Just under a week ago during an indoor soccer game I "tore" my calf. I'm 40 years old, exercise regularly (biking mostly 4-10 hours per week) and play soccer periodically. I had injured both my ankles about 5 weeks prior (one kicked the other sprained) and during therapy doing single leg heel raises I had pulled a small section of the calf. I could feel tightness in a thin band down the middle of the calf that felt sore and tight for a couple weeks. When I played the soccer game during the second half pushing during a turn I felt something pop loose. I could still walk ok finished the play and walked off the field. The same section felt very tight and hurt, say a 4, when I pushed off on my left foot. I stopped playing and saw a Dr. 2 days later. At that time walking would hurt if I pushed off the ball of my foot, felt like a tight knot in the back of the calf. A 2" section in the middle of my calf was also very sore to the touch. The Dr did a quick physical examination and told me I had torn my medial connection to . . . (don't remember) and that I would need 4-6 months to recover. He said go ahead and do sports like swimming and biking if they don't hurt and heel lifts when they don't hurt.
By the next day I was find doing double heel lifts, about 30, with nominal irritation and walking doesn't really hurt at all. There was very little swelling from the injury, no bruising and it is no longer sore to the touch.
Here is the question(s):
1. Does this sound more like a grade 2 tear? 2. Is it ok to do leg lifts and non explosive exercise movements using any pain in the calf as a guide? I'm trying to do the right recovery program, he did not recommend PT, though he has for other injuries in the past. 3. If I had a grade 3 sprain, which would require the longer healing time he mentioned, would you expect me to be able to walk, climb stairs, and do heel lifts with little to no irritation? 4. My goal, if it is safe, is to return to soccer in 6 weeks. What should I be able to do from a mobility standpoint that would let me know I'm ok? (I do have an appointment scheduled in January and I will not return to playing without his ok. Just pointing this out as I'm using the forum to learn more and adjust expectations but my Dr. here to give me the ok to return to playing or not.)
First, a clarification. A sprain is an injury to a ligament, a strain is an injury to a muscle, or muscle tendon unit. Your injury sounds like a mild strain. Doing slow, controlled, non-explosve injuries that do not produce pain should be fine. Adding strength and endurance exercises as you progress should also be helpful. I think 6 weeks is a reasonable estimate
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