The Causes, Diagnosis, And Treatment Of Gastrocnemius Tear Calf Muscle

 Treatment Of Gastrocnemius Tear Calf Muscle

Mai Delacruz

Mai Delacruz
Personal Fitness Trainer & Health Coach

Updated on 12/7/2022

Torn Calf Muscle

A torn calf muscle is an injury that causes a partial or complete gastrocnemius Tear in the muscles located behind the shin bone. A tear in the calf muscle will typically cause sudden and excruciating pain in the calf, and it may prevent you from walking or putting weight on the affected leg. It can usually heal Tears in the calf muscle with non-invasive treatments, but in some cases, surgery is required.

What Exactly Is Meant By A "Torn Calf Muscle"?

The gastrocnemius and soleus muscles make up your calf, which is located in the back of your lower leg, behind your shin bone. They reach down to the heel from the back of your knee. You risk tearing these muscles if you make sudden movements that cause them to be stretched beyond their limits. Tears in the calf muscle can be either partial or complete (rupture).

Because they are situated between two joints (the ankle and the knee), the calf muscles in your lower legs are particularly susceptible to tearing. These muscles also have very tight muscle fibers, which makes them easier to injuries caused by overstretching.

Who Is Prone To Tearing Their Calf Muscles?

Who Is Prone To Tearing Their Calf Muscles?

A ruptured calf muscle can happen to anyone, but it is most common in the following populations:

  1. Those with short or tight calf muscles begin strenuous physical activity without first getting in the proper conditioning.
  2. Athletes who compete in sports such as basketball, soccer, or tennis, which require sudden leaps or changes in direction, are called "jumper-changers."
  3. People over 40 may have weaker calf muscles due to aging or being less flexible.

What Percentage Of People Experience Torn Calf Muscles?

Injuries to the calf can happen in any sport, but the ones that involve running are the most likely to cause them. In most cases, the lesions manifest themselves when the players' muscles are already tired. Tears in the gastrocnemius muscle near the middle of the calf are more common than tears in the soleus muscle, which is closer to the heel.

What Are The Reasons For A Calf Muscle Tear?

What Are The Reasons For A Calf Muscle Tear?

If you suddenly overstretch your calf, you risk rupturing the muscle in that area. This injury can be caused by sudden turns, jumps, or stops while participating in sports. If you overwork your calf muscles consistently, you risk developing tears over time. People who return to exercise too soon after an earlier calf injury risk developing tears in their calf muscles.

What Does It Feel Like When You Have A Torn Calf Muscle?

calf muscle

The following are examples of possible symptoms of a torn calf muscle:

  • A complete lack of calf strength, including the inability to balance or put weight on the injured leg.
  • A sensation is similar to snapping or popping in your calf.
  • Pain that comes on suddenly in the back of your lower leg, as if someone kicked you in the calf.
  • You have some bruising and swelling in the calf muscle.
  • A depression is visible beneath the skin at the site where the muscle has been torn.
  • In extremely unusual instances, complications related to a torn calf muscle can include the following:
  • The condition is known as compartment syndrome, in which severe swelling prevents blood from reaching the muscles.
  • DVT stands for deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot that forms deep within your leg.
  • A blood clot in a vein close to the surface of your skin is medically referred to as superficial thrombophlebitis.

How Is A Calf Muscle Tear Diagnosed Medically?

How Is A Calf Muscle Tear Diagnosed Medically?

Your primary care physician or other healthcare professional will conduct a physical exam and review your symptoms. They might palpate (press) on your calf muscles to look for any areas of soreness or swelling.

The symptoms of a torn calf muscle can sometimes be confused with other injuries in the lower leg, such as a ruptured Achilles tendon or a burst Baker's cyst. A serious issue with the blood vessels, such as deep vein thrombosis or compartment syndrome, could be the source of calf pain that feels like muscle pain. In cases where the diagnosis is unclear, your healthcare provider may request further tests from you.

To examine your calf muscles, your healthcare provider may perform the following imaging exams:

  • Doppler ultrasound is a type of ultrasound that creates images of the soft tissue inside of your body by using sound waves. Doppler ultrasound is becoming increasingly popular. Additionally, it monitors the path that blood takes throughout your body. With the help of this scan, your healthcare provider will be able to look for torn muscles, internal bleeding, and blood clots.
  • MRI: A magnetic resonance imaging scan provides detailed pictures of your body's organs and soft tissues. With the help of this test, your healthcare provider will be able to differentiate between injuries to your muscles and issues with your tendons and ligaments.

What Is the Kind Of Treatment There For Pulled Calf Muscles?

What Kind Of Treatment Is There For Pulled Calf Muscles?

  1. After determining that you have a torn calf muscle, your doctor may advise you to perform a home treatment known as RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
  2. Stop all physical activity as soon as you feel any pain in your calf, and give your leg some time to rest. Do not ignore the pain because doing so can worsen the situation. You might have to walk with crutches or put on a boot for a few days to recover from your injury.
  3. Ice: Apply ice or a cold compress to your calf muscles for twenty minutes every two hours. You can use an ice pack or a cold compress. Avoid getting ice on your skin by any means possible.
  4. To apply compression, wrap your calf in a compression sleeve or a compression wrap. Compression helps to reduce blood flow to a painful area, which in turn helps to minimize swelling in that area.
  5. Elevation Raise the affected leg so it is higher than the level of your heart. Should do This can use as much as possible—pillows, blankets, or cushions to support the entirety of the length of your leg.
  6. Do not: Until you receive permission from your healthcare provider to do so,
  7. Apply heat to the area that is injured.
  8. Give your calf a massage.
  9. Take a stroll, work out, or engage in another form of physical activity.


You may wear a soft cast or boot to keep your injury immobilized and protected. Some people require crutches or other mobility assistance to get around when recovering from an injury.

After a few weeks of RICE treatment, your healthcare provider may recommend that you participate in physical therapy. Calf muscle rehabilitation can assist you in regaining both strength and flexibility in this muscle. It may also make it easier for you to return to activities of daily living, such as climbing stairs or depressing the gas pedal in your vehicle, so that you experience less pain.

If I Tear My Calf Muscle, Will I Need Surgery To Repair It?

If I Tear My Calf Muscle, Will I Need Surgery To Repair It?

A tear in your calf muscle could require surgery if any of the following apply to you:

  • They are still young and interested in getting back into high-impact activities and competitive sports.
  • It continued to experience pain in the calf for several months after trying treatments that did not involve surgery.
  • Suffer from a complete muscle tear, accompanied by significant swelling or internal bleeding.
  • You will be given general anesthesia before surgery to repair a tear in your calf muscle. Your doctor will first make a cut, or an incision, in your calf and then use stitches to reattach the two ends of the ruptured strength. After your procedure, you may need to spend a few nights in the hospital.
  • After surgery, most patients have their entire leg immobilized in a cast for approximately three weeks. In addition, you may need to wear a form below the knee for an additional three weeks. Your healthcare provider will let you know when you can start doing light physical activity again and when you can begin physical therapy after the cast has been removed.

What Should I Do To Avoid Tearing My Calf Muscle?

What Should I Do To Avoid Tearing My Calf Muscle?

You can lower your chances of tearing your calf muscle by doing the following:

  • Leaving time between games, practices, or workouts gives your calf muscles a chance to rest and recover.
  • You are maintaining a healthy and robust condition in your calf muscles.
  • When participating in sports, use the appropriate technique.
  • Before engaging in physical activity, it is crucial to warm up and stretch your calf muscles.
  • They put on shoes with good arch support that are the right size.
  • What kind of a prognosis (long-term outlook) can one anticipate when dealing with a torn calf muscle?
  • Depending on the severity of their injury, most people recover completely from a torn calf muscle within a few weeks or months. Even after their wound has healed, some people experience prolonged calf pain, which is relatively uncommon.
  • It is essential to remember that even after a torn calf muscle has fully healed, scar tissue may still be present in the strength, and this tissue is significantly weaker than the muscle that surrounds it. Because of this, you are at an increased risk of tearing your calf muscle and suffering other injuries to your lower leg.

When Should I Make An Appointment With My Doctor?


Contact your doctor if you:

  • You are unable to stand on your toes at this time.
  • You are unable to walk or put any pressure on your leg.
  • Calf pain that is severe or lasts for an extended period.
  • Are you having difficulty moving your ankle or knee?
  • If you notice any swelling or severe bruising in your lower leg, foot, or ankle, seek medical attention immediately. Has A Note For You.

A painful injury in the muscles behind your shin bone is known as a calf muscle tear. People over 40 and athletes have an increased risk of sustaining this kind of muscle injury. Can typically heal Tears in the calf muscle with conservative treatments such as rest, ice, compression, and elevation after a few weeks. In highly unusual circumstances, you might need surgery.