Calf Strain Symptoms & Diagnosis

Calf strain diagnosis

How bad is my Calf strain? Injuries are categorised into grades 1, 2, or 3 depending on severity.

Grade 1 | Grade 2 | Grade 3 | Calf Strain Rehabilitation Programs

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 muscle strain

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 muscle strain

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

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