Medial Gastrocnemius Strain

medial gastrocnemius strain
The calf muscle is commonly injured in sports activities. Photo © Maridav

A medial gastrocnemius strain (MGS) is a specific type of injury to the calf muscle in the back of the leg.  A muscle strain occurs when the muscle is stretched too far, which causes tears to occur within the muscle. A calf strain occurs when the muscle in the back of the leg sustains this type of injury.

The Calf Muscles

The calf is made of three major muscles, the medial and lateral gastrocnemius and the soleus muscle.

The most commonly injured muscle when a calf strain occurs is an injury to the medial gastrocnemius muscle.

The symptoms of a medial gastrocnemius strain include:

  • Pain in the back of the leg (more on the inner side)
  • Swelling of the calf
  • Bruising of the calf down to the ankle

Treatment of Medial Gastrocnemius Strain

Treatment of a medial gastrocnemius strain can usually be accomplished simple steps.  Initial, patients begin with typical "RICE" treatments of:

  • Rest: Avoiding activities that cause pain. Sometimes people will use crutches for a few days or a week to allow the most significant symptoms of pain to settle down.
  • Ice: Icing the calf muscle can help with pain, reduce swelling, and ease the inflammation.  Ice is one of the most helpful treatments in the early phase of treatment.
  • Compression:  Compression can help to control swelling and can also help support the muscle and reduce spasm.  A simple compression sock or sleeve can help.
  • Elevation: Elevation is also beneficial to help swelling move out of the leg.

Once the earliest phases of treatment have completed, patients can begin therapeutic activities and gentle stretching.  Typical recovery from a medial gastrocnemius strain is 6 weeks until return to athletic activities.

Also Known As: MGS, calf strain, gastroc strain

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