What is the Best Treatment for a Ruptured Calf Muscle?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2019
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A ruptured calf muscle occurs when a muscle is put under too much strain and the muscle fibers tear completely away from themselves or from the tendons that secure the muscles to bone. This is an often painful injury that will require immediate medical attention. In many cases, a ruptured calf muscle will require surgery to repair the damaged muscle tissue, and the surgery will be followed by a rehabilitation period of rest and physical therapy. Immediately following the injury, the RICE treatment should be used. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation, and a ruptured calf muscle will need this treatment to keep swelling, bruising, and pain to a minimum.

Bruising and swelling are very likely to occur immediately following the injury, and the injured person may be unable to put weight on the affected leg. Ice should be applied to the ruptured calf muscle to reduce pain and swelling, and the injured person will need to rest the affected leg by keeping all weight off it. Elevating the leg helps reduce swelling and improves blood flow to the injured area, so if possible, the injured person should keep the leg elevated until he or she can see a doctor. It is important to keep in mind that a ruptured calf muscle is different from a pulled muscle or muscle strain. While these latter injuries can often be treated without a visit to the doctor, a rupture will require medical attention.


Not all ruptures require surgery to fix. Some can be treated with just the RICE treatment and sufficient time off the leg, and the muscle tissue will heal on its own after time. Ruptures can lead to internal bleeding in many cases, however, so this condition will need to be addressed by a doctor. A doctor can also prescribe painklilers, anti-inflammatory medications, and can refer a patient to physical therapy and other recovery processes. Only a doctor will be able to make the determination as to whether the ruptured calf muscle is damaged severely enough to warrant surgery.

The recovery time for a ruptured calf muscle will vary according to the severity of the injury and the injured person's ability to stay off the leg. Mobility should be limited during this recovery time, which can be difficult for many active people. Obtaining crutches from a doctor is one way to keep the leg immobile during the recovery phase while still maintaining the ability to move around for daily activities.


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