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Old 05-23-2011, 02:13 PM   #1
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Torn calf muscle (Gastrocnemius) not healing poperly?

Hello everyone. This is my first post. I'm hoping someone can help shed some light for me as I'm not sure my doctor is giving me the full story.

About 10 weeks ago I tore my calf muscle while playing racquetball. It felt like a pretty severe strain to me as I could not bend my foot in either direction more than a few degrees without lots of pain. My general practice doctor referred me to a sports injury specialist who had a look, felt it, and told me that all I could do was rest it, ice it and stay off it for 2 weeks (crutches), then slowly starting walking it and eventually jogging and running it back into shape and it would be fine for running in 8-10 weeks and fine for competitive sports again in 3-4 months.

I followed the RX and there is no more pain but I'm not sure the muscle is rebuilding properly. It feels and looks very odd. There is a dent in the middle where the bulk of my calf should be and there is a large mass of muscle down low as if my muscle has snapped out of place and is rebuilding there... (See attached photo)

So today I saw the same doctor again for a follow up and he told me that it will always look a little different and that it will never be back to 100% but that 95% should be good enough.

I'm frustrated because I don't feel like he took me seriously as an athlete. I'm in my 30s, I'm not playing pro or college level sports, and he figured that I'd just be able to "walk it off". I don't think that my injury required surgery but I feel like this is a common injury among athletes and perhaps I should have been in some physical therapy to have it heal properly, so that I could actually have it back at 100%

Thanks in advance for reading my long-winded post
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File Type: jpg calf.jpg (65.5 KB, 10 views)

Last edited by ChuckgM3; 05-23-2011 at 03:08 PM. Reason: to show your pics as attachments

 
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Old 05-28-2011, 01:46 PM   #2
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Re: Torn calf muscle (Gastrocnemius) not healing poperly?

Chuck, welcome. I begin to, or rather keep losing more faith in the medical profession when I read your history. You should have gone to a PT immediately and they would have you diagnosed swiftly and either treated you or advised the doc on what sould have to be done. It is most likely you had a gastrocnemius tear. If you had ruptured the tendon, the achilles tendon, you would still have trouble walking, Where the tear is large you may have needed surgery, that would be a grade 3 tear and takes months to recover. Grade 2, partial tear 6 to 8 weeks. You sound in between. Without treatment the grade 3 will become pain free but weakness will in some prevail. It may be that the non athletic hardly notice the weakness but racquettball players need to be fit. See a PT one that treats athletes and also owns his or her own practice. Let us know how it goes
James
PS you may want to get this on the knee and hip section, more readers I think there.

 
Old 07-27-2011, 07:42 AM   #3
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Re: Torn calf muscle (Gastrocnemius) not healing poperly?

I've been scrubbing forums for a few days looking for any pic of what I have on my calf and your injury seems similar. In my case I do not remember any injury or pain, just a bulge at the bottom of the calf and a dent/flat area near the middle of the muscle - not as rounded as used to be and less than the other leg. I don't have insurance and don't know what this is caused by. I first noticed the slight dent a couple years ago, now the bulge at the bottom of the calf seems larger and more pronounced. I don't know if anyone knows if this is from a pull that I didn't notice or some other condition. I tried to attach pics, not 100% sure if they are there or not.

Last edited by Scott_HB; 08-03-2011 at 06:58 AM.

 
Old 07-27-2011, 09:38 AM   #4
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Re: Torn calf muscle (Gastrocnemius) not healing poperly?

Can you walk on your toes on that leg. Can't get your photo up.
James

 
Old 07-27-2011, 09:47 AM   #5
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Re: Torn calf muscle (Gastrocnemius) not healing poperly?

there is no pain. it never hurt. no loss of function. the lump raises when I flex the muscle so I guess it is muscle tissue, but also wonder if it is a blood clot or something. the dent in the heart of the muscle is so similar to your pics I wonder if it was just a small muscle pull that I didn't notice or an overuse injury.

 
Old 07-27-2011, 09:50 AM   #6
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Re: Torn calf muscle (Gastrocnemius) not healing poperly?

I'm a tennis player who felt a pop in my calf muscle and thought I had been shot. When I saw no blood I figured that I snapped it. I couldn't walk on it so a few players helped me to my car. I never went to doctor but was on crutches for a few weeks and slowly improved. It took me 6 weeks to play tennis again and after the fear factor left my brain, I'm back to 100%. A few years later my other calf popped and I treated it the same way. Yours might be different than mine but I don't go to doctors unless my toes turn blue or the pain is unbearable. Good luck on your sports injury. We all get them if we play hard enough.

 
Old 07-27-2011, 09:50 AM   #7
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Re: Torn calf muscle (Gastrocnemius) not healing poperly?

there is no pain. it never hurt. no loss of function. the lump raises when I flex the muscle so I guess it is muscle tissue, but also wonder if it is a blood clot or something. the dent in the heart of the muscle is so similar to your pics I wonder if it was just a small muscle pull that I didn't notice or an overuse injury.

I don't know why the pics don't show - I posted them in a new thread also, they seem to be showing there.

 
Old 07-27-2011, 09:55 AM   #8
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Re: Torn calf muscle (Gastrocnemius) not healing poperly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by film495 View Post
there is no pain. it never hurt. no loss of function. the lump raises when I flex the muscle so I guess it is muscle tissue, but also wonder if it is a blood clot or something. the dent in the heart of the muscle is so similar to your pics I wonder if it was just a small muscle pull that I didn't notice or an overuse injury.

I don't know why the pics don't show - I posted them in a new thread also, they seem to be showing there.
If there wasn't any pain then your injury is different than mine. It doesn't seem as severe but you need to be careful.

 
Old 07-27-2011, 11:41 AM   #9
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Re: Torn calf muscle (Gastrocnemius) not healing poperly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by film495 View Post
there is no pain. it never hurt. no loss of function. the lump raises when I flex the muscle so I guess it is muscle tissue, but also wonder if it is a blood clot or something. the dent in the heart of the muscle is so similar to your pics I wonder if it was just a small muscle pull that I didn't notice or an overuse injury.

I don't know why the pics don't show - I posted them in a new thread also, they seem to be showing there.
So we have a lump which appears in a muscle area and was not caused by injury and never pain. I would think you have a muscle hernia. Muscles have a fascial sheath which encloses the muscle. This sheath maybe weak or deficient and allows the muscle, most likely gastrocnemius, at times soleus, to herniate out. A muscle tear would have been very painfull at he time of injury. I suppose you could have it repaired or maybe strap it up prior to exercise.
James

 
Old 07-27-2011, 12:57 PM   #10
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Re: Torn calf muscle (Gastrocnemius) not healing poperly?

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If there wasn't any pain then your injury is different than mine. It doesn't seem as severe but you need to be careful.
52 Ken,

yea I looked for hours for any picture that I could even associate to my injury. I agree your injury seems more severe, but the nature of the injury or resulting variance in muscular tissue seems similar, but to different degrees.

I have been experimenting with traditional medical tape and a product called KT tape. This seems to make me more comfortable when doing activities. Probably psychological, but what I do is apply the KT tape to my calf the way the instructions say to tape the calf. I end up using 3 bands. It sort of pulls the muscle closer to the proper shape. Then I apply the medical tape around my leg to apply pressure on the spot that is swollen or herniated to hold it in place and prevent further injury. Not sure if that would help you also, but I think I'm like you in that I'll do just about anything legal to stay in the game and live an active life. I also wear compression sleeves on both my calves during workouts, and do wear compression socks around the house when I'm not going anywhere cause it looks a little silly, but makes my lower legs feel much better.

 
Old 07-27-2011, 02:57 PM   #11
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Re: Torn calf muscle (Gastrocnemius) not healing poperly?

The hard thing to do is not to go back to play too early which I couldn't. Your body has a way of healing itself and that's what I bank on. Be careful as I see you are doing. Take care and don't let it get into your mind too much. Time passes quickly until you want it to. lol

 
Old 07-27-2011, 05:48 PM   #12
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Re: Torn calf muscle (Gastrocnemius) not healing poperly?

Yea, I think an injury is as much of a mind game as it is physical recovery. Hope you're recovery goes well.

 
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:44 AM   #13
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Re: Torn calf muscle (Gastrocnemius) not healing poperly?

Hi Friends,
I fell playing tennis November 5th and my calf has completely swollen up along with my foot over one month now with no change. I have been to the PT doctor after two ultrasounds and an MRI which shows a torn calf gastroc and hematoma. He referred me to see the lymphedema therapist to wrap it and get swelling under control naturally back into the body or they will have to cut an incision to drain the fluid if nothing else works. There is a chance that I may need surgery to repair the torn gastroc but won't know for another week or so. I am wondering for thos of you that that suffered a similar injury to mine if I will regain full use of my leg again so I can again play tennis and ski? Also what is the timetable to full recovery? Obviously different people heal differently. Thanks in advance for anyone's advice. I am pretty down righ now because I can't do much more than walk at the moment and not playing tennis or running is really frustrating for me.
Pat

 
Old 12-14-2011, 07:27 AM   #14
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Re: Torn calf muscle (Gastrocnemius) not healing poperly?

Quote:
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Hi Friends,
I fell playing tennis November 5th and my calf has completely swollen up along with my foot over one month now with no change. I have been to the PT doctor after two ultrasounds and an MRI which shows a torn calf gastroc and hematoma. He referred me to see the lymphedema therapist to wrap it and get swelling under control naturally back into the body or they will have to cut an incision to drain the fluid if nothing else works. There is a chance that I may need surgery to repair the torn gastroc but won't know for another week or so. I am wondering for thos of you that that suffered a similar injury to mine if I will regain full use of my leg again so I can again play tennis and ski? Also what is the timetable to full recovery? Obviously different people heal differently. Thanks in advance for anyone's advice. I am pretty down righ now because I can't do much more than walk at the moment and not playing tennis or running is really frustrating for me.
Pat
Sorry Pat but I never went to doctor so not sure about your injury. In mine my calf just popped and I couldn't put any weight on it and was on crutches for 4 weeks before I could put weight on it. Then another 2 weeks before I could walk normally. I started playing tennis 2 weeks after that. I also popped the other calf the next year. I wear calf sleeves now. Good luck and let us know how iot works out for you.

 
Old 01-06-2013, 04:56 PM   #15
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Re: Torn calf muscle (Gastrocnemius) not healing poperly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 52ken View Post
I'm a tennis player who felt a pop in my calf muscle and thought I had been shot. When I saw no blood I figured that I snapped it. I couldn't walk on it so a few players helped me to my car. I never went to doctor but was on crutches for a few weeks and slowly improved. It took me 6 weeks to play tennis again and after the fear factor left my brain, I'm back to 100%. A few years later my other calf popped and I treated it the same way. Yours might be different than mine but I don't go to doctors unless my toes turn blue or the pain is unbearable. Good luck on your sports injury. We all get them if we play hard enough.
This happened to me playing tennis as well. I felt and heard a pop, but I could walk back to the car limping and the pain was not great. It started hurting more when I cooled down and then it hurt on touch for another week. That was two weeks ago, I went through significant swelling, some bruising and I can still clearly feel a dent somewhere around the middle of the muscle. I felt most of it was torn. I signed up for the next tennis season that starts in two weeks. I don't think I can play by then, but I hope I recover at some point to be able to play. I can't imagine life without tennis and other sports. Did you guys feel that the muscle actually rebuilt itself? I don't know how it does it if it separates in the middle, or if half of it separates. I don't have health insurance so I am doing my own research online. Any help would be appreciated.

 
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