How to Diagnose a Torn Calf Muscle


A torn calf muscle is an extremely painful injury in which the muscle fibers in one’s calf either partially or fully tear. Once torn, the leg will function well below normal levels, and will cause a great deal of pain. Properly assessing whether or not a tear has been suffered is the first step towards caring for the injury, ensuring that the injury can be healed and back to operating at full power as soon as possible.

How to Diagnose a Torn Calf Muscle
(Dale Davidson/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Ice
Step 1

Ask the injured individual, and any who were around at the moment of the injury, if they heard a popping sound come from the leg. Often, when a calf is torn, it produces an audible pop which can be heard if it occurs in a quiet venue.

Step 2

Check the injured calf for pain. A tear in the calf will result in sharp, intense pain in the calf if pressure is applied or if the individual attempts to put any weight on the calf.

Dale Davidson/Demand Media
Step 3

Ask the injured individual if they are experiencing any stiffness in the injured calf. Often times, a torn calf will lead to the feeling of the leg being very stiff, meaning it is difficult for the muscle to be moved or flexed.

Dale Davidson/Demand Media
Step 4

Ask about weakness in the injured leg. An individual who is able to place any significant weight on the leg likely did not suffer a tear. Do not force the injured individual to test if they can put weight on the leg if they are unsure as this could further injure the leg.

Dale Davidson/Demand Media
Step 5

Examine the leg for any signs of bruising. Many muscle tears will also lead to bleeding beneath the skin, causing the area around the calf to become bruised or discolored.

Dale Davidson/Demand Media
Step 6

Apply ice to the injured calf. This will help reduce swelling as well as help to numb the area slightly, minimizing the pain of the injured individual.

Dale Davidson/Demand Media
Step 7

Consult with a doctor immediately if the injured individual is showing the above signs of a tear, or if pain in the leg persists.

Dale Davidson/Demand Media

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