Sunday April 8, 2007
Calf muscle tears
By DR WILLIAM CHAN
Tear pain ranges in intensity, from discomfort to agonising pain.
THE two muscles (gastrocnemius and soleous) at the back of lower leg make up the calf. Calf strain or cramp in golf is common. Many golfers have muscle tears confused with cramp. Muscle tears are more common among golfers who walk and play golf more than three times a week.
The typical leg muscle cramp is the sudden, tight and intense pain caused by a muscle locked in spasm. Whereas muscles tears have similar symptoms, except the pain lasts longer and is more severe. You may even hear a 'pop' sound or feel a snap sensation. There is difficulty putting weight on the affected leg and walking. One or two days later, the calf muscles become swollen, with or without bruises. The calf may also feel weak and stiff.
Muscle tear pain ranges in intensity, from a discomfort in a minor partial tear to agonising pain in a total tear. A muscle tear may feel hard to the touch and tight. A tear usually lasts a few days to weeks. Muscle tears generally have no serious long-term consequences.
Risk factors of calf muscle tear
1. Inadequate stretching of muscles.
2. Muscle fatigue.
3. Very tight muscles.
4. Golfing in hot environment.
5. Poor fitness.
6. Low carbohydrate levels.
7. Over-exertion or overuse.
Just about everyone will experience a muscle tear sometime in life. It can happen while you are playing golf or doing any exercise. It can also happen while you are getting up from a sitting position, walking or after severe muscle cramps. Sometimes the sudden movement that shortens the calf muscle can cause a tear.
Calf muscle tears are graded according to the severity of the tear, with grade 1 being the least severe.
Self-treatment of calf muscle tears
1. Stop your golfing temporarily
3. Compression, using elastic compression bandage.
4. Gently stretch the painful muscle
5. Apply cold spray or ice pack to sore muscles
6. Reduce lower leg activities temporarily
7. See your doctor for pain relief or anti-inflammatory medication
1. Improve overall fitness
2. Daily stretch the tight or stiff leg muscles that are prone to tear
3. Stretch before and after golf
4. Warm up before golf and cool down after golf
5. Drink water before, during and after golf at regular intervals
6. Strengthen your calf muscles so they can absorb the energy of sudden physical stress.
7. Know when your body has had enough. Fatigue puts you at risk of a strain.
Another injury with similar symptoms is a tear of the Achilles' tendon. Achilles tendon tears are more serious, and you'll need to see a doctor to differentiate between Achilles tendon tears and calf muscle tears.
Questions to Dr William Chan can be directed to him. His contact number is 03-563 55113. His e-mail is spinesportmed@Yahoo.com.