Muscle strains are very common. In addition, it is common for them to happen suddenly due to some movement, even if it is not sudden, or simply due to being in the same position for a long time and then changing it, among other situations in which they can occur and that also include sports or physical exercise. . Whatever the cause, it is a problem that has a solution. However, it is true that it is annoying because it is usually quite painful. And, although they can occur in various parts of the body, the truth is that muscle pulls are more common in the calf.
Main Causes and Symptoms of a Calf Strain
Calf strains usually occur during the practice of some sport or physical exercise , being more common in sports activities that require a quick push with the foot to start running or speed up, for example, in football.
However, they can also be caused by being inactive for a long time or leading a sedentary life and then starting to walk as part of physical exercise to regain a healthier life, or start doing some type of physical activity or sport. Sometimes calf strains also happen from a change in posture or being in a bad position. Whatever the reason, there are two types of calf strains :
- Acute injury: is one in which the muscle pull in the calf occurs suddenly.
- Overuse injury: In this case, the muscle pull occurs over time, for example, because the muscles have not been well cared for or stretches have not been performed after sports training.
The symptoms may vary depending on the injury or strain, although in general, what is noticed is a stab of pain, which varies according to severity, since you may even have difficulty walking and notice the discomfort with great intensity.
How to Cure a Pulled Calf Muscle
Treatment for a calf strain is the same whether it's acute or overuse, but as long as it's just a strain and not accompanied by any other related injury or health problem. And it is that, in more serious cases such as a sprain in the calf or a fiber break, surgery may be necessary. However, for those situations that do not require going through the operating room because it is only a pull in the muscles, there are simple solutions but they must be applied well. Here are some tips to heal a pulled calf muscle :
- Rest the affected leg: try not to exert yourself for at least two days. If it has been very mild, surely, in a day you will notice better. Do not play sports, or even walk a lot, until the pain has completely disappeared.
- Elevate the leg: it is important that the 24 hours after the muscle pull, the leg is elevated above the level of the heart to avoid inflammation.
- Put ice: the ice is put wrapped in a towel or cloth in the area between 10 or 20 minutes so that the inflammation goes down. This process can be repeated up to four times a day for the duration of the injury.
- Bandage: Elastic compression bandages are helpful in relieving and healing calf strain by preventing further swelling. It is essential to use the bandage from the soles of the feet to the leg. You also have to be careful not to overtighten it.
- Pain: if you have a lot of pain, you can take some medication, although it is better not to take aspirin or ibuprofen because they interfere with the blood coagulation process. This is important for rest and to avoid problems and complications.
How to return to activity after a calf strain
After a calf strain, although we notice that we are fine, it is important to return to daily activity little by little, progressively and following a series of additional tips so that the recovery is complete. In this way, to resume normal activity after a calf strain, follow these tips:
- Heat: although it is not good to apply it the first few days -it is better to let a minimum of five pass-, then it should be applied to the area through dry heat electric blankets at the time when you return to daily activity and, especially if physical exercise or sports are practiced.
- Strengthening: It is key to start strengthening your calf muscles after your rest days. To do this, you must follow exercises that the doctor must recommend, above all, to prevent future health problems in this area and other derived complications. Here you can learn some exercises to strengthen the calves at home .
- Elongation: it is also important to work on muscle elongation and elasticity to avoid subsequent pulls and reduce the probability of injury. In this case, again, medical or physical therapist guidelines should be followed.
With these tips on how to cure a calf strain, we hope from we have helped you to know what you can do when it happens to you. It is always recommended that you go to the doctor to rule out another type of injury or problem in the calf. In addition, if it is a pull, it will be able to indicate the guidelines and care that you must follow in your recovery.