Calf Strain

Calf Strain

Calf strain symptoms:

Calf strain’s are a common sporting injury. Also known as a ‘pulled calf’, a calf strain occurs when the calf muscle is stretched beyond its ability and the muscle tissue tears. The severity of the strain can be graded as a first, second and third degree strain. The grade relates to the amount of discomfort experienced and the limitations caused by the calf strain:

  • Grade 1 – minor muscle tear – discomfort, a twinge, minimal disability, tightness, minimal or no limits to activity.
  • Grade 2 – significant tear – sharp pain to the back of the leg, swelling in the calf muscle with mild to moderate bruising (this may take hours or days to present), discomfort walking, limited ability to perform activities.
  • Grade 3 –  ruptured muscle – severe pain in the back of the leg, inability to walk.


A calf strain or pull often occurs during high acceleration or a sharp change in direction whilst running. This includes high impact sports and high physical exertion, such as athletics, running, rugby, basketball, football and gymnastics.


Protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation (PRICE) is the recommended approach for the management of calf strains. The aim is to minimize hemorrhage, swelling, inflammation and pain through cold therapy. Apply a Physicool A Bandage for thirty minutes to one hour 2-4 hours per day. Rest and elevate the leg to provide the best conditions for healing to take place.

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