Lower Leg Muscle Strains are a tear to the either the Gastrocnemius or Soleus muscle, most commonly at the point they join the achilles tendon.
Lower Leg Muscle Strains occur when part of the muscles of the lower leg are stretched beyond their ability to withstand the tension. This stretching can result in small microtears to the muscle fibers or, in a severe injury, a complete rupture of the muscle fibers. These injuries usually occur through a sudden pushing off force or an over-stretch of the calf muscles.
Lower Leg Muscle Strains can be graded 1, 2 or 3 based on severity of the injury where grade 1 is the least severe and grade 3 is the most. Here we explain the symptoms for the different grades of injury so you can determine how severe you injury is. We also explain and demonstrate treatment and rehab exercises for calf strain injuries. It is important to treat and rehabilitation a calf injury thoroughly to prevent residual calf tightness or weakness causing further injuries.
Lower Leg Muscle Strains: Diagnosis/Definition
A muscle strain is a partial tear of muscle fibers caused by forceful stretching of an already contracted muscle. Suboptimal flexibility is thought to be a predisposing factor. The gastrocnemius, because it crosses two joints, is especially vulnerable.
Lower Leg Muscle Strains: Initial Diagnosis and Management
- History and physical examination.
- Plain films if necessary
- Encourage active range of motion.
- Appropriate restrictions of activity.
Lower Leg Muscle Strains: Ongoing Management and Objectives
- Rest is individualized depending upon severity
- Immobilization is contraindicated in minor injuries however crutches should be used if ambulation is painful.
- A significant gastrocnemius tear is sometimes treated with long leg cast immobilization with the knee flexed at 60 degrees and the ankle in neutral for 3 weeks. This is followed by another 3 weeks with a boot cast and the ankle plantarflexed 10 degrees. Compete tears may require surgical repair.
- Ice for 10 to 15 minutes with hourly reapplication.
- Elevate leg frequently with compressive wraps.
- Slow and sustained active stretches
Lower Leg Muscle Strains: Indication a Profile is Needed
- Any limitations that affect strength, range of movement, and efficiency of feet, legs, lower back and pelvic girdle.
- Slightly limited mobility of joints, muscular weakness, or other musculo-skeletal defects that may prevent moderate marching, climbing, timed walking, or prolonged effect.
- Defects or impairments that require significant restriction of use.