Common Diagnoses:
Gastrocnemius Strain

Overview

A gastrocnemius strain is a specific type of injury to the calf muscle in the back of the leg. A muscle strain occurs when the muscle is stretched too far, which causes tears to occur within the muscle. A calf strain occurs when the muscle in the back of the leg sustains this type of injury. It is also known as a calf strain or gastroc strain.

Symptoms

The symptoms of a medial gastrocnemius strain include:

  • Pain in the back of the leg (more on the inner side)
  • Swelling of the calf
  • Bruising of the calf down to the ankle
  • May hear an audible pop at the moment of the injury

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your medical history and do tests that might include:

  • A physical exam
  • MRI

Treatment

Treatment of a medial gastrocnemius strain can usually be accomplished with simple steps. Initially, patients begin with typical “”RICE”” treatments of:

Rest: Avoid activities that cause pain. Sometimes people will use crutches for a few days or a week to allow the most significant symptoms of pain to settle down.


Ice: Icing the calf muscle can help with pain, reduce swelling, and ease inflammation. Ice is one of the most helpful treatments in the early phase of treatment.


Compression: Compression can help to control swelling and can also help support the muscle and reduce spasm. A simple compression sock or sleeve can help.


Elevation: Elevation is also beneficial to help swelling move out of the leg.