Bruising a muscle is painful experience most of us are destined to experience at some point in our lives. It usually happens from a blow or other trauma, as it is different from a sprained or strained muscle. When the muscle is bruised, the tough, fibrous material of the muscle tears and bleeds just like the smoother tissues of the skin. Because muscle is deep inside the body, under all the layers of skin, it can take longer to heal and be more painful than a regular bruise.
Bruising a muscle is no mean feat. You have to really sustain a blow to have the muscle bruised. It can happen in a fall, but, more often than not, it happens with a trauma. Something crashes into the calf muscle with brute force, causing the muscle tissue to tear and bleed below the flesh. The skin will be bruised as well, and may or may not be cut. But the tearing of muscle tissue takes quite a bit more force.
The immediate treatment of a bruised calf-muscle is icing and rest. Get off the leg and elevate and ice it. Apply a cold pack for at least 20 minutes at a time, take a short break from the cold, then reapply. Stay off the leg and rest it as much as possible for at least 24 hours. If you have to use the leg, go easy and favor the muscle. With a severe muscle bruise, you may have to use crutches for the first few days. Although you are resting your leg, make sure you keep it limber by stretching it with ankle rolls from time to time. Rest, ice and elevate the leg as much as possible. See a doctor. To get a proper diagnosis and good recovery strategy, have a professional asses just how badly your muscle is hurt.
Muscle tissue takes longer to heal, just as it is harder to damage. A bruised calf may well linger for several weeks, as the muscle slowly knits. If you overuse the muscle before it properly heals, you will break down some of the healing and end up taking even longer to get better. It is important to find a happy medium of keeping the muscle from getting too stiff, while allowing it enough time to heal properly.