Signs of a Calf Strain (and What to Do About it)

With Indianapolis Colts fans concerned about quarterback Andrew Luck, many wonder just how serious a calf strain is – and if it’s always linked with more serious injury, like Achilles tendon injury. Basketball fans need only think back to star Kevin Durant’s calf strain -and Achilles tendon rupture a few weeks later- to start worrying their own calf strain (or a favorite QB’s) is more serious than they thought. In reality, calf strains can be mild or they can be more involved; here are some signs to look for in your own injury (as well as what to do about it):

The Facts 

Your calf makes up the muscles on the back of your lower leg, moving down into your Achilles tendon. A calf strain can be mild, moderate, or more severe – with correlating symptoms.

Signs of a Mild Strain

Discomfort that is mild

No pain at night

Minimal/no pain at rest

Improvement with activity/Your calf feels better as you warm up

Stretching helps

Warning Signs

More intense/severe pain

Pain at rest

Pain at night

Discomfort or pain that worsens with activity

Discomfort with stretching

Inability to raise yourself on the affected leg

What NOT to Do:

Once you suspect a calf strain, don’t continue your regular fitness routine without getting the green light from a professional. It’s possible to worsen your injury (and your recovery) time by not properly treating your calf strain. If you have signs of a more serious injury, be sure and see a medical pro sooner rather than later.

What to Do:

See a physical therapist. A PT is an expert in the musculoskeletal system, and will assess your injury. S/he will recommend a custom treatment plan, often including stretching and at-home exercises to strengthen and heal your calf. Your PT will also inform you what activities are safe and what you should avoid during your recovery.

If you’re avoiding activity because of a calf strain or other injury or issue of the musculoskeletal system, Body One Physical Therapy is ready to help get you back in the game. We are both locally-owned and operated, with three locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Don’t wait to feel better, call Body One today!