How bad is my Calf strain? Injuries are categorised into grades 1, 2, or 3 depending on severity.
Mild Grade 1 injuries
A Grade 1 strain is a minor tear of the muscle with less than 25% of the muscle fibres affected. Symptoms consist of:
- A twinge in the back of the lower leg, or simply a feeling of tightness.
- You may be able to carry on playing or competing with minimal pain.
- However, more tension or aching in the calf muscle is likely after. This may take up to 24 hours to develop.
Grade 1 strains easily turn into grade 2 strains if not treated properly.
Moderate Grade 2 injuries
Grade 2 strains are more severe, with between 25% and 90% of the muscle fibres torn. Symptoms include:
- A sudden sharp pain at the back of the lower leg, with swelling likely.
- Bruising may develop over the following couple of days.
- Pushing up onto your toes is painful.
- Significant muscle weakness.
Severe Grade 3 injuries
Grade 3 injuries are the most severe and involve 90 to 100% of the muscle fibres. Another name for a complete tear is a rupture. Symptoms include:
- Severe and immediate pain in the back of the lower leg.
- A ‘pop’ sensation at the time of injury.
- You will be unable to walk or will walk with a significant limp.
- Swelling develops rapidly within an hour or so and bruising is also likely to be visible.
- This is a result of the torn muscle fibres and associated blood vessels.
- A gap or deformity in the muscle may be visible as the torn fibres bunch up towards the knee.
More on Calf strains
- Calf strain overview – anatomy, causes & treatment
- Massage – how to apply sports massage techniques
- Rehabilitation program – full Calf strain rehabilitation program
Calf Strain Rehabilitation Program
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