View Full Version : Pulled Calf Muscle? Torn? 3 day cramp?

March 26th, 2011, 12:24 PM
Was swimming a workout the other day (at about week 4 of getting back into swimming - exercise of any sort really - in past couple years.. feeling great, already lost about 12Lbs.. Form feeling better and seriously contemplating entering some events for the first time in the 32 years I've been around this planet) and did something to my right calf.

I felt a bit crampy here or there during a kick set and ignored it (mistake #1). Went on to the next freestyle swim I was doing, no problems so continued the workout. Came to a fly set with fins and half way up the 25 (I was going as fast as I could) I stopped instantly and grabbed my right leg. Worst calf cramp I ever had. Muscle was all balled up in one tight ball (i'm not that in shape... don't have cycler's calfs yet ;-) so I knew it wasn't right). Limped to other side of pool, tore the fin off and tried to relax my foot position.

Ended up working it out to the point I could straighten my leg but this was a few days ago now (Thursday night on a day I didn't hydrate enough being on the road with client visits all day)

The pain is still there. Especially in the morning or after driving/sitting for a bit. Pretty pain full stretching my leg out, even more painful if I try and pull my toes straight up or stretch my calf.

I'm assuming I did more than get a calf cramp. I can put full weight on just gingerly. My guess is a pulled or torn muscle but I can put weight on it and after walking around a bit and working it it is functional, just sore.

Happen to you? How long did you stay out of the pool? I really want to get back in this weekend or Monday because I am making such good progress but I don't want to hurt it worse...

I've been drinking water, eating bananas and getting calcium (and mag to help absorption) and a bit of ibuprofen like a mad man since... :-)


March 26th, 2011, 12:33 PM
At this point is it primarily soreness? I've gotten really bad calf cramps before that have left the muscle sore for days. It hasn't kept me out of the water, but yours sounds to be really bad.

March 26th, 2011, 01:00 PM
Maybe it is just soreness still. Walking normally isn't that bad. It is if I try and stretch it or when I first get up that it definitely hurts. Also hurts if something bumps into it (like my wife's legs in bed).

I'm going to give it a shot back in there, take it easy, keep the fins off and keep the feet relaxed and see how it goes.

March 26th, 2011, 04:14 PM
I pretty much have the same injury. Got it while running down in Florida. I'm used to running in my hilly neighborhood so when I was down in Florida last week I ran extra since its nice and flat. I was almost done when I felt the bottom of my right calf getting tight. So I walked a bit, stretched, and ran some more. Then felt a little "pop" and then it got really tight.

Its now been 6 days and I'm still limping a bit. I can pull my toes back no problem, but if I put weight on it and try to do a calf raise is when I feel it. Just trying to walk flatfoot now and not run...just basically give it a rest. However I'm in a meet right now and I'm trying to nurse it a bit. I should not have swum the 50 free though, the start and fast turn bothered it.

Calf sprains are graded as 1, 2, 3 and they are all technically "tears", just different severity from micro tears to full tears. I think I'm lucky and its only a Grade 1 for me. We shall see, I just hope its better before Y nats in 3 weeks.

March 26th, 2011, 07:18 PM
Same thing happened to me Wednesday of this week. Cramped up so tight I could hardly get to the side of the pool. Fortunately, I was in the shallow end, so I could at least put my other foot down and not drown, which would have put quite a damper on my state meet swims (both today's and tomorrow's). :D

I ended up pulling the rest of Wednesday's workout, pulled a good part of Thursday's workout, and when I kicked on Friday, it was not all out - and I was pretty ginger with the fins. Wednesday through Friday, when at work, I kept gently stretching throughout the day.

Today, however, it feels much better. Hard cramps are nasty - and they do take a while to resolve. Just take it easy, switch kicks for pulls, and don't necessarily go all out until it resolves. Good luck!

March 26th, 2011, 08:22 PM
Thanks for input. Felt better today toward afternoon. Tested it out running around the house with the kids a bit, stretching it out a bit and trying some light calf raises. Still feel it but don't feel like I'm doing any damage. Will get back to pool Monday at this point and will take it easy first couple times.

March 27th, 2011, 04:18 PM
Ice works faster than anything else for a tear. I have torn my calf muscles kicking with fins before and it healed within a few days. Much faster than the rotator cuff muscles, which take months to rehabilitate...

I continued swimming, but used no fins and did only very light kick sets for a week or so. Stretching/massage also helps.

March 28th, 2011, 11:09 AM
If it continues past a week or so, you might want to check into ART (Active Release Technique). Basically, an ART session is like deep tissue massage on steroids. The therapist, often a chiropractor or physical therapist with a certification in ART, will find trigger points and take the affected area through range of motion at the same time. Hurts like all get out, but it helps to release the knots and break up scar tissue. Sometimes it takes several treatments, but if it's a nagging or repetitive problem, it's well worth it. Here's a link to the ART home page where you can learn more about the technique and find a provider in your area: http://www.activerelease.com/

Tennis balls and foam rollers help as well when stretching isn't enough. I've had this same injury, and can feel your pain!

March 28th, 2011, 10:06 PM
You'll get over it in a week.

I once experienced a calf cramp so bad it left a permanent groove in my calf muscle about an inch in diameter.

March 29th, 2011, 09:04 AM
When I get really bad calf cramps, it's breast stroke time. The sharp flex and release of the whip kick releases the cramps.

June 3rd, 2012, 01:59 PM
I had close to the same thing happen two days ago. I was doing calf raises, with the machine, and when I was on my last 5 reps, my calves cramped up but I pushed through and finished. Now my calves feel like they are permanently cramped up. I try to stretch them when I'm sitting/laying down, but when I stand I can't stand flat footed and stand straight up at the same time for the first few minutes. Any help on what to do to make it better or at least bearable is welcomed.