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  • Calf muscle pop

    I was working out this morning doing step aerobic exercises when I heard a pop and felt a bang in my left calf, as if someone had thrown a rock at my calf. I looked around for the perpetrator and realized it was my calf muscle on the upper inside of my calf on the left leg.
    Now I can't walk on my left leg except on inward-twisted tiptoe. I'm icing it, and just took an ibuprofen, but am not sure what type of sports medicine or doctor to call about this. I haven't seen any posts here about treatment besides icing, elevation and eventual calf strengthening exercises. Does anyone know what to do in the first 24 hours after such an injury? I'm icing 20 minutes on, twenty minutes off. Is this the right approach?
    Any insight would be very much appreciated.

  • #2
    As long as it is in the calf and not Achilles tendon (low down near the heel) this shouldn't need surgery. However, sometimes they can take 2-3 months to come good and have a high recurrence rate. If you are in a hurry to get better, see a professional, but if you can afford to have time off you can manage yourself.
    The staff of injury update are not responsible for views of other users posted in this forum.

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    • #3
      I have experienced this similar 'POP' a week ago. It felt like someone was trying to bungie jump out of my calf and poped back in again. The pain was awful. My leg is all black and blue down to my foot. I have been told that Physio is not a good idea that it is a tendon and not a muscle. I am very confused at this point. I've been doing the ice on/off at 20 min intervals. My leg is less swollen. How can I know if it is a tendon or a muscle?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by californiarunner
        I was working out this morning doing step aerobic exercises when I heard a pop and felt a bang in my left calf, as if someone had thrown a rock at my calf. I looked around for the perpetrator and realized it was my calf muscle on the upper inside of my calf on the left leg.
        Now I can't walk on my left leg except on inward-twisted tiptoe. I'm icing it, and just took an ibuprofen, but am not sure what type of sports medicine or doctor to call about this. I haven't seen any posts here about treatment besides icing, elevation and eventual calf strengthening exercises. Does anyone know what to do in the first 24 hours after such an injury? I'm icing 20 minutes on, twenty minutes off. Is this the right approach?
        Any insight would be very much appreciated.
        I had this same injury about 4 weeks ago. My calf is tight sometimes, but I noticed that the my ankle looks swollen, did that happen to you? If so, how did you fix it.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by badmintonrookie
          I have been told that Physio is not a good idea that it is a tendon and not a muscle.
          just because its the tendon and not the 'muscle' doesnt mean that physio's wont help you. Even if u hurt a ligament or something a physio is still a good option, and if u have health insurance, you may aswell make the most out of it!

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          • #6
            Hi guys,

            The tendon they are referring to is the Achilles Tendon which, if completely ruptured, nearly always requires surgical intervention.

            By the sounds of your description californiarunner you might have torn one of the muscles in your calf. It might be worth getting it checked out by a sports doctor or a physiotherapist who can advise you on the best course of action and refer you to an orthopaedic doctor if they feel you require it.

            Your initial application of ice and using NSAID's to control the pain & inflammation is generally accepted as good "first aid" for these injuries, but as you said yourself there is obviously something muscular going on which is affecting your gait.

            In order to ensure you make a full recovery (and to prevent any further injuries!) I would strongly suggest you seek the opinion of a professional, and find out about a rehabilitation programme to ensure you regain full - and functional - use of your calf muscle. This type of injury often leaves you with decreased balance and proprioception (awareness of where your limb is in space) which can result in recurring injuries. This is even more important if you are a keen athlete which by the sounds of your post, you are!

            @ Badmintonrookie, this sounds like you have damaged the tendon - the achilles tendon I referred to earlier. This could be a partial or complete rupture however if you're still walking around on it then it is almost definitely a partial rupture. To assess for this your therapist can perform the Thompson Test. There are some treatments that a physio can do for partial ruptures, but as I mentioned earlier, in most cases a complete rupture would be managed surgically with a cast etc etc etc.

            You can return to sport with some partial ruptures, but might well need some taping techniques to support the injured tendon and prevent further damage occurring.

            Whatever happens, both of you will need to see a physio who has experience in dealing with these injuries though, if you're in doubt then ask them.

            I hope this is of some assistance to you both!
            Ruth Cheesley BSc(Hons) MSc MCSP
            Chartered Physiotherapist
            The Virtual Sports Injury Clinic

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            • #7
              I've torn my lower calf muscle twice, and both times I've gone to emergency care because I literally could not walk, or put any weight on my right leg. Both times the doctor had me use crutches for 2 to 4 weeks. The doctor also put my lower foot on a boot, so that I could rest it. It was very painful, and it took about 3 months before I was fully recovered. I've attached some web sites that explain the injury and describe ways to deal with a calf injury.

              As an aside, the "poping" sensation and the feeling like someone threw a rock at your leg are common experiences that are shared by many people when they first feel their calf muscle tear.

              I did a quick search on google images on the medical term for my calf tear:

              gastrocnemius muscle strain

              here are the web sites:

              http://images.google.com/images?hl=e...-8&sa=N&tab=wi

              http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...%3Den%26sa%3DN

              Good luck

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              • #8
                Torn Calf Muscle

                After reading a few of the responses I have to say that I had the exact experience this evening. I was running on the beach when all of a sudden my calf muscle tightened up and popped. I couldn't walk. After taking in the initial shock of it all I managed to hobble on my tipsy toes with my left leg pointed inward. I went straight to the Dr.s and he said that I tore muscle fibers in my calf. I required an ultra-sound to see how serious the grade calf strain was/is. It's based on 1,2,3- 1 being micro-fibers pulled, 2 being fibers pulled, and 3 being several-severe fiber tearing. He suspects it's a 2 for me.

                As a result- I need to ice it, relax, stay off my feet for a few days, elevate it. If after a few days the pain still persists another ultra-sound is required.

                Depending on the grade of the strain it can take anywhere from 2 weeks to several months for an injury like this to heal. Surgery is the last result. My Dr. also recommended phiso for a full recovery.

                He gave me pain killers to help with the pain. Its no joke and such an inconvenience. Hope this helps

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                • #9
                  I also had the "pop"

                  I am a large man, over 300 pounds, age 63, and regularly climb a flight of stairs in my home. I don't get exercise other than normal walking. I have always enjoyed good health. Last night while climbing the stairs I felt a pop, and immediate pain in my left calf; no sound. Now I cannot put any weight on my foot, if I use my toes. However, if I keep my foot flat, I can put weight on my heel OK without pain. By moving slowly in this fashion I can still navigate the stairs. There is no pain when lying down or sitting, no pain when I extend my toes, even if I lift my toe up towards my head no pain; only if I put my body weight on my toes. No discoloration. Rubbing through my skin I don't think there's a difference I can feel, between the injured calf and non-injured one. I have no health insurance, and no money to go to a doctor or for therapy (I'd need a medical prescription for therapy anyway). I guess the best I can do is apply ice, keep it elevated, and use a cane (don't have crutches) and don't put pressure on my toes.
                  I had noticed for a few weeks, pain in my calves while descending the stairs; possibly due to recent weight gain.

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                  • #10
                    a torn calf muscle is just so painful - you have all my sympathy! I put a 10cm+ tear in my calf, and I can say it took 2 years for it to feel 'right' again.- this is my story....

                    1 min 30 sec before the start of my major semi final, I was the goal keeper, sport was hockey - went up on my toes and Bang - she popped. Played the game, could barely walk, my calf swelled 5cm, the bruising went across the calf, and down the leg. 2 weeks later more bruising came out - the bruising went down the leg across the achilles and into both sides of the ankle - physio's felt that I had had a second bleed.

                    I was off work for a week, and on crutches, I had intense physio in order to be fit to play a grand final 2 weeks later, which I did.
                    I was not allowed to go for a walk, for 3 months - it was physio and work only, after 3 months, I was allowed to go for a walk, but not up a hill. After 6 months I was put into rehab ( I thank heavens for hockey insurance, which helped cover about 80% of the out of pocket stuff)

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                    • #11
                      It would appear that I tore it just above where the achilles and calf join on the inside of the right leg. Leg was taped in a criss cross pattern for months.

                      after 12 months, I finished treatment and went back to playing - but it hurt - any exercise and it would hurt for days afterwards.

                      A friend who was a massage therapist did some work on it for me - I would lay on his table and tell him what a mongrel he was - just not that politely!!! - called him every name under the sun and then some!

                      By the end of the 2nd 12 months I can say it no longer hurt me, indeed it feels fantastic nowadays and I would never ever know it ever happened.

                      The massage therapist and my physio could tell how big the tear had been by the scar tissue they could feel once it had healed. I never had an mri, or ultrasound.

                      I did put a second tear in too, at the top in the middle of the calf a year or 2 after this - but it healed much better and was only a tiny tear with only a teensie bit of physio and 2 weeks off hockey.

                      I did all the physio, the rehab, but it took the massage to ensure I returned to normal, and I can thoroughly recommend it.

                      Liz

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by avvetteguy View Post
                        I had this same injury about 4 weeks ago. My calf is tight sometimes, but I noticed that the my ankle looks swollen, did that happen to you? If so, how did you fix it.
                        I tore my calf muscle just over a week ago, my foot has also started to look swollen (I even have slight discoloration on the side of my foot. Have you found any answer to your question yet?

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                        • #13
                          no insurance... just trying to heal

                          So this morning I was feeding horses and noticed that my round pen had been partially collapsed by my mustang trying to get to food on the opposite side. It was first thing in the morning and I was not paying attention (I have also been healing a back injury from a car accident I was not responsible for... urgh).. So I began to push on the pipe corral and I heard a quick hiss and loud pop! At the same time it felt like the back of my left calve was hit with a heavy sharp object. I was stunned. I turned around. Nothing there. Went to move my leg and felt sharp pain that radiated all the way up my leg and into my hip. Had to hobble back to car. Cant put weight on my leg at all. Think I tore my calve muscel but I don't have insurance. Been icing, taking motrin, elevating, wrapping it. Crutches on the way... How bad does it sound and am I doing enough? Thanks

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                          • #14
                            calf injury

                            I aS playing soft ball I was on the out field I try to run for a ball I deal like sume body shoot me on my calf I hear a little pop now the swallowing is goin down but it looks purple black does any body know way medicine is good for that

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                            • #15
                              Appropriate management of a calf strain is vital for an optimal outcome. Physiotherapy treatment, adequate rest from aggravating activities and gradual calf stretches and calf strengthening exercises without pain are vital for an optimal outcome. Best of luck to all!
                              PhysioAdvisor

                              www.PhysioAdvisor.com

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