  87. Today is August 22 and I tore a muscle in my right calf on May 2 while running. I have seen the doctor, spent several weeks resting it (RICE), returned to moderate exercise (elyptical, bike) along with 7 weeks of physical therapy.

    It is still painful - throbbing and aching - particularly in the upper inside portion of the calf and can't return to normal activity. I have stopped PT (expensive and doesn't seem to be doing anything), and I don't know what else to do. I can't resume my normal and very active exercise routine and am very depressed! Any suggestions?

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  88. Leigh 08/22/08. Hi Guys! If there are any females out there I apologize, but I only saw men responding. I'm 47 and TORE my calf muscle about 5 months ago. So welcome to the club of guys over 30, mainly 35 to 50? Right? Let me start by saying I had almost a complete tear of my Soleus calf muscle. I went to the ER, had an exray taken, then 2 days later I saw an orthopedic surgeon and had an MRI taken. The MRI took about 1 1/2 hours because they take multiple images.

    I was on crutches for 4 weeks and then I used a cam walker for 2 weeks. I attended physical therapy for the entire time where I received ultra sound massage and electric shock stimulation. Then and only then could I walk like a normal person, relatively pain free. But running or jogging didn't happen for 2 more months.

    I am almost laughing reading all of your comments because they are almost identical to the experience and sensation that I felt. It was Saturday morning about 11:00 AM. I'm studying karate and we had already complete a 1 1/2 hour training class with no problem. But the pace was slower. Then it was time to gear up and do a little full contact sparring. I'm fighting a guy 10 years younger than me, and 30 pounds heavier and all muscle. I'm getting knocked around pretty good, I was bouncing around trying to defend myself and then I took one hop backwards/or was knocked backwards, and I was trying to stop my backward motion, when someone hit me in the back of my calf with a wooden baseball bat, (at least that's what I thought at the moment) and I was literally looking around me to see who hit me? And why? I felt a really strong pop and then as I was collapsing onto the ground. I realized what had happened. I elevated my leg every night until I could walk. I was told to Ice the calf for 20 minutes every hour, beyond that point the cold begins to interfere with the healing process. Inflammation slows the healing process so that's the reason to keep inflammation down, using anti-inflammatories and ice. I now warm my calves up by doing toe raises for 15 minutes straight, before I do ANYTHING. Good luck guys. See you next time.

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  89. Well after losing some weight I decided to play volley ball with the 20 year olds. Currently I am 48 and 170 lbs.
    walked fast for 6 minutes and then did some light tennis for 15 then the heavy volley ball. Doing good until I landed flat footed after a turn a jump. Immediately disabled had to sit on the bench. Next day hit the internet for advice. Best was RICE. rest, ice, compression and elevation. Already doing better after a day. At least can take baby steps now. Aloha

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  90. Googling torn calf muscles and here you are! Four months ago I woke with a fierce muscle spasm in my right calf, straightened my leg to relieve it and felt something pop and the most horrible unrelenting pain. Hobbled into the MD who diagnosed a torn calf muscle and put me in a boot. I gave that up after 4 days due to the severe pain in my right hip that it was causing. Slow recovery but PT, water therapy, massage, chiropractic all helped. Then this AM, the same thing in my left leg! Not so bad this time, but swelling, discoloration, so painful to the touch. I'm 56, out of shape but working on it, eat balanced meals, I just don't get it. I will never hear the end of this when I limp into work tomorrow morning. I wonder about some of the medications some of us may be taking on a regular basis. For me it's Prilosec and Cozaar. Anybody else?

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  91. As much as I would love to say I was training for the olympics, doing karate, belly dancing, or even drunk, I am embarassed to explain what really happened to me! I am a 38 year old female. I have been in better shape in my life, but I have also been in worse. I have been running for about a month and was getting pretty proud of myself and my endurance. Here is the embarassing part. I was telling my mother-in-law a funny story about my 3 year old daughter and was imitating how she was trying to "gallop". I learned I can't gallop as well as a 3 year old! I heard the same pop as everyone else and would have sworn that my calf was torn in half. I iced it immediately and went to convenient care, as there was absolutely no way I could put any weight on that foot. I left with crutches, pain pills and anti-inflammatory pills. The morning after, I wasn't able to put my shoe on, because my foot and ankle were swollen. It has been 48 hours since my injury and so far, I don't have any bruising on my calf and I am finally able to place a little weight on my foot. I am so bummed that I can't run or even walk. I would love to know how long until I will be able to walk without crutches and feel normal again!

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  92. i was coming down the stairs and missed the last step and my heel went down to the floor hard. i felt the 'pop' in my calf and couldnt put any weight on it. my husband carried me to emergency where a young intern matter of factly told me i had a torn calf muscle and gave me crutches and 800mg ibuprofen. i had no idea how hard crutches are! ER took x-rays and found nothing was broke. i was on crutches for 7 days. i then went to one crutch (which i had no idea how to use - thank god for the internet) for about 2 weeks. progress was really slow. I went to my own doctor after about 10 days and he said it takes time and that i should go to physical therapy when it felt better. after the calf muscle started to heal - it was bruised for weeks - i still had pain behind the knee and on both sides of the knee. it has been 8 weeks and i still have weakness and minimal pain. the leg is definately weak. i still wonder if i should have had a MRI and wondered if a boot would have been easier. better and less painful than the crutches. i am now deciding if i should go for therapy. i am not really a good patient. i was telling people i did it sliding into 2nd base instead of coming down the stairs.

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  93. In response to the post about medication, I am only on Provigil regularly (narcolepsy medicine). I am so sad about how long it seems like it is taking everyone until they feel "normal". I know that I am going to feel so vulnerable for a long time.

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  94. After reading all of these postings I've come to the conclusion that I have a torn calf muscle. On Friday, I was going down the basement stairs, carrying a laundry basket, and sudden my lower left leg popped and the pain hit. I was down for about 20 minutes before I could even move. Once I was up and hopping around, I went on line right away to find out what to do for a charley horse. I iced my leg and massaged for about 10 minutes and then elevated. I am still having some pain but able to walk and go up and down steps. The only weird thing that happened is bruising spots came up in that area and up my " whole shin".

    Is that normal to have so much bruising? Any advise would be great appreciated.

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  95. Great blog. Not sure if I feel better or worse after reading it.
    I am 46 yo female in great shape. Have been a regular gym goer for years, and took up body combat, or kickboxing over 12 months ago. Last night whilst doing some straight and roundhouse kicks I tore my calf muscle. It was like I got shot in the leg. I rolled around the floor in agony! Went to the Ortho specialist this morning, and have torn the deep calf muscle on one side. I can't put full weight on my leg, and have it bandaged, anti inflam gel + tablets and ice regularly. Worst part.... no exercise for at least 3-4 weeks, which is going to kill me. Thanks for the blogg...
    Oh, and doctor told me to keep the leg/calf moving gently to avoid blood clots.... so don't just put yr leg up and leave it for hours on end.....
    Thanks. Narelle.

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  96. Terry...the bruising is very normal. From my knee to the tip of my toes was black and stayed for a long time. Good luck with your recovery.

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  97. Way back in late July, I posted a story here about my tennis injury -- torn calf. Unfortunately there was later more to the story. I didn't bother going to see an Orthopedist (despite my wife's suggestion) since I figured it would just be a recommendation for RICE.

    However, a few days after the injury I did have a routine blood test, and limping back to my car in the parking lot near the clinic, I decided to climb the short flight of stairs back to my car on the second story. OK...so I've just telegraphed the punchline as the saying goes. Yes, of course, since the ball of my left (pulled calf) leg wouldn't hold my weight, I ended up rolling off the stair, with toes to the sky- VERY painful for a brief moment...then not too bad. It later swelled up, but just seemed like a sprained ankle to complement the strained calf. Since I was limping already, I figured...what the heck?

    The actual result (as was diagnosed when I FINALLY went to the doctor a couple of weeks later) was a ruptured Achilles tendon. Surgery time.
    So now I'm in a cast, crutching around with a 6-8 month recovery period. But the doctor assured me that it wasn't just the stair roll-off that tore the Achilles tendon...it's actually a degenerative injury, and he suspects that it was already ruptured in the earlier tennis injury. Or at least this is what he tells me -- perhaps so I won't feel like a total doofus for falling off a stair when I should have taken the elevator. Hmmmm....

    The moral of the story? Maybe...see a qualified doctor right away -- just in case? Don't go up stairs with a torn calf? Obey your spouse? I'm still unclear, but I have a LONG time of upper body only workouts to ponder it.

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  98. bah! i too have stumbled (or perhaps crawled?) onto this blog. on friday, two days ago, i did a pretty intense calf workout in weight training. i'm 17 and i regularly lift and am an active sprinter and soccer player. All day friday after the workout i was fine, all day saturday i was fine. But now it is sunday night and i have spent the entire day limping around my house because my right calf is swollen and my foot doesn't seem to want to point forward. I can stand on my tip-toes and walk around that way... since im a sprinter it actually feels pretty natural, but i just can't imagine operating the clutch on my ford ranger as i drive to school tomorrow morning. To think, i started the weekend worrying how i would ever pass my government exam, and now im worrying how i will ever get to school in order to take the dang thing =(. Anyways, best of luck to all of you who have similar injuries. If you feel old because it happened to you, don't because like i said i'm not even an "adult" yet ;)

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  99. I tore my right calf muscle, but in a very mysterious way. I'm an assistant coach on my daughter's soccer team. We were having a scrimmage so I had been doing some running around, BUT at the time this happened I was just STANDING there and thought someone had hit me with a rock in the back of the calf. Also, I had stretched with everyone else at the beginning of the practice and I'm not overweight.

    It's a little scary since I have no idea what to avoid to prevent this from happening in the future. Does anyone have any clues? Thanks in advance.

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  100. I, too, blew out my calf playing tennis..Unfortaunately the Doc did not run an MRI..and a year and a half later...still cramps like no other when I use it..so bad it cramps when I run up stairs....Do you guys have symptoms of a dent in your muscle now?

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  101. hey DaveC, the same thing happened to me. I was coming out of lunch meeting - just walking and felt a pop in my leg. The doc said, because I wasn't straining he, he didn't figure it would be that bad, but it's been 5 days and I still can't walk right.

    I've done some reading on the net, and I'm leaning (no pun intended) toward the theory that I may have a Calcium or Potassium deficiency or be dehydrated. These things are apparently related to muscle cramping. Is it possible it possible a cramp might have formed so tight it tore the muscle?

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  102. I dumped my dirt bike behind a buddy who went real hard on his breaks. Bounced my helmet off the concrete and skidded along the pavement. I jumped up and picked my bike up and kept ridn'. Shook everything off so well I knew over the next few days my body would start breaking down someplace. Sure enough, my calf swelled, turned black the bone sore to touch and my muscle just aches baaaddd! I am a tuff kid and can shake alot off, but this lower leg just aches and aches and aches. Ready to petition my DR. for some meds. But, I should probably just role w/ the RICE and stay off my bike which is tuff. Another thing, I usually take 800 mg ibuprofen and makes pain subsides, but the advil does nothing for this? what the hell?

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  103. Hi kicker here
    Well this is cool nice to know there is lots of company here on calf muscle tears.
    Here is my story I was on second base and the ball went flying to the right field. I took off running hard around third and headed for home when it happened. "Pop" the weirdest feeling like I got hit with something. My momentum got me to home plate. But I could barely walk to the bench. Yes this 46 year olds kickball game was over for now.
    I got home on my own. I put some ice on it that I carry with me for my soccer team kids, it helped. I also got a 30 minute massage from a massage therapist which I think also helped. I didn't see a doctor yet but may do so today day 7. My leg feels more swollen in the last day and painful. Also I noticed more pooling of the blood on the inside of my foot. I hope that this is not more serious I am concerned about blood clots since my parents have had some issues. I will keep you posted

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  104. Right now it's been 2 1/2 weeks since my muscle tear. I'm definitely improving - walking faster and less Igor-like. The blood that pooled in my foot is dissipating also. So I guess it's what others here have said - it just takes time to heal.

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  105. Wow, I'm surprised to see there is a blog for this. Well, I think I tore my calf muscle on Sat. playing flag football. I started running my route and if felt like someone kicked me in the calf with a steel toe boot. I went down right away. After the game I drove myself to urgent out care and the Dr. said he thinks its just a tear he put me in a soft cast. I pulled it off today to take a shower and I thought it was feeling better so I tried to walk on it, that was a huge mistake. I guess the pain meds was masking the pain. I have a MRI tomorrow. I'm hoping they give me something better then this soft cast.

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  106. 3 weeks to the day after I tore mine, I was back to at least 90%. The only real problem was walking down stairs. It's now been 4 1/2 weeks and I still feel it just a little walking down stairs and I can feel a little tightness when I'm driving.

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  107. Question about Tendon Tears and Prior Use of CIPRO. I am 41 and a corporate type. I play a ton of golf. I tore my calf muscle walking up a tee box last week. Ridiculous. I was just walking? Your stories all sound very similar. I am looking for a reason for this bizarre injury. Yesterday I was searching the internet for some answers and noticed a ton of sites discussing the correlation between the antibiotic CIPRO and tendon tears. I took a prescription for CIPRO in the early summer for a pulmonary infection. Since then I have had a bizarre hamstring injury and now this one. Has anyone here also used CIPRO within 6 months of their injury? Understand this . . . I DON'T WANT TO SUE ANYBODY. I just want some type of explanation because I have a lot of years of an active life to live and I cannot accept that sudden and unexplained severe muscle tears are now part of my life. I mean granted, I'm not a professional athlete, but I am active enough (golf, jogging, and strength training) and for that matter -- so are most of you -- that absurd injuries like this one should not be one of my concerns.

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  108. Update from the cannonballer- at 18 weeks!!! (june 7th ripped the calf muscle doing a cannonball into the pool!) --

    okay so 18 weeks later and I am STILL in physical therapy, STILL have pain and am STILL miserable!!Stairs are the hardest- especially going down!- and my balance is sometimes off when walking...

    Alan--Blood clot issue-- I was sent for testing when they thought I had the clot - due to severe discoloration in my leg, pain, and the drs.thought it was a possibility- but thank heavens tested negative...

    Basically they are telling me that this cannonball caused a traumatic injury that is taking too long to heal. I am still in amazement that this has RUINED my summer and now my fall! I actually still have to ice after a long day- I still have swelling and disoloration in my foot so I am still having to elevate... Oh well.. could be worse! Best of luck to all...

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  109. elboincc - No use of CIPRO here. If it is a common thread, perhaps others will mention it.

    cannonballer - le' ouch! I'm so sorry to hear about your ruined summer and fall. Keep up with the rehab and do the best you can!

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  110. Add me to the list.
    Basketball game
    36 - in shape
    Stretched calf muscles before game
    POP feeling
    Wondered why i was hit in the calf...

    At 10 hours with RICE, no swelling at all. Can stand, cannot walk normally.

    Anyone have opinion about going to doctor, taking time off work?

    -DC

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  111. ok since this is the number one place for this kind of injury, my story.. which has only just begun.

    couple of hours ago and in the gym,. feeling good.

    100kg (220lb) calf raises, then thought somebody had thrown a weight at my calf and the pop at the same time.

    pain in middle upper of calf.

    could still ride home but can not walk with a gait, only barely on tip toes.. i am 38 now and i guess i just pushing my body too much..

    did the RICE off to the doctor tomorrow.

    what a day :'(

    good to see from others that recovery does happen

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  112. Was I the only person to on this blog to see Olympic Gold medal volleyballer Misty May-Trainer tear her Achilles tendon two weeks ago on "Dances with the Stars"? You could hear her ask if she hit her leg on the chair. Everything described here on this blog was caught on camera.

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  113. Anonymous said...
    I, too, blew out my calf playing tennis..Unfortaunately the Doc did not run an MRI..and a year and a half later...still cramps like no other when I use it..so bad it cramps when I run up stairs....Do you guys have symptoms of a dent in your muscle now?

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008 3:24:00 PM

    That was my original post----Since then...
    I had the MRI--Gastrocnemius tear. Quote from teh orthopedic "Not sure what to say...I am not sure How I can help you" Apparently, these things are supposed to heal by themselves..Not so much with me cramping just running out to the trash can between innings of another Angel's loss...
    Supposably I am getting a referral (HMO--Right!) to go to UCLA...maybe someone knows somehting there...?

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  114. Wow, these stories help and scare. I was wakeboarding a week and half ago) and thought my calf was sore the next day so I proceeded with my regular workouts...running, weights, etc. Well, things didn't start getting better only worse. I thought I had a vein clot or something because I could feel something in on my calf. Went to the dr. last Fri. who did ultrasound and confirmed my calf was torn with hemm. on muscle. Kind of scary considering I have never torn a muscle. I'm going to a sports dr. tomoorw to see what the best treatment is for recovery. I hope that I did not wait too long because up until this past weekend, I have been walking around on it quite a but...even witht he pain...BTW I never heard a pop either. Wonder if I'll get a boat...6-8 weeks is a long time!!

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  115. We moved to a hilly place recently and my right calf muscle was sore for about 2 weeks. I thought it was just getting used to walking up and down hills. Then one day I was running down the stairs and i felt the most intense pain ever! I didn't hear a pop though. I iced it. It was pretty difficult to walk...I was limping for a day or 2. I researched it online and it seemed to be a torn muscle. Finally, a week or so later I went to the doctor and just mentioned it. He thought I may have torn a muscle too. He said to wait and see if it continues to hurt and maybe I should get an MRI if it continues. So it's been 2 weeks since.....it's still sore sometimes. I certainly can't go down stairs easily or run up any hills. But I have continued to walk on it and exercise on the treadmill (walking). 2 days ago, I ran across the room and felt that immense pain again...a bit delayed. Hope I didn't tear more muscle. Anyway, so it's ok sometimes, but then it's pretty sore other times and I still have to go really slowly down the stairs, etc...I don't know if I should go get an MRI? Will that help? Or is it just something that will heal on it's own? Should I not be exercising on the treadmill? I can't really sit around and do nothing....Hmmmm....what to do...by now it's already over a month now that it's sore on and off. Glad I found this site!

    T.S.

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  116. here's my story:

    Training for 2008 chicago marathon, was having ankle pain, so to counteract pain, changed shoe model from Nike Shox (like high heels) to Nike Vomero 3 (foot lies flatter). Anyway, long story short, one week before the marathon, the shoe change caused a medial calf tear. Saw the marathon from the sidelines on crutches and a boot. 2 months of no running and 3x/week of physical therapy. Please learn my lesson, all RUNNERS, if you change shoe models, step up your mileage GRADUALLY, not intensely. A half inch change in foot position in shoe changes your stride pattern, and can cause calf tears.

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  117. It's comforting to have company! I'm 48 and was playing tennis at lunch today in a nearby city park. Serving to the add court I hit the ball then thought I'd been shot in a drive-by. Wow, doesn't seem to be any denting or severe bruising but I have been icing and elevating all afternoon along with Advil. I'm supposed to be playing a doubles tourney in two weeks. Should I just withdraw now or do I have a chance to recover in 14 days? Granted it was only 5 hours ago that it occurred but it seems to be only a level one micro tear? Man I hate to withdraw ever!

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  118. Anon tennis player,

    I would recommend you pull out of the tennis tournament now. My first calf injury involved the same symptoms as you describe. I foolishly thought things were ok a week later, and ended up tweaking it again (add another week of pain).

    Since that time, I have tweaked my calf muscles in minor ways, and they were ok in a week or two. However, with the "gun shot" type of wounds, I think you will be out for 4-6 weeks.

    Just my opinion, I'm not a doc, insert standard disclaimer here, etc!

    Good luck!

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  119. Excellent blog Alan. Really good to get a wide range of perspectives on this injury.

    Apart from severity, there appears to be a number of differences in the type and exact location of the tear. There also seems to be significant differences in the speed of recovery not always related to the degree of initial pain / immobility experienced. I assume that the type of tear has a major influence on this.

    I am amazed at the number of people that don't get a full assessment at the outset.

    In my own case, I lunged forward in a game of badminton, nothing too stressful, a move that I have done countless times over the years. I felt that someone had kicked me in the calf and actually looked round thinking that some other lads in the games hall had hit a football onto the badminton court. Then a lot of pain and I just fell to the floor. The first aid person at the sports club got ice, but advised going to the hospital for a check-up as the calf muscle was a bit tight and swollen (though no obvious bruising). I could only weight bear marginally with my leg straight and my foot at right angles. Any ankle flexion was very painful and there was a level of stiffness and weakness.

    The injury has taken away considerable confidence in my physical robustness. I am pretty fit and always thought my legs to be in a strong condition. I had been hillwalking the weekend prior to the injury and also mountain biking, so it really has been quite disconcerting that a relatively modest lunge (when fully warmed-up) has resulted in this problem when the muscles were fairly built-up.

    Perhaps over-strengthening and loss of pliability needed for a high-impact sport was to blame. Good to know if anyone has had a similar experience.

    The ortho guy at the hospital spent a fair bit of time prodding and manipulating the ankle and muscle. He then ran a high resolution ultrasound scan and diagnosed that there was a tear at the muscle tendon interface about half way up the lower leg. Because sport and hillwalking is such major part of my lifestyle, he recommended placing the lower leg in a non-weight bearing cast with the foot pointing down to help ensure that the strain would heal at the optimum position to minimise the risk of further problems or weakness.

    The downside is that the recovery is slower and a lot more hassle to put up with. At four weeks the cast will be removed and after reassessment he will likely put me in a walking boot with the foot straightened at right angles for a short period of limited weight bearing.

    Unfortunately a side effect of being in the cast is muscle atrophy and, approaching the four week mark, I can already see that the cast has loosened considerably, or more accurately that my leg has shrunk! Don't know if others have also experienced this, but it seems to be the price to pay for immobilisation of the injury. Being pretty fit, its going to be a bit unpleasant seeing my leg muscles in such a (non) condition when the cast is removed. However, I will be given intensive physio and have been told that the muscle tone will return to normal pretty quickly.

    At the end of the day, if this route has the potential for a better outcome in the case of a more severe calf injury, then the discomfort, considerable problems of daily life hopping around on crutches will have been worth it.

    I would, however, suggest that anyone with a significant strain see a specialist, rather than a GP or just leaving things to heal in an uncontrolled manner.

    Maybe I'm just too cautious, but being physically active is so important to me that I want to give myself the best chance of complete recovery.

    Don

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  120. does anyone have knee pain behind the knee along with the torn calf muscle?

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  121. what types of physical therapy exercises do you do after the torn calf muscle heals?

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  122. I am a 51 year old woman. I used to play hockey and lacrosse. Emphasis on "used". Never had an injury. I attended a wedding reception last weekend and the combination of high heels and a killer dee-jay resulted in a torn left calf muscle. Where was this site last Sunday? I felt like I had a monstrous unending charlie horse in my calf and immediately began to hobble. My calf became swollen and misshapen. I am a lawyer and had a case set for Tuesday and Wednesday and was worried I would not be able to function. Curiously, I could walk in high heels, but not flats. I could not place my heel on the floor for 4 days and then could lightly stand on it by day 5. The whole back of my calf is black and blue-I hope that has peaked on day 8.I also took Naproxin steadily which seemed to work well. No more Soldier Boy for me.

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  123. I'm so glad I found this site! It's helpful to hear about others' experiences dealing with this tough injury.

    I felt the well-known pop playing indoor soccer. I wish I could say the injury occurred while I was making some spectacular move but actually my calf just seized after I planted my foot.

    It's been 7 weeks now and the calf has gotten worse. I improved during the first couple of weeks through PT but then had a few setbacks. It doesn't seem to take much to tweak the calf - a slight mis-step is enough.

    So now I'm heading back to the doctor to finally get an MRI (has anyone else had issues with their DR not giving them MRI?)and then back to PT. Hopefully the next time I write in I'll have progress to report.

    I wish everyone well in their recovery!

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  124. I guess I'll add to the list.

    Forty three year old male, slim and trim, in good shape. I was playing soccer with kids and other dads. I got a pass from my son and was runnning up the sideline. I pushed the speed up to my max as the 21 year old was chasing me down when blam! I felt like I got the worst charley horse ever in the left calf muscle. "SUB"! I yelled. I limped off. Took a warm leisurely bath and than ice. Tried to hide the injury from the wife as this is another in a string of things that keep happening to me. The pain was too much though and I told her in the morning. Was she concerned or empathetic? No, more annoyed with me. "Do me a favor and don't do anymore sports," she said. Yeah, right! I must come to grips with my age and reduce the level of exhuberance in which I compete. Time takes it's toll, mortality makes itself known.

    Great blog and good info... Like Alan I'm a surfer too. In order to keep surfing I think I need to forgoe the other activities. Seriously depressing.

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  125. Follow up to my original post (Paul_e)---After a second opinion, I am headed to UCLA Med cnter to get a third opinion on the MRI--I really suggest that we all take great concern in getting multiple opinion on our injuries---everyone is different and on how they heal...more to come...

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  126. I'm a 44 yo male, very active, weekend basketball warrior and blew out my left calf 12 days ago after about 2 1/2 hours of playing(I guess I'm not 18 anymore). Wow, never popped it this bad. Still on crutches, pain is ridiculous. Went to doctor, "just" a grade 3 tear. Had to go yesterday for a sonagram to make sure there was no blood clot(pain and swelling was significant). Dr. never did and MRI, does anyone think I should get one? I thought it may be ruptured because of the significant pain and no improvement. Or is this normal for this type of injury?

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  127. I'd get an MRI--I'm living proof...attend to it right away..rule out any issues...

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  128. By Don:

    In relation to the last few posts, If things are severe, then maybe an MRI would be useful. It can show a little more detail compared with a high resolution ultrasound scan, especially as to the extent to which the soleus may or may not be involved as well as the gastrocnemius.

    However, my understanding is that an ortho specialist can make a pretty good diagnosis just by careful examination of the site. I would not trust a family (general) practitioner in this.

    So with an ultrasound to rule out anything more sinister an MRI may not add much value to the treatment option or indeed the outcome. MRI is often provided to professional athletes and that appears as much to do with predicting the speed of recovery to playing standards - and the financial implications to the team (to be cynical). A full rupture, in what I believe to be very rare circumstances, may merit surgery and the MRI would provide useful detail to the surgeon.

    The treatment given to myself involved a cast for 4 weeks with the toe pointing down to ensure that the rupture site (MT junction) heals tight and an aircast for several weeks thereafter.

    With the boot off at home, I have been given some very gentle stretching exercises (not weight bearing) to start getting the muscle-tendon junction more flexible. I have another check-up with the specialist in 10 days and all being well I discard the boot and start intensive physiotherapy.

    Apart from extensive bruising being present when the cast came off (muscle and also the inside of the foot), the rupture site was marginally swollen and hard. That now seems to be subsiding. The cast has caused a little muscle atrophy, but thankfully not the skinny leg that I expected. The range of ankle motion is now back to near normal. Things are just a little tight due to the healing position in the cast, but improving daily.

    It seems strange, but I seem to be one of the few people on this site that has had this level of intervention by the specialist.

    I can cautiously move with the aircast off at home (partial weight bearing and no ankle flexion - so-called feathering motion), but the boot really comes into its own as it cocoons the injury and I can actually 'walk' a decent distance outside. Made it to the pub last night ;-)

    Both the specialist and the physio (who work in conjunction with each other) have told me that things will get back to normal and that I can do everything I was doing before.

    The physio explained how the injury came about. Basically hillwalking and mountain biking over a weekend which would leave the calf muscle strong, but inflexible. Add to this several games of badminton a few days later - a sport that has all the hallmarks of causing this type of injury - and that's where it all went wrong. Ageing, sadly, plays a role, but just in terms of a loss of stretchability in the muscle. Thus the physio's warning that I need to heed carefully the calf strengthening exercises and the stretching, warm-up and warm-down exercises that she will give me.

    Like many of us, regaining confidence to exercise hard will be
    a challenge. From my own perspective, I will most likely 'replace' risky activities with less risky. So maybe I need to move on from badminton and tennis and take up rowing, pilates and ramp-up the swimming and cycling.

    Might be a good idea if people put their names down first so we can make reference rather than being faced with the anonymous tag.

    Hope people are healing well and good to hear of some positive tales of successful return to previous activities. This would be a good boost to all of us.

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  129. I posted earlier as the 43 y/o male who tore his left calf muscle playing soccer with son and dads. I didn't want to tell my wife at first because my injury history is getting regular.

    It's been 10 days since the injury and I am now walking without pain but must be careful not to do anything other than just walking or I feel the pain again.

    Day 1 after the injury and I had a large purplish discoloration on my calf. Yesterday the discoloration started itching and as I felt the skin I noticed lumps and then some slight skin peeling. Today the peeling is worse and I'm left with whitish splotches where the skin is peeled.

    Has anyone else experienced similiar symptoms? Any feedback? Thanks!

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  130. Oh, I wanted to add one more thing.

    I take a statin drug to lower my cholesterol. I saw somewhere in my research that torn muscles and ligament injuries are exacerbated in people who take these drugs.

    Are there many of you suffering the torn muscles that are taking statins?

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  131. i take imitrex for migraines. it HURT twice as much when i took them with the torn calf muscle.

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  132. Hi Everyone
    I love this blog - very helpful. I am a 42 year old woman and I have always been very active and keep myself very fit with walking and bike riding and on the crosstrainer, so I am not new to exercise. I have just torn my calf muscle 7 days ago - this is the second time I have done it. First time was the left leg now I have just done the right leg. Both times I was doing step aerobics and both times I felt the tearing feeling that drops you to the floor. When I did it the second time I knew I had done exactly the same thing. I am into my second week of recovery and after having the experience of having done it before I knew Rest, ice compression and elevation (RICE) really do work. The first injury in my left leg I could limp around, which I did and I made it worse and made the recovery period so much longer. When I did the second injury in my right leg I immediately layed up and kept off it. I could only hop around to get anywhere and my biggest fear was I would tear the hopping foots calf as that was already weakened from doing it before. I hopped to physiotherapy as soon as I could because I knew I needed those crutches. - very important to get the crutches. The second injury was different because I actually could not stand on it at all. Now after 7 days I can stand on it with no pain - the only trouble I am having now is putting the pressure on the ball of the foot to walk and I am unable to stand on my tip toes. I am doing all the stretches the physio has recommended and I am walking with short strides. I know that the recovery really does take 2 months total to really be back in strong form again. In the early stages of recovery it is very easy to tear again and I am going to be very careful. My advice to anybody that has just done there calf muscle is to make sure you keep that leg rested to let it heal and follow the RICE it really does work. I have now officially given up step aerobics!!!
    I will keep you updated in 7 more days.

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  133. OK - Here is my story - sounds typical. I have been training 5-6 days a week for 4 months to get ready to climb Aconcagua in South America, 22,841 feet. I am 47 and fit. Was playing tennis Friday when it felt like someone hit my calf with a hard hit tennis ball. I looked around to see no ball. I also felt a "snap" in the calf, then started to really hurt. First two days did nothing but rest and ice. Last two days have been no problem walking. Soreness still in muscle though. I did not notice much swelling, no bruising. My climb starts in three weeks from today so I am praying the calf heals and can hold up to 15 days of climbing. I have a feeling I will be worried the whole time about it. Will be far away from medical help. Uggh. First injury I have ever had. Good luck to everyone else! Any ideas how long a rehab with my descrition shouls take?

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  134. Hi innotube

    I left a blog on 11/11 - 42 yr old woman that injured my right calf muscle but has also injured my left previously. I too am on cholestoral tabs. I have only heard that joint pain can be a problem.

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  135. From Don in reply to the post on climbing Aconcagua.

    I'm also mad keen on the mountains and can relate fully to your apprehensions. These too have been going through my mind of late.

    This sounds like an awesome venture and you don't want to leave anything to chance. My advice, for what it's worth, is to go immediately for a full assessment by a respected and well-qualified physiotherapist. They will be able to assess the site of the strain (may be more problematic if at the calf-tendon junction, although I'm definitely not expert), severity and estimate recovery timescale. Importantly, however, they may be able to undertake some therapy / massage prior to your trip and give advice on the use, or otherwise, of neoprene calf protectors and gentle stretching / strengthening exercises.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery and hopefully an inclusion on the site of a great holiday!!

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  136. I am a 58 YO male playing senior league softball in FL for the first time in about 25 years. It's a blast! Tore my right calf about 2 months ago running the bases, my left hamstring about 3 weeks ago, same thing and my left calf this week chasing a fly ball. Might try playing in 2 weeks with a pinch runner. Things heal slowly these days!

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  137. What a fantastic blog! It's definitely reassuring (and sometimes scary) to hear similar stories.

    I'm a 45-year-old male, good shape, yoga, former tennis and squash pro, weight lifter, cyclist. Four days ago, I was playing squash when I made a normal move forward to get a ball, and POW! somebody shot a rock hard squash ball into my left calf. Like many people on here, I looked around to see who had hit me with whatever it was. No ball, and no one there.

    I immediately iced, and then went to urgent care. The (excellent) doctor gave me a leg splint, crutches, ace bandages and ibuprofin and an anti-inflammatory. First day was all ice, and doctor said starting day 2, it should be equal periods of ice and then heat to relax and loosen the muscle after the ice (plus rest and elevation).

    I can walk gingerly (with my toe pointed out awkwardly), but I'm trying to use my crutches as much as I can to let the healing work. It's killing me not being able to work out.

    Will check back in again in a few days to give an update.

    Thanks to everyone for participating.

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  138. Hi, I am a 38 year old primary school teacher, reasonably fit, I just started taekwondo two weeks ago. First week no problems, second week five minutes into the warm up and as I was jumping my leg side swipping over the instructors arm I brought my foot down and felt a pop at the back of my leg and immediate pain. After sitting for forty five minutes waiting for my kids to complete the class(with my leg elevated)I was unable to put any weight on the leg without pain. My Dad and brother had to come and carry me out to their car and it was a trip to A&E. I was seen by a nurse who thought it could be a partial rupture of the Achilies Tendon, but fortunately when the specialist examined me he said it was probably a torn calf muscle. The only advice I was given was what everyone else seems to be saying Rest, Ice, compression and elevation. I couldn't walk for the first day and having been given no crutches was aching all over from hopping and pulling myself around. It's now day three and I can put some weight on my foot and hobble a little. The doctor did say possibly a week off work and that it would still be painful after that. I have no welling or obvious outward visible signs of injury so hopefully it is only minor. May go to my GP and see if I can get some physio as I have always had quite tight calf muscles. I am now worried that this could easily happen again if I don't get some professional advice on how to help the healing and aftercare process. After reading all the helpful blogs I will certainly take time and care to let it heal even though I am an impatient person.Good luck to everyone recovering may it be quick.

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  139. I just pooped my right a couple of weeks ago during a soccer game. I immediately knew what it was but refused to believe it so continued 'play'. I was running around like Terry Fox! After my teammates yelled at me to go down repeatedly I finally did and couldn't get back up unassisted. I continued to insist it was just a cramp, haha. 2+ weeks later it feels loads better and I am tempted to go back for a bit of jogging but no play. I'm afraid though because I know I'll push it and I don't want to re-injure it. Any advice on what I can do at this point? I am virtually limp free, with pain when I step quickly to the side or middle. Ankle bruising is nearly gone. Mainly just tightness, but some tenderness upon massage of the area (gastrocnemius, medial head). There does appear to be a slight void although my doctor made no mention of it. He likes to prescribe meds and that is all! So I have some NSAIDS. Anyway, wondering if it's a good idea to try jogging slow, or hit the pool for deep water aquasize, or yoga, spinning, whatever?

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    Angie

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  140. Uh, I meant popped. I guess I should have previewed that post! lol

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  141. From Don:

    Thanks for the post Benjamin. Same shot / movement as yourself, but badminton. Look forward to hearing your update. Also useful to find out the injury location on the muscle and if there is bruising and swelling.

    To the primary teacher, thanks also for a very informative post. Exact same mis-diagnosis as happened to me at A&E. Told that it was an achilles rupture and they arranged for me to get a cast on the next day pending my decision on proceeding with an operation. Had the sense to ask for a second opinion from the osteo specialist. Hi res ultrasound with much manipulating of the tendon lower down. Then told that it was a calf muscle tear at the tendon interface and no operation required, but sufficient for a cast for 4 weeks.

    This highlights a potential problem of wrong diagnosis that people should be aware of. Not good to end up in surgery for achilles repair for them to open up and find nothing wrong!

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  142. I had no "causal event". I was walking in the mall and all of a sudden my leg (just at the bottom of the big part of my calf muscle) started to hurt. After a week or so it went away. Then a few weeks later it started to hurt again. It feels like someone is pinching my calf muscle with a pair of pliers. I can't massage it away or stretch it away. It just comes and goes without any event needed. Can someone help me explain what I can do to make it stop?

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  143. This is not going to come as as a surprise. I was playing frisbee football with a group from my church. I was in the second game so I was pretty warmed up. I decided I would take it easy and play defense since we had a lot of kids who wanted to run. I was simply doing a light jog. I looked over my shoulder and I thought someone hit me with a rock. I also heard the pop. I am 42 and in decent shape. I reaized from watching Dancing with the Stars that if it was the Acheles tendon then a lot of pain would follow. I waited for the pain but nothing happened. I do feel pain when I mis-step. I feel pain when I curl my toes up. I plan on taking off tomorrow and seein the doctor. I will update everyone with my progress. Great blog! I hope everyone has a speedy pain free recovery.
    -Scott

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  144. I have made tremendous progress in 24 hours. I have contacted my doctor and explained the symptoms. Since there was no swelling they suggested that I use heat. They also expressed that I could massage the calf muscle. So I have done three things. 1. I have used an electronic rotating ball with heat massager on the spot of the injury. 2. I used some stretching bands to lightly pull my foot upward. And my favorite thing was #3. 3. I used a sligthly deflated kick ball and place my foot on top of it. I would move my foot in different directions. This provided a very mild stretch. It felt really good. I would also lay on my back and place my calf/ankel on top of the ball and move my leg back and forth. You can implement your own light stretches.
    Now let me express my injury may not have been as severe as some other on this blog. However, I have improved about 50% since yesterday. I also experienced no swelling or discomfort when sitting or lying down. The only pain I received was when walking. This has subsided greatly since I have done the light stretching. I would emphasize not to over do the stretching and consult with your doctor. I am amazed at how much better I am feeling. I will keep you updated on my progres.
    Scott

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  145. Hi Scott,

    Good to hear that this is moving fast and great advice for those with a relatively mild injury where there is no swelling or bruising. Even if the pain disappears quickly and there is no tightness or feeling of injury, I would seriously suggest a cautious, progressive and controlled regime aimed at strength and, critically, suppleness of the leg muscles (not just the calf). Using a band seems a great idea. I'm now exactly at the two month phase having ditched the boot last week(4 weeks cast 4 weeks airboot. My own physiotherapist is progressing me from a band (used for resistance of both up and down motion of the feet) to two leg calf raises with progression to 50/50 loading on both. Gentle types of calf / achilles stretches essential as well. My leg muscles are still weak, however, from the cast, so this will take some time in my own situation to build them up as well as getting the exercise needed for the injury.

    One word of caution, although your injury may appear to heal fast in terms of pain etc, You really need to give this a significant period of time with normal loading and the all important stretching / strengthening exercises before getting back to your sport. It appears that chronic problems possibly leading to a more serious rupture can occur if a return to more strenuous exercise is not gradual.

    Best wishes in you recovery

    Don

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  146. Laxtaxi here. 48 yo, regular workout, etc. Out skiing today, like I've done every year of my life. Demonstrating a maneuver to a ski racing group when I felt the gunshot in the back of the calf, toward bottom of the muscle. Was able to ski down due to the boot support. I'm now 1 hour later sitting with the leg up and ice pack on my calf and am taking ibuprofen. Or is it ibuprofen on the leg and taking ice? Can't remember. Anyway, is my season screwed?

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  147. i stepped down the stairs wrong and ER said i tore my calf muscle in august. it took about 3 months to heal. i still have some pain behind my knee. not sure what i hurt there. it still hurts when i take imitrex for migraines. now 6 months later - the pain behind the knee and the calf muscle are hurting again.

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  148. Hi Alan, I did come across you doing a search for a torn calf muscle. My injury seems to be a little different from the others here so I thought I would throw my story in too.
    First let me say I am a fit 50 year old woman (just 50). My husband and I had vacationed in Hawaii for a week, lots of walking and staying active. After flying for ten and a half hours back to Sydney Australia we jumped a cab to a local hotel as we were flying to the Gold Coast the following morning. Had a drink and jumped into bed. About an hour and a half hour after falling asleep I woke up with a massive cramp. I have suffered with cramps before but not like this. I jumped out of bed put my foot to the floor and POP the pain was horrendous. After about twenty minutes of my husband massaging my calf and trying to stop me from screaming (the poor people in the room next door) the cramp eased but the extreme pain didnt. I managed to get to the foyer of the hotel with the idea to get a cab to the local hospital. When reception saw how much pain I was in an ambulance was called and I ended up in the ER. To cut a long story short once the hospital had confirmation it wasnt a DVT (deep vein thrombosis from the ten and a half hour flight) they sent me home. Went straight to my GP who ordered an ultra sound with the results being a tear in the medial calf muscle. That was three weeks ago and I am still on crutches and cant put my foot flat on the floor without bending my knee, needless to say I cant put any weight on it either. I have been seeing a physio for treatment twice a week and although there is no pain all the time now I still cant walk without the crutches. I have had serious pain before but this tops the lot. I have had a double hip replacement and I would rather have another one than do this again. With Christmas a week away nothing short of a miraclous cure will see me off crutches by them.
    I cant believe I could do so much damage putting my foot to the floor trying to relieve a cramp.

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  149. I posted before (missed Chicago marathon b/c calf tear) and a couple months later am still recovering. Just wanted to say 2 things (1) Everyone's stories have been really helpful - thanks. (2) Everyone take your time in healing....my physical therapist wanted me to run after a month, but I trusted my gut and my better judgement. I'm laying off most activities involving my ankles and lower leg, because pain and numbness and tendinitis were not subsiding. Trust your own judgment and if that means take your TIME, please do so. I don't intend to run again until February (4 months from the injury). There are alternative ways to stay in shape. This is coming from a super active 36yr male who has been an athlete forever.

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  150. by Don:

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for your post and I couldn't agree more with your advice. I am now 12 weeks since the injury and still a long way to full recovery and, like yourself, 4 months seems to be my current goal (but not for racquet sports or anything with explosive movements...that's on hold indefinitely!). I don't know whether being put in a cast for 4 weeks, then an air boot for 4 weeks has been a good or bad thing as the immobilisation shortens the muscles and has left some degree of atrophy and weakness, so this complicates the picture as I'm not sure what is due to the injury and waht is due to the immobilisation, which apparently can take a while to reverse.

    One thing that you mention is tendinitis and the problem I have is that from the base of the gastroc down to the ankle is very tight with inflammation and swelling. My physiotherapist does not seem surprised by this.

    In your own (and others) circumstances, is the tendonitis this widespread going all the way down to the ankle?

    In terms of regaining fitness, the inflammation and tightness means that I just can't push things in the gym to get my strength and fitness back which is frustrating.

    My plan is to gradually introduce different exercise regimes building up to running (on the treadmill which should be more controlled and safer).

    I now swim breastroke each day, initially no leg movement, but a float. Now 250 meters with moderated leg input and will up this to 500 then 1 km.

    The physio has me doing some cycling (but really no significant resistance loading on the bike). I will increase both the time and loading slowly over the next few weeks. I then intend to introduce the eliptical trainer (again very gently). After that I will try the rowing machine to help with core strength, then running when the physio give the all clear.

    As you say Mark, really important to err on the side of caution and build-up slowly.

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  151. Thanks for all the follow-up, folks. I just completed my first soccer season, and finally at the end I felt that my calf was not a limiting factor anymore.

    Instead, I've managed to injure other areas of my leg! ;> However, I do believe that my over-all leg strength *is* improving, and it just takes longer as you age.

    So, go easy on it and take your time to get back into shape!

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  152. Hi Don, thanks for your comments and advice. I certainly empathize with you because I, too, have had a grade 2 medial calf tear, crutches, boot, physical therapy, calf ultrasound, therapeutic massages, ankle pain, etc....When the injury occurred, I never felt pain like that in my life.....It was actually really scary and I was afraid I would never run again.

    After 2 months of physical therapy, my calf muscle is getting stronger. I'm being careful not to push too hard, and am gradually doing elliptical, stationary bike, and swimming. Too many ankle strengthening exercises, then immediate ankle impact exercises, from my physical therapist 2 weeks ago have brought my ankle tendinitis back, and so I'm actually laying off ALL cardio for the rest of December. The tendinitis is limited to my ankles and nowhere else. Pain and discomfort is your body telling you to stop or slow down. So what if I gain a few pounds (in chicago, we just wear bulky sweaters and big winter coats anyway nowadays :)

    I've done a lot of reading on this stuff, and I've incorporated 2 things nowadays: (1) I stretch my gastrocnemius and hamstrings and quads daily for at least 30 minutes (2) I ran out and bought over 60 bucks in cold packs that are reusable/refreezable in the freezer. You can get them at any Walgreens or CVS. These are a lot more convenient than making homemade ziplock ice packs every time. I'm going to make some major changes in my new running strategy when I start preparing for the 2009 Chicago Marathon. Here are the basics (1) Will NOT run everyday....rest is necessary. (2) Will stretch after every run. (3) Will use the cold/ice packs for ankles/calf muscles after every run...this will lower imflammation dramatically (4) Will use better fitted shoes (5) Will increase total mileage gradually, not rapidly (6) and last but not least, next year, will listen to my body and will not "fight through the pain". That was really dumb, but I'll be older and wiser.

    I wish you well in your recovery.

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  153. Hi Alan,

    Many thanks for starting this Blog. It is a really useful resource.

    Great to hear that you have successfully completed your soccer season.

    This is a major inspiration to many of the sports-minded people on the site who feel in the early months after injury that full strength and being able to get active again is a dream that will never happen.

    It reflects my own physio's view that this is an injury that, if handled properly, will fully resolve, but that it takes many months, patience and diligence with the strengthening and stretching protocols to achieve this and to protect against further problems.

    Mark,
    I can relate fully to what you say. It has been concerning me that the tendinitis can occur all the way down to the ankle despite the injury being half-way up the lower leg.

    As you point out, it doesn't take much activity at this stage to trigger the inflammation and tightness.

    Three months ago, I could cycle 2 hours to access the mountains and then spend 6 hours walking.

    The physio has me at 5 mins at very low load and low rpm's on the stationary bike and if I go above this, then it triggers the inflammation. I am only allowed to bike for 3 times per week at the moment. Apparently I need the recovery period from all that arduous exercise!

    Walking is no more than 20 min at a time and if inflammation flares up, then I have been told to have an intervening day of minimal activity with just stretching. Icing always as necessary.

    The key, I've been told, is gauging the level of exercise just to the point of inflammation and knocking that point back gradually over several months with different exercises being introduced. It does mean 5 mins cycling being increased to the outrageous level of 8 min the following week. Patience in this is everything.

    On the bright side, getting back to swimming (breaststroke only), but powering mostly from the upper body (ie the leg movement is more for stabilising) is good for the recovery and just brilliant for stopping the fitness rot.

    This has been a real boost mentally and would advise anyone with pool access, and with their physio's blessing, to give this a go. Just don't go to a busy pool where you might get a kick. That is how paranoid this whole escapade has left me!

    Anyway good healing to all.

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  154. Just read through the posts, thinking unprintable thoughts the while. I started playing tennis in September after a 15 year hiatus. Took it easy, and have found myself playing in a league with much older fellows. I'm 51. The average age of my partners is mid-70's, I'd guess. Excellent players all, and jovial but keen competitors. In any case, I volunteered to play singles in the 2nd set, and had served my second serve to the starboard court. My man Jim chipped it to my right near the net, but the bounce was sufficiently high for me to get it if I hustled. Three steps into the hustle I felt that nasty "pop" everyone seems to mention and skiped the rest of the way across the court on my left foot. Game, set, match. Went immediately to my chiropractor for some torment. Making Dr. appointment in a minute. Merry Christmas!

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  155. Now I somewhat feel normal......I'm in pain today due to the same problem occuring not just once, but twice in 6 weeks. Unfortuntely, yesterday was the worst by far. I was doing absolutley nothing but walking up my driveway trying to get out of the rain when I felt the "pop" and almost collapsed. luckly, my husband & children saw & were able to help me. I am now able to walk by dragging my leg. it feels like I'm carrying a heavy weight around my calf. If I accidently turn a certain way I get a jolting pain. It's very stiff like & now I'm scared that something like this will be reccurent. I haven't consulted an ortho yet. I work for a doctor so I like to "self diagnose" myself because i think I know it all. Thanks for all of the great advise 7 I wish everyone well.

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  156. Hope youre not tiring of calf stories!? Dropped my girlfriend off at the rail station to go to the continent for 2 weeks, then as I turned the car into my home road the drive shaft broke. I was trying to push the car up a slight slope to park up when, you guessed it, pop! (mid muscle) The leg would bear no weight at all without intolerable pain. I am now home alone for Christmas, with no car and unable to walk!
    A heel lift makes a huge improvement though (rolled up sock in the shoe) It protects the calf from flexing enough to shuffle about, 2 days after the injury.

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  157. HEllo Hello, I'm 30yr old Dan in SWFLA. as I read all these... I cant help but feel your pains... NO really... I do feel the pain! And so my December 17th story goes: I was unloading my last tow for the night around 7pm. The customer had stated they would prefer that the cars hood face thier garage so that they may troubleshoot it the next day. It was a little stick sentra. Because I already had it loaded on the flatbed fowards I had to unload it in the road intending to push it fowards all the way up an inclined driveway. I positioned myself @ the drivers side door 1 hand on the door the other at the stearing wheel I had good momentum going up too about half way up the driveway YUPERS, BAM!... well more like "POP", this being the first time in my life i heard this pop noise in such an area that brought me down... But I could not go down yet since I had the weight of this car scaling me back!!! It was intense... I reached in grabed the parking brake and lodged myself into the seat to wich the customer asks... "R U OK?". "I dunno" I replied "I got a crazy charlie horse and it won't go away" my calf remained locked up tight while I continued to try pulling it back like you would a charlie horse. I told him I had to go and hobbled back to the truck... I contemplated going straight to the emergency room since I was feeling all sorta weird feelings like slight dryness of the mouth... I presume I was borderline panicking moraless. I somehow managed to use my left foot for breaking and driving since I have lost most all toe down pushing function. Against my better judgement I brought the truck back to dispatch. socialized over my hobbling injury to wich I was offered bengay, muscle cramp rub compounds, etc.. I knew better that something serious had occured but still dismissed it as anything more than a muscle pull even thru constant dull throbing pains. So I do the classic go home, try to sleep it off... but wake up it's still tight and more uncomfortable than ever. SO I contact a foot specialist who refers me to go to the E.R. and get an MRI done. So I'm at the ER on dec.18th for atleast 3 hours before being seen and finally the ER docter looks it over by hand and tells me that the achilles tendon is intact at the heel point but is concerned where it conects to its adjoining muscles and that he's going to put me in a splint, give me crutches, and refer me to an ortho doctor for follow up treatment and rehab and goes on to tell me that they the hospital only do MRI's on an emergency basis from the ER. so he wrights a bunch of prescriptions for an outpatient MRI wich states:
    "MRI R calf & achilles tendon R/O Tendon rupture DX R calf pain" another for "percocet 5mg/325 sig t po Q 6hr PRN #10" and another for "flexeril 10mg sig t po tid #21". SO I leave there after investing 5 hrs at the ER. Try to schedule the MRI, have to wait till the 22nd... wich hopefully all results will be available the next day since I see the ortho Doc on the 23rd. Today is the 21st. and I tell you while much of the pain has subsided... I feel a great deal of incapacitation... I can not weight bear to the toes of my right foot... but on the heal I seem to have a disfigured toes pointed 45* outward hobble and kinda pull my foot foward technique going right now... I can't do the crutches... they kill my abs! The other strange thing, well not so strange since it affirms there is something wrong is if i sit down and try to analize by holding each calf muscle in hand and slightly flexing... I can easily feel and see my left make the flex feel and look... but I have a no visual go on my right side wich still seems to have evident light swelling around the calf area and the backside of the knee as well. I can only say I will know more in due time but for the time being it's good to know I'm not the first and won't be the last to sucumb to this internal overload, so then there should be an effective rehab treatment to come out of this after all. I'm thinkin positive since I'm already feeling lessened pain 3-4 days later.

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  158. Hey Dan,

    Sorry to hear of the injury.

    Of the many calf-tear problems, the musculotendon junction rupture seems to be the most unpleasant and longest to resolve.

    It is really important at this stage, until you see the specialist, that you don't weight bear at all, and definitely not try to check the strength by trying to push yourself on to your toes.

    The area where the rupture is, needs to be kept free of tension or movement so that the repair process is allowed to happen and not disturbed.

    The ortho guy will give you advice on the best way forward and its essential that you adhere to this or the recovery period may be much longer.

    If the rupture is severe enough, he might even immobilise the lower leg in a cast for a few weeks to give everything a chance to heal properly. If less severe, he may give you a removable air boot or splint and along with physio some very gentle stretching exercises (not load bearing). Different ortho guys have different ways of approaching this.

    The crutches are a real pain to use at first, but, on the bright side, they give you a good work out and you will develop muscles that you didn't know you had!

    Hope that all goes well with the ortho guy and it would be really appreciated if you can post on progress as there are not many postings on specific MT junction injuries. It would be really helpful if people can get some handle on the different approaches that are taken to treat this specific problem.

    Happy healing!
    Don

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  159. Cannonballer here again.... okay, briefly to recap-- I ripped my calf muscle back in June '08...RICE/PT/lots of ortho visits/lots of Aleve/ crutches/ the big boot/etc. ... lots of problems.... Had just been on what I felt was some sort of recovery in late November..had just started to drive and walk without crutches/boot .when BOOM.. I was just walking when POP- felt the same pain/feelings as back in June... re-tear...back to square one- back to crutches...back to the boot...FRUSTRATED as can be... Seeing a new ortho tomorrow for a new perspective...or at least peace of mind...7 MONTHS!!!!

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  160. I am relieved to find this blog and to commiserate with all of you fellow sufferers. I am a 54 year old woman in decent shape but not currently athletic. I tore my right calf muscle on December 13th while carrying a heavy crate up a flight of stairs. (I am an importer and spend much time lugging heavy boxes and crates of inventory around.) I arrived at the top stair, juggled my weight and heard a pop and thought something had hit me in the back right calf. My first concern was that I had torn my achilles tendon, but I was able to flex my toes up a bit, so that was not the case. I went to the ER where I was told that it was most likely a tear of the popliteal or gastrocnemius muscle. Four days later I finally got into an orthopedic doctor who said it was a torn medial gastrocemius muscle. He took no tests, but I must assume it is a II or III from all descriptions I have read. He prescribed icing for 5 days, crutches for three weeks, and PT for 6 or more.
    It has been 13 days now. I saw improvement for the first four days only. The night after seeing the orthopedic doctor I went for PT and have been worse since, s I am putting it off for awhile longer. I don't know if I started PT too early and reinjured my muscle doing it, or if my increased pain and swelling is completely coincidental. Since seeing the PT my leg gets icey cold if I sit, stand, or hobble on my crutches. The only time it warms up is when I sleep, since my leg is then above my heart. I was frightened, so called the doctor who sent me to the ER at night for an ultrasound to make sure I was not having a blood clot. The test was negative, but the problem is still there. I talked to the doctor after the ultrasound and he said it was probably sympathetic or parasympathetic nerves reacting funny and sending messages to cool. I have a pulse in my foot. He advised me to make sure I keep moving the leg.
    I am so discouraged since it has been 13 days and I can't drive, can't walk well on crutches (at least not well enough to deal with Boston snow and ice), and have no idea when I will be functional in my importing business. It is too painful to put any pressure on my leg. I have already called off my buying trip to the middle east for February, feeling that the likelihood of my having adequate mobility by then is close to zero.
    The pain is not that bad. I can manage it with 600 mg ibuprofen. But, I don't know why I am seeing no real improvement after 13 days. And, I have discovered that doctors can be very unpleasant this time of year. They just want holiday family time.
    Thanks to all of you who have shared with me the need to be patient. I'm still working on it!

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  161. Well what I did this morning was I was taking our Chihuahua out and got to the bottom step and slipped on a patch of ice and my left leg folded under me. I crawled back inside and came to grips with the fact that I wasn't going to be walking, and I had extreme pain on the back outside of my left leg/calf area.

    Living in an RV here in Arizona calling 911 was something I didn't want to do because they couldn't come in with a gurney, but since I couldn't go outside under my own power I finally relented and called. At 300 pounds it took 2 pretty good sized EMTs to get me outside. Got to the emergency room and x-rays were negative, and the doctor surmised I either had a severe strain or a muscle tear. It was too high up to be an Achilles tendon, so I've narrowed on a calf tear.

    Reading what a lot of people have already posted I can agree the difficulty just getting around on crutches. Hopefully in the next couple of days the pain will subside slightly. They gave me a shot of Demerol at the emergency room and when I got home I pretty much crashed in my recliner until about midnight. I can at least get comfortable now and the leg doesn't hurt when elevated. But walking with crutches or putting any weight on it whatsoever is still out of the question.

    I hope beyond hope that in the next few days I'll be able to get around on crutches better. Because even going to the bathroom is quite a chore at the moment.

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  162. I am a truck driver and one day about a week ago I fell from the top step of my truck to the lower step. I go about 250 pounds and only the toes of my left foot caught the lower step. I'm in decent shape and calf muscles are large and strong, however when my body weight forced the hyper-extension of my ankle I believe this created a tear of at least the 2 magnitude based on the previous responses. I have used the R.I.C.E. treatment and produced some relief. I get the most relief from Advil and Tylenol. Bruising occurred at about the 4th or 5th day. Swelling still present but has reduced considerably since occurrence. Can stand and walk very slowly and with an obvious limp. Pain in central portion of calf ranges from 3-7 depending on activity with 10 being worst. I've been worried about needing a surgery but after reading your comments I think maybe just need more rest, elevation and patience.

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  163. wow... I swear this blog wasn't out there when I first tore my calf muscle. Or at least, somehow I missed it. It would have been a comfort to see all these people with their recovery stories.

    I too figured I'd torn an Achilles tendon when mine happened, which was in an airport in Frankfurt with a plane to catch and 30 gates to run past before I got there.

    I'm 43, relatively fit (about 10 lbs to lose), and had been running every other day for about a year, prior to the injury. I pushed it too hard and there was a slight burn in both calves prior to the "pop." But I mistook that for a healthy post-workout burn (I had run hard on the day prior to the overnight flight).

    I don't need to go into all the symptoms, since it matches so many of your stories. But it was serious pain, replete with the divot in my calf muscle, a week of being nearly immobilized, and then a visit to a sports doctor.

    He taped up my leg in an interesting way... basically to both put pressure on my calf and to keep my foot pointed downward so the calf muscle could close the tear while it healed. I had to keep it that way for another week or so.

    Couldn't run on it without pain or fear of a new tear for... wait for it... SIX weeks. I tried to do as much as I could with other exercises to keep fit, but it wasn't easy.

    ICE and elevation were key to recovery. And then, two very important stretches that I never go without before a run -- the usual leaning on the wall with the leg stretched backward, plus a second stretch that's something like crouching halfway down with knees bent, but only with one knee at a time while the other extends backward. This is to stretch the smaller of the two calf muscles.

    I still get some pain at night or in the morning in that calf. And I can feel it in stretches before I run.

    But really, I'm writing now because I just slightly re-injured it twice in a week by running in the deep cold (about 10F outside). Despite stretches, I had a twinge mid-run and then continued slight pain.

    Remembering the six week ordeal last time, I turned and hobbled home to do other exercises. But I'm hoping this won't be a problem all winter.

    I'm going to try adding calf raises with bodyweight+, the moment the pain subsides, to see if I can get this behind me. Persistent nuisance, this.

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  164. I injured the medial and lateral ligaments of my right knee, for various reasons, I was undiagnosed for well over a year, I just kept limping until finally surgery was done, I have arthritis so the knee is better but its not great. Now to my problem, Im sure this has been caused by a good year or more of limping, but one day I was walking up the stairs and experienced pain like no other. I felt a rip, a tear or better still what felt like a knife blade was shoved into my left leg, just under the knee and on the inside. I couldnt walk for 3 days, i couldnt even move it slightly without being in intense pain. There was no swelling after, nothing you could see, after 3 days i could walk again, move my feet , toes everything, I still have pain now in that area and I have yet to have an MRI, I dont want surgery again, but this happened quite a while ago now and although its nothing like it was , its not going away. I know i need to get the films done but Im wondering if someone knows what this is.

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  165. Here's my update from a car pushing injury, Dec 18. . .
    I dont see too many refs to HEEL LIFTS here. I'd like to emphasise just how important they have been to me: lifting the heel relaxes the calf and improves walking ability to an amazing degree.
    3 weeks after a grade (?) I was able to walk any distance, with a slight limp.
    HOWEVER: 2 days ago I toppled over trying to mount my bicycle!! Ive torn it again! Back to square one, or worse?

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  166. Hi Everyone,

    I was playing a league tennis match 5 days ago. We were ending our 3rd set after playing 2.5 hours. We tied it up 5 to 5. I was so excited, I did a little "Victory Jump", and when I came down, heard a pop, and then pain. I couldn't put any weight on it. I immediately iced it and went to an orthopedic surgeon that afternoon. It looks like no damage was done to the achilles tendon or the knee, thank goodness, but I've been hobbling around on crutches ever since.

    My doctor has recommended an MRI but I'm not quite sure why (even after asking him) and the cost will be all out of pocket. From everything I've read, I still don't understand why one would need an MRI. If anyone has some insight into this, please advise! Thanks for your help and a speedy recovery to you all.

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  167. Amanda... of course, get it checked out... but it seems like, given where you're posting this, you know already... sounds very much like you've torn your calf muscle.

    And what does that mean, exactly? Well, I think the first thing you'll discover, if you don't know it already, is that there are two muscles in the calf you can tear. A larger one and a smaller one.

    I tore the smaller one... had the "pop" like a gunshot to the leg... and was hobbled for a good six weeks... but there are three degrees of tears.

    Degree one can heel, if you ice and stay off it, in a couple weeks. Two can take five to six weeks but heal on its one. Three requires surgery, or can.

    If you're one or two (most likely), three things.

    First, tape it so your toes are pointed down and your heel is up, to shorten the calf muscle and press the rip together.

    Second, ice it way more than you think necessary. Every day maybe twice a day. And maybe even at night, if you have gel packs you can bind to your leg.

    Third, once the pain is maybe 1/10th of what it was or less, you can start GENTLY stretching and exercising it. Raise on your toes gently with repetitions.

    And then, don't exercise again without gently stretching it in advance. This injury only gets more common as you get older.

    I'm about six months out from mine and if I run while it's cold out, even after stretching, I can feel enough pain that I have to stop. But it's worth stopping, because a full re-injury is just too debilitating for too long.

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  168. Hi Amanda,

    As Google points our, there are different severities of tear, but in addition to that, there are different positions at which the tear can occur.

    If the tear is significant (grade 3) and involves the muscle-tendon junction (ie the zone where the muscle and tendon merge into each other), you really should get this checked out. Immobilisation (I had a cast / walking boot for a few weeks)and use of crutches to avoid any weight bearing may be needed to allow things a chance to heal properly.

    Ultrasound may be cheaper and sufficient, at least for a first look. MRI will give greater detail, but experienced ortho specialists can likely diagnose the problem pretty accurately even without a scan.

    You will likely have bruising and / or swelling if the problem is more severe.

    An operation is seldom necessary or even useful / possible for junction ruptures like this.

    Hopefully things are not at the extreme end for you, but if they are, then you really need some physiotherapy and advice on sports-specific exercises to do before getting back to playing tennis. Everything needs to be increased slowly and if you trigger inflammation, for example by walking 30 min instead of 15 min, then allow this to settle down for a day and then be more sparing in the exercise.

    The biggest mistake that people make is not realising that this can take a long time to heal fully. A complete junction rupture can take a year for the muscle and tendon connection to return to normal. However, you may feel things are OK after several months, then push it too far with a relapse.

    I am now 3 months post-injury, still have problems with inflammation and the consultant tells me no badminton / squash / tennis for another 6 months!

    On the brighter side, he also stresses that, if this is handled properly and with a lot of patience, things will return to normality and full strength. However a specific strengthening and flexibility programme should always be maintained by those wanting to return to active sport.

    Remember, what I have described is at the more extreme end of this problem and many people, yourself included, may have a more minor injury that will resolve within a few weeks or a couple of months.

    Hope things are improving already.

    Cheers
    Don

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  169. So I have been reading these posts and decided to add my story to the list.

    I tore my calf muscle about 11 days ago. I was playing paintball with some friends. We had a guy pinned down and the only way for me to get to him was to jump over a long tube called the "Snake". Appropriatly named because when viewed from above it looks like one and when you hide behind it you have to crawl like a snake. Anyway, this particular bunker is approximately 2 feet in diameter. So I jump over this bunker, get a clear shot at the guy and take it, then land on my right foot. I would have sworn I broke my leg. I tried to walk it off, but the pain was unbelievable.

    So I manage to get back to my gear bag, hop in my car after a very slow and long walk. Practically a crawl as my eyes are watering from the pain. Sit down, and realize I can drive without any pain.

    When I get home I see some blood pooling in my ankle already. Having been an athlete for a while, I'm 35 years old and been playing sports my whole life, I recognized it as a torn muscle, elevated it and put ice on it immediately.

    I waited 48 hours to see my doc, as most tears stop bleeding over that time which also reduces swelling. Sure enough, he tells me I have a tear and that I will be on crutches for at least 10 days, need to keep it wrapped for a while, and will need an MRI, Ultrasound and x-ray for more info. Even after 2 days, I was starting to walk fairly easy again, just slower than normal. I opted out of the extra imaging stuff.

    A week later, I realize I have a trip that I need to take. Call the doc, "Is it safe to fly with this bruise?". Sure, it's been a week since you did it so I hop on a plane and fly to my destination crutches and all. When I get there, I slip on some ice and "pop" there is that pain again. It's much worse than before. I end up spending the trip with my leg up and iced. Hop on a plane 24 hours later and fly home.

    Don't fly with this bruise. Let me say that again. Do not, under any circumstances, fly with this kind of bruise/tear.

    My calf swole up to the size of my thigh in about 20 minutes. It stayed that way until about a day ago. It's back to where it was when I first ever injured it.

    So, yesterday, right after I get off the plane, I go see my doc. He sends me down for all of the imaging stuff. MRI, Ultrasound, and x-rays to see if I broke anything.

    No breaks, no clots, and a pretty awesome looking tear that the MRI doc says will take about 7 weeks to heal properly since I re-injured myself.

    I'll keep you posted on my recovery and I hope some of the more recently injured are well now and those further back the post chain are not re-injured.

    Cheers!

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  170. I'm no expert, of course... just a fellow victim... but it sounds (a) the pooling blood indicated a pretty serious tear (b)your slip on the ice is more likely the cause of the compounding injuries, rather than the flight (though the circulation issues with flying couldn't have helped).

    When I tore my calf... I had been running on a weekend in the south of France, doing "steps" in an old village. That made them soar, but fine. Then I went Stateside for a meeting a few days later... went for a run on the day of a flight back to Europe... more soreness, but I thought it was just the burn of a good workout...

    And then really tore the hell out of it while running to catch a connecting flight in the airport in Frankfurt. I was positive someone had shot me in the leg. Hurt like hell, but I managed -- via some convoluted details -- to fall into one of those carts for old people that cruise the gates... and I made my flight.

    I had it up and on ice the whole way and was in terrible pain. I literally couldn't stand without sweating and trembling. Had to ride a wheelchair to baggage claim and get poured into a taxi by a desk attendant (the airline was incredible throughout the ordeal). But I didn't notice any difference from being up in the air.

    To note, however, I didn't have much bruising... no pooling blood... just a divot in the muscle in which, during a masochistic moment, I could actually push my finger. That was the tear.

    I can only re-iterate what worked in my situation...

    TAPE it so your calf muscle is not stretched out, so the tear can knit back together... any sports doctor can show you how, but it means point the toes down while relaxing the calf. And STAY off it for longer than you think.

    ICE the hell out of it. A lot. 2...3...4 times a day and anytime it feels dull and throbbing. This isn't just for the pain. It actually speeds up the healing.

    START BACK SLOW... much slower than you think. I basically had to can my running program for six weeks. And it was like starting over again when I got back out there. Seven months later, I still feel twinges of pain in the morning or when I'm tired, when it's really cold out, or a I push a run a little too hard.

    STRETCH, gently but attentively. Two stretches at least, before any exercise. One of the standard lean-on-wall stretching your calf muscles... the other to stretch the smaller calf muscle most people ignore.

    This "other" stretch is like a half crouch on one leg with the other leg used to keep your balance. And then the same for the other calf. Looks weird... people even stop to see if I'm "okay"... but done right, you can feel it stretching things that haven't stretched before.

    I ignored advice to do calf-raises to get back the strength... but recently had a new twinge of pain (since gone)... and I'm going to do the calf-raises after all.

    Anything to avoid getting laid up by this thing for another six weeks or worse. Respect it. It's a persistent little bugger.

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  171. Also... get an ace bandage and wrap it when you're ready to exercise again... helps get back the confidence to start moving plus helps prevent re-injury somewhat.

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  172. Actually I found something the same as an Ace Bandage but specifically designed for this injury. Thermastrap. I haven't received it yet, but I learned on another site that they are handing these out un some foreign (I think the writer said UK) hospitals for this kind of injury. To be used as you are healing and after to provide support until fully healed. Apparently it's shaped for the calf muscle and does what taping and the ace bandage does to a limited degree. Not the same, but better than nothing. Once I get it I will post my thoughts about it.

    I got up this morning and the swelling is down considerably. I went from 24 inches down to 22 inches circumfrence of my calf. Compared to 20 inches of the uninjured leg.

    My doc said I didn't need to tape anything because there was no visible void and the gap between the tear was small enough that an Ace bandage or other form of compression wrap would do the trick. It did look pretty awesome on the pictures they showed me though.

    Now it's just the long slow road to recovery. I'm still using the crutches, but I tried some walking today and didn't do as bad as I had expected.

    As far as flying goes. I didn't have any room to get my leg up and ice was in the form of a couple of those emergency chem ice bags. I think the swelling would have been much less if I were able to get my leg up, iced and wrapped (not just wrapped) both on the ground and the flight. I must agree with you though, the airports were very understanding and more than happy to get me all the way out to my waiting car.

    Good luck to you all on your recovery and continued relief from this injury. :)

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  173. You now how most of you said don't try to do anything too stupid too soon. I wish I had read that first. I tore my left calf about two weeks ago on a trail run. Pop then pain, pretty much like what everyone else says. I went to a certified massage person who worked out the scar tissue, and I was even able to do an easy run this morning. But then I decided to recreate a leaping scene in the living room... pop...darn, right back to the beginning. I guess what I've learned is don't rush things. But at lease I figured it out before heading out on a two-day hike...

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  174. well i am gald to see that i am not the only one who suffers with these.
    47 -male here.

    i am currently on my 4th tear in my left calf. (torn the right twice).

    this latest bout is with what the docs call a stage 2 tear, and if i do it again looks like i will be buying someone a new car as it will be surgery time.

    since it has been said many times already RICE is the only cure for these things unless it completely detaches from the tendon or tears in two.

    but since i am an old hat at this freaking injury, i will say that if you have done it before there is a better than average chance it will happen again.

    my latest came out of nowhere and occured simply walking up the stairs.

    so here i sat with a wrapped calf for another couple of weeks. the one piece of advice that i could give is when you start walking again to keep it wrapped for a while, and if you are hitting the field, WRAP IT..

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  175. Well. Small potatoes here. I am just trying to decide if I should go to spin tomorrow or the pool. My left calf muscle is just oddly achy, but not enough to make me feel that I need to sit out, but still, I am paranoid, since it's getting a little worse after every recent bike ride / run.

    After all of your war stories I think it's the pool for a couple of weeks. Thanks!

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  176. Whatever you do, take it easy... that "achy" feeling was precisely the warning sign I missed. And once you're at that stage, anything could make it go. Wrap and ice it for the next few weeks too.

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  177. 5 months after my torn calf muscle, went ice skating and still have pain. went to the doctor and he signed me up for physical therapy and an ultrasound to see if i have a cyst behind my knee. the thing is.... if there is a cyst they usually leave them alone. what a long time for an injury to heal. i asked the doctor if it isnt a cyst (or even if it is) will i have this dull pain forever, he just shrugged.

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  178. 5 months after my torn calf muscle, went ice skating and still have pain. went to the doctor and he signed me up for physical therapy and an ultrasound to see if i have a cyst behind my knee. the thing is.... if there is a cyst they usually leave them alone. what a long time for an injury to heal. i asked the doctor if it isnt a cyst (or even if it is) will i have this dull pain forever, he just shrugged.

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  179. Ok--not sure if I really have anything to be concerned about or not, but am tempted to ride this out. I am 43, female, and just recently trying to get back into shape. I've been doing cardio, pilates and resistance training at home. Six nights ago, I was doing some jumping to a cardio DVD and heard and felt a pop in my left calf, which made me stop immediately due to the pain. However, I WAS able to gimp around and bear some weight on the leg, although I couldn't finish my workout. I have no bruising, no swelling to speak of. It still hurts, but nowhere near the agony some of you have described. I'm able to drive, and worst is when I walk downstairs and have to land on the ball of my foot. The leg is tender to the touch and generally feels very "tight". It hurts from mid-calf to up into the back of the knee. I don't know what, if anything, a doctor could do for me, so I'm tempted to just let it go and take it easy. Any advice? Good luck to all of you and quick recovery!

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  180. Sounds like a classic torn calf... though, of course, you should have a doctor check it out to (a) make sure it's not something more and (b) make sure it's not torn more than you realize.

    Tape it (toes pointing down), elevate it, ice it, and stay off it for longer than you think. And wrap it when you start back up again.

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  181. I'm an avid cyclist, and I had a muscle strain in both calf muscles and anterior tibialis muscles which were diagnosed as over-use injuries. The inflammation and swelling were so severe that it ended up pinching off a major nerve in each leg and gave me nerve damage (not sure yet whether it's temporary or permanent).

    It's been seven months since the date of injury, and I'm only marginally better. I was never given a cast, splints, or crutches. I was given compression sleeves to alleviate the swelling in my shins, which had given me a mild case of compartment syndrome (read up on it, it can be quite serious).

    I've seen my regular doctor, two orthopedic surgeons, and a neurologist. None of have really done anything for me, all agree I tore my calf muscles and probably sprained my ankles, but none of them have done anything to help correct the problem. The second ortho scheduled me for physical therapy sessions; I think it was premature, because even though I have re-gained some strength, I believe I re-injured myself to some small degree several times by taking on too much.

    Here's the advice portion. I'm not a doctor, so take it with a grain of salt, your miles may vary.

    DO NOT push yourself. Playing through the pain is a horrible idea. Pain is your body's way of telling you what you are doing is too much. I was complaining to friends and family that physical therapy was hurting too much, and they all replied that it's supposed to hurt. I told this to the physical therapists, and they all said the opposite; pain is an indicator to STOP.

    The R.I.C.E procedure really does work, and the sooner you start this, the better. Elevating your legs by lying on your back on the floor, bend your knees at a 90 degree angle, and prop your feet up on a chair or sofa.

    Don't start physical therapy until the pain has completely subsided. When you do begin therapy, take it slow, don't try to jump back into your sport. Light streching is important, as are core strengthing exercises and balance exercises. As dumb as it sounds, you have to re-train your body, including the muscles and nerves, to work together again. Another helpful treatment is massage. You can Google for ways on doing this, but the general idea is to always work towards the heart; rubbing the muscles in a direction away from the heart can cause blood vessel damage. The massage is just like exercise; if it hurts, either massage more gently, or stop entirely. I know how hard it is to feel like you haven't healed up quickly enough, but pushing things while you are still injured will just lengthen your recovery time.

    Make sure to keep pursuing your balance, core strength, and range of motion exercises you learn in physical therapy even after recovery and once you resume your sport. They may seem like they are pointless now that you have recovered, but they help the body distribute the shock and abuse it receives more evenly, instead of making your calves take the brunt of the abuse.

    During physical therapy, you will probably feel a bit of pain doing some of the exercies, but it shouldn't be sharp and severe. The mild pain that occurs are micro-tears in your muscle fibers; the occurance of these tears and the following healing are how your body generates new/more muscle, just like when you exercise. Depending on how bad your initial injury is, you may have some scar tissue in the muscle. Scar tissue is incredibly brittle, which is one of the things that leads to chronic re-injury. Scar tissue is worked out with light streching, low resistence exercises, and massage therapy.

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  182. Hey,
    Glad this is here. Me: I am 15 years old and I have hardly exersiced since I injured my knee last year. On Wednesday I did a 3 mile bike ride, ran 2 miles on the cross country trail for soccer training and then went to my swimming lesson. As I was going in to the locker room my calf was slightly sore and hurt but I thought it was just from running. I went through the lesson fine until we were treading water and then all of the sudden I felt almost like I was being kicked but I was almost in the middle of the pool. My calf cramped up and hurt worse than any other cramp that I'd ever had before. I got out of the pool and it was tensed up to the point where my toes were pointing up and stuck like that. I was rubbing my calf for about 10 minutes and then it felt a little better to where I could barely limp. I had to have my leg facing sideways to walk and I could only walk about half of my usual stride without the extreme pain. When I got home I used crutches and took my pain meds. The next day I could barely walk so on Friday my mom took me to the doctor and he said I'd strained my calf. Now I'm on crutches for about 3 days and I can't do any activity for about a month. The doctor said I may have to miss soccer season this year also.

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  183. To Anonymous 43 year od female, try to walk on your toes. Get next to a counter or something to take some of the weight off when you try to do this. If it is impossible or very painful you need to see a doctor because you injured your achilles tendon. Either way though, you should see your doc to get an idea of how bad the tear is and what to do to get better faster. It's going to take weeks, if not months to heal but it will take longer if you do nothing.

    I am on week 3 since my original injury. Walking without crutches now. Still some pain when I forget to take shorter strides than I used to. Haven't even thought about running. I will do as my doc suggested and wait another 5 weeks before I even try. Even then I will massage and stretch for 30 minutes prior to making the attempt. I'll also be wrapping it as instructed by my doc.

    Good luck and swift recovery all.

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  184. Well, I am 18 years of age and entered College last year in the Fall of 2008. For my first semester, I didn't take any Kinesiology classes. For my second semester, I thought, "Eh? What the heck. I'll give Beginning Swimming a try." I already knew how to swim but the way I learned was my parents dumping me in the water and 'teaching' me how to float. I never learned, so I decided to take the course. On the second day, (First day is for roll calling) they tested us to see who could go into the deep end. The test was you had to do a free stroke to the other side of the pool. 8 of 11 of us passed with ease. On the third day, we started doing drills and what not and boy, was it tiring! I didn't do any stretches of the sort and I'm more of a Basketball player so I figured out that same day, that I don't do too well in the water. As the end of class approaches, my left calf muscles starts to give out, so I rest it out a bit and nothing happens. On the fourth day of class, I took it a bit more extreme and while doing a free stroke (kicking with my feet as hard as I do while free stroking), I think I either pulled my calf muscle, or it cramped up. The major thing was that I had a Basketball game that same day! This all happened yesterday, the third of February. Of course, loving Basketball as much as I do, I decide to play on it. This, as everyone can tell, was a bad idea. Now, its 9:45 AM in the morning. I got my right calf injury yesterday, and I seriously have no idea what am I supposed to do? One of my swimming instructors told me to eat Bananas, Mushrooms, Potatoes, and drink a lot of Gatorade. Online, it told me NOT to stretch it out, but to constantly massage it with heat constantly heating my calf. I think I tore it because if it were a cramp, the pain would have gone away by now. Well, that's my story! I hope that it heals before next Tuesday, because I have another Basketball game and I'm the Captain of the team and also the starting Point Guard. My recuperation process shall be putting IcyHot at least 3 times daily, stretching it out, eating Bananas, Icing it, drinking adequate amounts of Gatorade, and taking hot showers to soothe the calf muscle. Hopefully it heals by this Friday because we have practice! Thanks Alan, for making this blog. It really helps people with the same calf injury.

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  185. I tore my calf muscle playing tennis approximately 4 months ago. Had the typical symptoms-noticable pop and burning sensation.

    My concern is that I never had it checked out due to going on a backpacking trip the following week. I purposely didn't see the doctor in fear that he would tell me I had to cancel the trip.

    It probably only took a few days before the pain subsided and I was able to hike 10-12 miles a day without pain the following week.

    My problem was that when i got back it wasn't more than a month later that i pulled/retore the muscle again. This time it wasn't nearly as bad and the pain was minimal.

    I thought that I recovered fine from the injury but now notice a dent in the muscle (compared to my other calf). Is this something to be concerned about or is it normal? Will it be more prone to injury in the future?

    I lift weights on it fine and haven't had any problems since. However, I don't regularly perform quick reflex movements on it that caused the injury the previous times.

    Any info would be appreciated. Sorry, if this has been discussed in the previous posts but I didn't have time to read all of them.

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  186. I was diagnosed with a torn calf muscle almost 2 weeks ago. By now I can put 80% of the weight on that (right) leg, but cannot fully straighten it. I tore the muscle in the following way: mid-afternoon I went for a jog without stretching before or after; later that night I picked my friend up at a party, putting her on my back, tumbling over and landing oddly. I didn't know I tore it at the time, but an hour or so later I was in the kitchen and my right knee/leg gave out suddenly. I thought the guy behind me kicked me mistakenly with his boot. When it happened 2 minutes later (this time someone caught me before I fell to the ground), I knew something was wrong, and that I hadn't been kicked at all! It gave out 4 more times that night, until I decided that I should NOT put anymore weight on it at all. I still don't understand what was actually giving out, i.e. how the knee relates to this. It literally felt like a pop when it would give out, but no one else heard it. Anyway, the next day I called my chiro and he adivsed me to get Traumeel gel and analgesic homeopathics. I did this, along with applying RICE therapy, and the following day I went to see him. After diagnosing me, he used a laser treatment on me, which I did twice again over the next 2 weeks. The homeos and laser made it feel a lot better. That same day, my sweet boyfriend got me a leg/knee brace that for the next week really stabilized my knee, giving me a lot of confidence to walk, even if it was a limp! Two things I learned from all of this is to stretch before and after exercise and be more discriminating with picking people up. Anyone have any ideas on WHAT THAT POP WAS EXACTLY??

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  187. Hi everybody, it's the paintball injury guy.

    It's been a little more than a week since I reported and I must say I have seen a lot of improvement over the last 8 or so days. My leg doesn't hurt anymore. I can walk on it at nearly my pre-injury full speed now too. I'm still planning to stay off of it, as far as runnin goes, for the remaining 5 weeks.

    Bryman, if your coach said to treat it like a cramp, then it was probably a cramp. Torn calf would make you limp really good, hurt when you touch it, and swell up leaving pooled blood when you heat it. If you got a bruise, I would go see a doctor. Otherwise trust your coach.

    Rob, those dents are where the muscle it torn. My calf has a small spot like that from where I re-injured it. I would go see a doctor if I were you. Like mine, it will feel OK in a few days/weeks, but it will tear almost immediately if you stress it for several weeks, if not months. This injury is not something to take lightly because the next tear could sever your tendon from the muscle which will require surgery.

    Tina, that pop you heard/felt was your muscle tearing if it was your calf. If it was your knee, it could have been a tendon. Let me ask you this, can you walk on your toes? If not, you need to see a doctor and it is most likely your calf. How bad does it hurt when you push your toes up towards your knees? If it is severe you need to see a doctor and it is most likely your calf. Do you have any new "dents" in your calf? If you do, you should see a doctor and it is most likely your calf.

    The one thing I have learned from this injury, especially from this blog, is that you should not take this injury lightly. It will re-occur if you don't give it ample time to heal. Ample time seems to be a year for almost everyone who has been injured. It seems extreme, believe me, I'm only 4 weeks into it, but the number of posts I have read about this show that those who only rest it for 1 to 6 months, re-injure themselves almost immediately. Those that don't injure themselves admit that they aren't pushing as hard as when they originally hurt it and are gradually getting back up to speed.

    Good luck with your recovery.

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  188. Of course, if it's a tendon... that's doctor-worthy too. And even more immediately. In other words, go see the doctor... preferably a sports medicine doctor.

    P.S. There's a test to see if it's a tendon. Lie face down, relax the leg, and try to flex toes and foot. With the calf tear, you can still do so. With the tendon, it's more difficult.

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  189. Fron Don:

    Hi Paintball,

    Your advice is absolutely right.

    Even although people feel back to normal function, and without pain, after a smaller tear or strain there is a weakness while the scar tissue re-models and strengthens. The biggest mistake is to undertake and 'at risk' exercise activities. For example, squash or rugby where you have explosive movement forward. You are risking a much more severe injury if you do this. Exrecise is needed in the recovery phase, but gentle stretching, stationary bike eliptical trainer and swimming (great way to maintain fitness during the injury)...oh and calf raises. Do be guided by a physiotherapist though as this needs to be handled correctly.

    In general surgery is almost never required (or useful)even with tendon-junction ruptures. However, immobilisation may well be needed if severe to allow the junction to heal properly.

    In the case of a significant junction rupture, bruising and blood pooling are likely. However, beware of the Thompson (calf squeeze) test. A severe MT junction rupture can also give a positive result as well as a classic tendon rupture. Any postive test urgently needs a scan (ultrasound or possibly MRI)as the treatment options are different between the two scenarios.

    As Paintball points out, this can be a very long term injury. I ruptures the MT junction at the end of September. My surgeon has discharged me and told me at least a year for the scar tissue and muscle to re-model and absolutely no explosive sports for another six months. Physiotherpay continues with soft tissue massage, assessment and attending a group class for proprioception exercises and sports-specific training.

    Hppay healing ot everyone...but err on the side of caution and be a patient Patient!!

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  190. I am 33 and obviously out of shape, I tore my calf muscle playing baketball. I went to the E.R. and he put me in a boot and sent me to an ortho. The ortho made sure I didn't hurt my achilles and I didn't so he sent me on my way telling me to put pressure on it as much as I could and he would see me in three weeks. Literally tht is all the info I recieved from him. Now my foot swells up and turns purple if I put pressure on it and if I have it straight my foot goes cold and numb. I'm getting a second opinion tomaorrow Has anyone ever had a injured there calfmucsle at the top near the knee? The back of my knee hurts and everytime I stand it feels that my muscle falls as gravity takes hold. Just wondering?

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  191. Good God, man... it sounds like you need a new doctor. Or at least a second opinion. If you want a rehab rather than knee-jerk surgical approach, search for a sports medicine center or doctor in the area... though sometimes, of course, the more invasive technique is what's warranted. Whatever you do, don't take the ignore and "lots of pressure" advice much longer. Go see someone. Tears and tendon injuries (you might still have one, despite what that doc said) need attention or they can get worse.

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  192. HI everyone, I am new here... I am a 42 yr old female who tore her calf while just walking... I was at my daughters gymnastic meet and was walking across the floor when WHAM... I felt like a 4 in rubberband was stretched to its extent and someone cut it in half. 2 steps later I was on the ground. Hear a huge pop and felt like something went down the back of my calf. I had some immediate swelling not to bad but the pain was worse than anything I could imagine. Saw the ortho the following day and he sent me for an MRI. Now 5 days later I can only put minimal weight on the last 2 toes, am crutch bound and when I try to put my heel down can only get it about 1-2 inches from the ground.. Now I have significant swelling (so much the MRI techs had a hard time) and my ankle and foot are swollen as well. I have been RICEing since Sunday.... If I try to flex my foot while lying on my stomach I feel like someone is putting a hot knife through my knee. All other times the pain is low in my calf and on the outside of my leg. I also get these random horrid pains in my lower leg that almost take my breath away... Could I have done some tendon damage other than torn the muscle? any ideas for reducing the swelling??

    Thanks!!!!

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  193. I'm a 42 year-old female. I had a grade 2 gastroc tear last year in my left leg as the result of a step class at the gym. I had foolishly ignored the warning signs of niggling pain in my calf for a week before it finally popped in the middle of a class, and down I went. I treated it immediately when I got home with ice, which is the best thing you can do. I limped in to see a physiotherapist the next day, who diagnosed the tear and treated it with ultrasound, massage, acupuncture and gave me various stretching and calf strengthening exercises. I was out of action for 8 weeks, but then gradually got back into high impact classes at the gym. Things have been going great for the last few months until today. I think I've done it AGAIN, only on the right side this time. It's not as bad (ie. I can walk), but I do have a fair bit of pain if I stride out too much when I'm walking. Also going up stairs hurts. I have been icing it and I'm off to the physio in the morning. I'm just hoping that it is a bad strain and not a tear like last time. I'm annoyed with myself because I had gotten a bit lazy with all my stretching and strengthening exercises recently, and I guess this is a reminder to me that I must keep going with them because I seem to be vulnerable to this injury :( It's very disheartening when you are making good progress with your exercise and feeling great, and then you have a setback like this.

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  194. To 42 y.o. Female who posted on the 12th of February. If you saw a doctor and they didn't tell you that you had tendon damage, then you probably don't. If you think they gave you bad advice, I would seek a second opinion. T

    This is a painful injury. Most people think it shouldn't be, but they typically underestimate how much their calf and ankle move over the course of any given day. My advice to you is to stop moving it if it hurts. Keep it elevated as much as possible, and keep RICEing it until the swelling goes down. It sounds like you are pushing it too hard and just need to take it easier and let it heal.

    Good luck,

    The Paintball Guy

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  195. Don-- have enjoyed your insight. Are you a doctor? I tore my right lower calf 10 months ago while skiing the back bowls at Vail. I fell forward in some cut-up powder and my binding did not release. Had swelling for several months. It was grade 2 (per MRI) and I have a nice dent there. While I am back to skiing and basketball, it still gets sore and I still feel discomfort there. Question: does it ever return to feeling normal-- meaning I do not notice it? How long does this take? My internist says 18 months, but I'd like to know how others have fared. The injured calf is definitely shorter than the other one. Also-- does anyone know if prolotherapy is a good treatment for a tear like mine at the tendon/muscle junction? Thanks. Dave

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  196. Hello All. I am a 37 year old female and concidr myself to be very active. I do have RA, and do not actually participate in any "sport", but have 4 children rangingfrom 4-16 and work full time as a CNA. Today there was an emergent situation at work and I simply began to sprint down the hall and my left calf felt as though a tight rubberband slipped from the middle of the back of my leg towards the inside. It was quite painfull and since then I have not been able toextend my leg fully(due to pain) while standing, and am in pain when I try to flex my foot downward. I have been RICeing all afternoon, and am honestly a little afraid to be seen by a physician. I don't want to be told I am "hurt". I will continue to ice and elevate and pray overnight. It just seems that I should not have been able to cause such a serious injury with such a simple movement. Is this common? I have read everyones story, and am worried about the recovery time.

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  197. Okay am kind of worried now after reading this xmas eve was when i tore my calf muscle thank you santa.Was at work when i was made a run for it as i was in a rush and started to run then pop was all i felt, i thought somebody had hit from behind. My boss took me to hospital where we discovered it was a 6 cm tear, i don't think i have ever had so much pain in my life. I was told to go home and go to bed for two weeks no movement whatsoever, that was the longest two weeks of my life! The bruises came out new years eve (happy new year layed up in bed)they were shockers it ran from the back of my knee to my big toe. I am having physio twice a week, So far i have been allowed back to work two half days since the start of feb. I am fed up to my back teeth with it. My physio has said it will be at least 5 - 6 mths before i am back to normal! And to see here that it can happen again, how about stick me in a coma for two weeks. Anyway i have had my whinge about it just was amazed at how many people this has happened to.

    All the way from Australia xx

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  198. Hi Dave,

    Good to hear from you and your experience of the injury.

    I'm not a doctor, but work in medical research, thus my interest in finding out as much as possible about this condition.

    Like myself, you appear to have had a classic MT junction rupture which seems to be a rather nasty sub-class of the injuries that Alan has, thankfully, provided this site to lead the way forward in discussion.

    The 18 months you were given sounds right. My ortho guy said 'at least a year'.

    I must admit, I am less optimistic than him that recovery will be 100%. Maybe 95%? who knows, but I suspect that where the level of muscle / tendon damage is significant there will be scar tissue and loss of full function for a very long time, though maybe not truly permanent.

    My physiotherapist is maybe more forthcoming on this and she does concede that if you are a very active sports person, you may notice some level of long-term deficit.

    It absolutely doesn't feel right, but from what the professionals have told me, I shouldn't expect it to at this 'early' stage. They do insist that when the disorganised muscle / collagen / scar build-up re-models that this should go.

    Also remember that there will be repair of blood vessels to the area of damage along with new nerve growth that is needed for full function / sensation etc and that is also a very long process.

    Tendons don't have a great blood supply, so by my possibly flawed logic, the tendon / muscle interface may not be as well served as would be the case with a muscle tear not involving the tendon.

    Apart from some weakness, I find that the calf muscles (complex unit with many different muscles coming into play)don't behave quite like the injured leg. I suspect that some undamaged muscles are compensating for the damaged ones, and that feels odd and actually looks odd. For example, if I'm sitting with my upper legs parallel to the floor and lower legs together and at right angles. If I tense the calf of the good leg the muscles work differently to the injured ones.

    In my own situation, I think that the bulk of the injury is below the gastroc, involving the soleus. I don't have a dent, just a hard bulge which is half way between the ankle and the lower end of the gastroc.

    I do a lot of hillwalking, so have always had pretty well-defined calf muscles and the soleus on the injured side is now pretty skinny. This is a difficult muscle to build up at the best of times and, of course, after an injury like this (as opposed to atrophy after an uncomplicated leg break) you can't suddenly start loading the muscle heavily. Seated calf raises and squats are one way of targeting this muscle group, but great care would need to be taken to avoid re-injury.

    I've played competitive sports all my life and have not seen anyone injured in this way. So although it looks a common condition by the number of comments placed on this site, in reality it is not.

    A professional soccer player in my home area in Scotland has had a similar injury and, despite the vast financial and expert resource he will be able to access, he has been told a full year to return to team play.

    In your own situation can you shed some light on the following:

    1) Was there any bruising
    2) Where is the site of the tear (ie lower gastroc or further down the leg, ie predominately soleus
    3) Did you end up immobilsed in a cast or walking brace and for how long
    4) How large is the rupture zone (ie 2 cm diameter etc)
    5) Did you notice any muscle atrophy
    6)Can you now do a full calf raise on the injured leg alone? 4.5 months down the road and I can only muster a half raise.

    It is a pity there is no way of posting photos as it would be good to see some comparisons of injured and non-injured sides from people with the leg under different types of tension.

    Hope this all makes sense Dave.

    Cheers
    Don

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  199. I tore my calf muscle 4 weeks ago this Saturday.

    I was helping my fiancee move. Was carrying a computer. Stepped off a carpeted are onto a tile area in sock feet (couldn't wear shoes in the condo) and slipped. To avoid sliding into mirrored doors or falling, I turned the other way and got what I throught was a major charlie horse. Couldn't put weight on my leg after that.

    Two weeks on crutches. So far two more weeks with wrapped up and limited walking ability. I can only do a baby step and have to use crutches on the stairs.

    I'm still off of work and not walking on it normally. Another visit to the doctor tomorrow.

    I'm an active walker as I don't drive and am all over the place with walking and transit.

    Hoping that I am not off of work for much longer.

    E

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  200. This note is in regards to time-length of injury. I am a podiatrist who injured his left leg one year ago. Actually I had two injuries. First I missed a step coming down onto a concrete patio 1-year ago and partially detached the medial aspect of my Achilles. Well, I am 60 but have exercised all of my life and have extremely strong calve muscles. Also being a podiatrist I know very well of my injury and immediately began ice, rest, etc for a couple of weeks then began wearing a mid-ankle brace if hiking. (I should not have been in the woods.) Anyway two months after my Achilles tear I tripped over a tree root and felt like a chain saw ran up the back of my leg. I knew I tore the Soleus muscle, and was 1-mile into the woods with my dog. I flatfooted limped back to my car and off to the ER. MRI confirmed the Achilles injury but, to the deaf ears of my medical colleagues, the MRI did not go high enough to see the Soleus tear. Anyway I was in a removable cast for 2-months and non-weight bearing for the first two weeks. Since then I did my own PT with gradually increasing muscle strengthening exercises - rubber bands and weights and walking - multiple daily applications of ice, 1/2-inch heel raises in my shoes to ease the tension on the tendon and muscle, concentric heel raises (rising on my good foot but slowly lowering on my bad, and ultra-sound twice daily. Well, after 1-year of the initial Achilles injury, and 10-months after the Soleus tear, I still cannot rise up on my left toes alone, going up stairs requires my entire foot on the tread otherwise I cannot hold my self up, and I can walk maybe 1-mile but I limp the last 1/2 - causing my opposite hip to ache.
    My advice is if you have an injury immediately see an orthopedist and if you are active, even at 60, weigh the risks and seriously consider surgery to repair the problem. Also be adamant about getting a COMPLETE exam, be it clinically or MRI, etc. If you feel the injury was higher up and the technician begins the MRI lower speak up and walk out if you must. As I stated earlier I am very active. I have been lifting weights since I was 9 and covering at least 30-miles per week for aerobics, plus various other physical activities. I am no couch potato but this injury has changed my life. After one year I am rescheduled for another consult with my doctor and will fully discuss my surgical options to correct this problem.

    Best of luck to all,
    Ray

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