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Taekwondo Torn Calf Muscle

During Taekwondo, I have torn my left and right calf muscles (on separate occasions). Ouch! As we age, our bodies become stronger but also less flexible and heavier. This leads to problems when you are a middle-aged athlete. Here is a quick summary of my torn calf symptoms and the exercise & stretching regime that I am using to avoid (hopefully!) future calf problems. However, this is my recovery program (and is not a medical recommendation). You should SEE A DOCTOR if you are hurt during Taekwondo. Please do not rely on the internet for your medical advice as you may need an MRI, x-ray, etc. Remember, you need trained medical advice in order to properly diagnose an injury and to recommend appropriate treatment. Don't make things worse!

* Also check out these books regarding leg stretches at Amazon. See if they are in your library to save money.

  • My Torn Calf Symptoms & Recovery

    • During a Taekwondo sparring session, it felt as if I had been hit in the back of my calf with a ball. I actually turned around to see who had thrown "the ball". :) Of course, no one had thrown a ball. I had torn my gastrocnemius muscle (calf muscle). After experiencing a sharp pain in my calf, I was suddenly hopping around on one foot because I could not place any weight on my injured leg.

    • However, be careful as this experience can also describe a torn achilles tendon and that is a much worse injury. Please see a doctor to get a correct diagnosis.

    • The next day, my calf and shin was black & blue and swollen. Each time that I took a normal step, it felt like a knife being stuck in my calf.

    • During my doctor's visit, he poked and prodded my leg. In addition, he carefully examined my achilles tendon to determine if this had ruptured. Finally, he took x-rays in order to see if I had broken anything.

    • After I was diagnosed with a grade 2 calf muscle tear (tear in the medial gastrocnemius), my doctor recommended that I initially use crutches and/or wear an orthopedic boot (which helps to reduce the flexing of your foot and thus lessen the use of your calf muscle). He also suggested that I follow the standard R.I.C.E. therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). In order to reduce inflammation and pain, he suggested that I take over-the-counter ibuprofen.

    • Then I had to visit a physical therapist in order to work on a series of gentle calf exercises, calf stretches and calf massages. These were designed to make my calf stronger and more flexible as well as minimize any residual scar buildup in my calf muscle.

    • Lessons Learned - After healing, don't become complacent. Keep doing your stretches & exercises. I gradually tapered off after my first calf injury because I thought everything was fine. Of course, that was a huge mistake! :) Also stretch before, after and DURING Taekwondo (if you have any breaks) and give extra attention to your problem areas.

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