Strained calves at the Super Bowl? Maybe. Although no football fan likes to see their favorite players fall to injury, you never know what can transpire on the gridiron come game day. One common football injury, and an everyday life occurrence, is strained calves. Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers famously suffered from a strained calf just last month, and it may have cost him an invite to the Super Bowl.
A calf strain is defined by a tear to one or both the muscles at the back of the lower leg. These muscles are often injured in sports, or from overuse, overstretching, or a traumatic force, such as being hit.
Symptoms of the injured muscle include sudden sharp pain at the back of the lower leg, sensitivity to touch, and even swelling and bruising. Calf strains are graded on a scale from one to three. Three is the most severe case and is characterized by the complete tearing of the muscle.
Immediately following a calf strain, the leg should be elevated and cold packs applied to prevent swelling. A good rule of thumb in treating a strain is to remember R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).
Your doctor can determine the severity of your injury and formulate a treatment plan along with prescribing any pain medications if necessary. A grade three strain may require surgery or brace or splint to help healing.
All levels of calf strains can benefit from physical or occupational therapy and wearing a compression bandage to facilitate healing. And remember not to rush the recovery process. It takes about four to six weeks for the tear to completely heal.