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How Do I Treat a Sprained Calf?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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When an injury occurs that a person thinks may have resulted in the development of a sprained calf, a doctor should be consulted in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis and an individualized treatment plan. The standard treatment options for a sprained calf include resting the affected leg, applying ice or heat therapy, and using over-the-counter or prescription medications. Stretching exercises, physical therapy, or the use of supportive devices such as crutches may sometimes be helpful as well. Any specific questions or concerns about the most appropriate treatment options for a sprained calf in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Rest is one of the most important treatment methods for a sprained calf. It is important to stay off of the affected leg as much as possible so that the injured muscles are able to heal. Elevating the foot above the level of the heart may help to avoid further complications, such as the development of blood clots.

Ice therapy can be helpful when treating a sprained calf, especially during the first day or two following the injury. An ice pack can be wrapped in a towel to prevent damage to the skin and then applied to the injured area for about 15 minutes at a time several times per day. In addition to soothing some of the discomfort associated with the sprain, ice can help to reduce swelling. After the inflammation has been resolved, heat therapy can often be used instead of ice therapy.

Over-the-counter pain relievers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, may be used to treat a sprained calf. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are examples of these medications that are designed to reduce inflammation while relieving pain. If the underlying injury is severe, prescription pain medications may be required.

Stretching exercises can help the healing process, but it is important to consult a physician to make sure that this is safe. A physical therapist can help teach the patient the proper ways to exercise the injured limb so that further damage to the muscles and surrounding tissues does not occur. The use of supportive devices such as crutches may be necessary if the patient must remain partially mobile, although this practice should occur only in moderation. Extensive use of these devices may actually cause more damage to the injured leg, especially if used incorrectly.

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