calf strain

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A stretch, tear, or complete rupture of muscle fibres in the calf. It usually occurs at the point where the gastrocnemius joins the Achilles tendon. The strain is often caused by a massive contraction of the calf muscles, especially when an athlete stops quickly by planting the foot on the ground, then suddenly straightens the leg. Calf strains are common in squash and tennis players, particularly those who are unfit. Initial treatment involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation (see RICE). This should be followed by a rehabilitation programme of stretching and strengthening exercises. Surgery is rarely necessary, even in severe cases. However, if a calf strain is not properly rehabilitated. the muscle may become more pliable and more susceptible to injury.

Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.

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