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Injury & Pain in the Calf Muscles

This type of injury is common amongst athletes and people engaging in physical activities and sports. The most common injury experienced by these people is of the calf muscles (soleus and gastrocnemius)—that is, pain in the calf.

We’ll explore the causes, symptoms, and treatments of ruptures of the calf muscles (soleus and gastrocnemius). Continue reading to find out more.

As is common with various muscle injuries, muscle fibers in the region known as myotendinous (located at the junction between the tendon and the muscle) experience stress. When stretched beyond their capacity, these muscles break and cause sharp, excruciating pain.



The types of impact of muscle injuries

The following classification standards for the types of stretches are divided according to the dimensions of the injury. They are as follows:

Grade 1:  These cases of stretching comprise a small portion of the muscle fibers, often below 5% of the total muscle in question.

In such circumstances, the pain is concentrated in that region, increasing with the contraction of the counter-resistance muscle. However, it’s possible that you won’t feel much pain without exerting pressure.

In Grade 1 injuries, the hemorrhage is not large. Hence, edema is not usually noticeable in physical examinations. Structural damage is minimal and the issue can be resolved promptly. You may experience a favorable prognosis with fiber restoration in a short period of time.

Grade 2:  In these cases, the severity, as well as the amount of damaged fibers, is greater—lying between 5% and 50% of the total muscle. The damage that occurs in Grade 1 injuries also occurs here, except it may be in a higher intensity.

You may experience pain, moderate bleeding, and larger inflammation in the area. Since your muscle function is significantly impacted in Grade 2 injuries, recovery may take longer as well.

Grade 3: In Grade 3 cases, a complete rupture of the muscle (or most of it) occurs, affecting more than 50% of the total muscle. As a result, there is considerable impairment of muscle function, and it causes a range of painful and uncomfortable symptoms.

You may experience moderate to severe pain when contracting your muscles. The size of edema and bleeding is much larger compared to the previous grades. Additionally, they may be visible, varying according to the position of the injured muscle in relation to the skin. The muscle defect isn’t just palpable, it’s visible too.


High-risk situations

The most common situations in which the calf muscles rupture occur in sports. This is because athletes tend to subject their muscles to excessive stress that exceeds their capacity, eventually resulting in pain in the calf.

External factors such as a lack of warming up and cold/hot weather conditions can increase your chances of calf muscle ruptures. The muscle explosion is the moment when the injury occurs, getting its name from the sudden and intense contraction of the affected muscles.

Athletes playing the following sports are more susceptible to calf muscle ruptures than others:

  • Football
  • Tennis
  • Sprinting
  • Basketball
  • CrossFit
  • Volleyball
  • Rugby

It’s also important to note that the incidence is higher in male athletes compared to female athletes.

The feelings of tension and pain in the calves may continue for several days before the injury eventually occurs. People between 25 and 44 years are most susceptible to ruptures of the calf muscles.



For Grade 1 and Grade 2 injuries, physiotherapy is generally recommended. Using techniques such as hematoma absorption by ultrasound and cell therapies, such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP), you may experience lasting relief and regain your muscle’s functionality.

Since Grade 3 injuries are the most serious ones, you may require surgery to drain the bruises, repair the muscles, or perform compartmental decompression. The type of surgical treatment we decide will depend on your symptoms and the extent of your muscle injury.


Preventing calf muscle ruptures

Preventing the condition is always better than treating it after the damage has been done.

There are several ways you can prevent painful calf muscle ruptures and maintain muscle health. One option is working with a professional trainer who can guide you on the correct execution of the sport’s techniques. Warming up before any physical exercise is imperative to ensure your muscles don’t get strained or stretched beyond their capacity.

Another way to prevent painful calf injury is to choose suitable shoes that reduce the stress on your calves. Additionally, avoid running on uneven terrain as that places undue pressure on your legs, especially your calf muscles.


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Unidade Higienópolis

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Unidade Higienópolis
A clínica Artroplastias do ortopedista em São Paulo, Dr. Felipe possui sala para acolher o paciente e família.

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Unidade Higienópolis

Sala para um exame ortopédico completo, cujo objetivo é o diagnóstico preciso. A indicação de uma artroplastia de quadril se baseia no estudo clínico e radiográfico cuidadoso do paciente.

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