The lower back of our leg has two muscles, namely gastrocnemius, and soleus that make up the calf. When there are strains within these two muscles, the condition is referred to as a pulled calf muscle. With the strain, muscle fibers get torn to some extent. Pulled calf muscle might be chronic or acute, depending on the severity of injury causing the strain.
In mild cases, you might experience pain and feelings of pulling within the lower half of the leg and also feel uncomfortable while walking. There might also be other symptoms like mild swelling, bruising, and redness. In case of severe strains in a pulled muscle, there might be sharp pain and it might also affect mobility.
How Long Does A Pulled Calf Muscle Take To Heal?
Usually, a pulled calf muscle takes up to three days to start feeling better. However, as per the Oxford University Hospitals, complete recovery might take up to six weeks.(1) Severe pain and swelling can take longer to heal. It should be noted that walking with recovering calf muscles can increase the healing time.
In case the pulled calf muscle requires surgery, it would take several weeks or even months to heal completely.
However, most people with pulled calf muscle might not require surgery.(2) The condition can be healed quickly if you take appropriate rest and a proper treatment plan. Take enough rest before resuming daily physical activities.
Recovery/Healing Timeline For Most Patients With A Pulled Calf Muscle:
One Hour After Injury:
You can apply ice to the affected leg. But make sure not to use heat therapy as that could contribute to swelling. Try to rest more and if your mobility is hindered, make an appointment with the doctor.
Three Day After Injury:
At this stage, applying a heat pack can be beneficial and give enough pain relief. Minor cases should begin feeling better in 3 days.
One Week After Injury:
Mild and moderate injuries of pulled muscles should start feeling better in a week with the proper rest.
Three Weeks After Injury:
Minor calf strains would be completely healed within 3 weeks if the appropriate doctor’s advice is followed.
Six Months After Injury:
At this point, mild and moderate cases of pulled calf muscles are completely healed. Patients who underwent surgery due to severe cases of pulled calf muscles might see noticeable recovery around six months. By exactly one year, all injuries can be healed and the patient can get back to normal activities.
You should talk with your doctor about the appropriate treatments and also know about the follow-ups and other recommendations to get complete healing from your condition easily and quickly.