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Calf Injury Research Paper

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Calf injuries usually occur as a result of a sudden pushing off movement or from excessive over-stretching of the calf muscles as demonstrated in jumping activities or during quick changes of direction. Symptoms of a calf strain can vary significantly but usually involve a sudden sharp pain at the back of the lower leg. The calf muscle will often be tender to touch at the point of injury and swelling and bruising may appear within hours or days. Depending on how bad the calf injury is, the athlete may be able to continue exercising although he/she will often have some discomfort / tightness during or after the session. When injuries are more severe the athlete can recall when the injury occurred and or they may be unable to walk due to severe…show more content…
A grade 1 will not normally need professional treatment whereas grade 2 or 3 injuries, depending on their severity, may require more specialist treatment and rehabilitation advice from a sports injury professional. A Grade 1 calf strain is a minor tear with up to 25% of the muscle fibres affected. The athlete may feel either a twinge of pain in the back of the lower leg or a feeling of "tightness". They may be able to carry on playing or competing without pain or with only mild discomfort in the calf. However, after exercises finishes there is likely to be "tightness" and/or aching in the calf muscles which can take up to 24 hours to develop. Symptoms of a Grade 2 strain will be more severe than a grade one, with up to 90% of the muscle fibres torn. There will be a sharp pain at the back of the lower leg and usually significant pain on walking afterwards. There is likely to be swelling in the calf muscle with mild to moderate bruising, however this may take hours or days to be visible. On strength testing the muscle, pain will be felt on resisted plantar flexion (pushing the toes and foot downwards towards the floor) against resistance. Tightness and aching may be present in the calf muscle for a week or more before subsiding. Grade 3 injuries involve 90-100% of the muscle fibres and are often referred to as "ruptures". The athlete will definitely be able to recall exactly when the injury…show more content…
A compression bandage can be applied immediately to help stop swelling but it should only be applied for 10 minutes at a time as restricting blood flow completely to the tissues could cause more damage, whereas the calf supports can be applied for longer. We also advise wearing a heel pad to raise the heel and shorten the calf muscle hence taking some of the strain off the muscle. It is a good idea to put heel pads in both shoes because otherwise one leg will become longer than the other due to the raised heel thereby creating an imbalance and possibly leading to other associated injuries / pain. For more comprehensive treatment and to minimise the risk of re-injury, Sportsinjuryclinic.net advise seeing a professional therapist (such as physiotherapist, sports therapist, osteopath or chiropractor) who can also devise a full calf strain rehabilitation program including stretching and strengthening exercises. A doctor or medical professional may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication e.g. ibuprofen which is beneficial in the first few days after the injury. Do not take ibuprofen if you have asthma and always speak to a pharmacist or doctor before taking medications. There is some evidence that anti-inflammatories can impair healing so do not take them for more than a few days at the beginning of the injury. Also, taking medication can sometimes "mask" any pain and may therefore be detrimental to the healing
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