Calf Muscle Strain



Calf muscle strains may be caused by:

  • Stretching the calf muscle too far
  • Putting sudden stress on the calf muscle
  • A direct blow to the calf muscle

Risk Factors

Calf muscle strains are more common in people who do activities with sudden bursts of speed, such as track sports, basketball, and football.

Other things that may raise the risk of a calf muscle strain are:

  • A prior strain or injury to the muscle
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Not being ready for an exercise or stress



Problems may be:

  • Pain when pushing off the foot or standing on tiptoe
  • Stiffness in the calf muscle
  • Weakness of the calf muscle
  • Bruising on the calf
  • A popping sensation as the muscle tears


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. Questions will also be asked about how the injury happened. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the calf muscle. This is enough to make the diagnosis.



The goal of treatment is to ease pain and improve movement. This may be done with:

  • Ice and rest to ease pain and swelling
  • Medicine to ease pain and swelling
  • Exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscle


The risk of a calf muscle strain may be lowered by:

  • Using the right techniques when playing sports
  • Stretching and strengthening the calf muscles

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.