Severity of Calf Injury

Strains are typically graded a level 1, 2, or 3 depending on how severe the injury is. For some general background, read about assessing the severity of any muscle pull. For more calf specifics, read on.

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To assess your level of calf muscle injury, an expert will speak with you about your pulled calf muscle symptoms, your overall health, and how and when you were injured. This is usually accompanied by a check for tenderness, bruising, pain, or weakness in your calf, specifically when you are contracting the calf and against resistance, such as standing up on your toes.

Your pulled calf muscles will be assigned a grade based on the following:


Grade 1

You have experienced some overstretching of the muscles and micro-tearing of the calf muscle fibers. You may experience:

  • tightness in the back of the lower leg
  • ability to walk normally, but aware of discomfort or a feeling of weakness
  • some minor swelling
  • contracting the calf, especially against resistance, will cause some muscle strain pain, but it won’t be too significant.

Grade 2

You have experienced a partial torn calf muscle. You may experience:

  • affected walk, including potential for a slight limp
  • twinges of pain during activity
  • visible swelling
  • pain when contracting the muscle, especially against resistance. This pain would occur during jumping or accelerating while running.
  • your toes may involuntarily point downward

Grade 3

You have experienced full tearing of the muscle fibers (rupture). You may experience:

  • severely affected walk with perhaps a need for crutches
  • high level of muscle pain, especially when contracting to any degree
  • visible and immediate swelling
  • calf contraction will cause pain and potential bulging/spasm of the muscle
  • your toes may involuntarily point downward

Chronic Injury

By definition, chronic injuries are problematic for long periods of time. They may also be characterized by repeated issues with the same muscle.

  • You experience calf stiffness and soreness for more than a month
  • Your calf’s appearance is normal (no bruising or swelling) but it just does not feel right.
  • If you have previously had a strain and did not allow the muscles to heal properly before returning to your normal activities and exercise, your chance of developing a chronic calf strain are greatly increased.
  • Continued weakness in the calf muscle will create imbalance in the muscles that are left to pick up the slack.

Note: Seek medical attention if you have difficulty walking, or the pain is significant or unbearable.


Related Pulled Hamstring Articles:
Pulled Calf Muscle
Causes & Symptoms of Pulled Calf Muscle
Pulled Calf Muscle Treatment & Therapies
Preventing Pulled Calf Muscle