Pain in a calf muscle can leave you struggling to walk much less able to complete an exercise like jumping rope. Most calf pain is the result of strains or contusions in the calf. Athletes can take certain measures to relieve their pain based on the severity of the injury and add a few stretches and exercises to prevent calf pain from coming back. If your pain persists, see your doctor.
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According to the Sports Injury Clinic, calf strains are graded on a 1, 2 or 3 scale. The Grade 1 strains are the least severe, with up to 10 percent of the muscle fibers torn, while grade 2 strains involve tears of up to 90 percent of the muscle fibers. Grade 3 strains are complete tears or full ruptures that usually occur at the knee or Achilles tendon.
Grade 1 strains are the most common, and athletes can often continue through the light to moderate pain this type of strain causes. Grade 2 strains are more severe and often lead to pain that prevents exercise. Grade 3s produce severe pain and sometimes muscle dislocation.
Contusions and Cramps
Muscle contusions or bruises can cause pain in your calf especially during movement or flexing of the muscle. Calf contusions are also graded on a 1 to 3 scale, with 1 being the most minor and 3 being a severe, internally bleeding injury. Cramps in your calf muscle can also cause significant pain during exercise. A cramp is a painful involuntary muscle contraction that commonly occurs in calves.
Contusions result from a hit or bump on the calf that leads to swelling and pain. Cramps are usually caused by dehydration, low potassium levels, low sodium levels or low carbohydrate levels. Calf strains can result from a variety of injuries, such as overuse or soreness from training. Playing sports or exercising can also lead to a calf injury, especially if you have tight muscles. Tight muscles can make a calf strain more likely and can also help lead to cramps.
Treatment and Prevention
Rest, apply ice, apply compression and elevate your calf injury to aid recovery. ) In the case of cramps, staying hydrated and eating a balanced diet full of nutrients can help prevent and relieve cramps. Stretching and strengthening your calves can prevent future injuries. Calf raises are the best strengthening exercises for calves.