Sunday, April 20, 2008

Torn calf playing volleyball

I am sitting on my couch Google searching torn calf muscle because I just did my left one a few hours ago.  My scenario:  I ski all winter and as spring was just starting here, I went out on a 2 hour bike ride yesterday.  I'll admit, I stretched well half way through the ride but not well after it.   Today, I joined my wife for some recreational volleyball at the park.  No stretching of any sort before playing, of course...

I was at the net and jumped up to hit the ball as it came over the net.  I felt a "pop" in about my mid-calf and it felt like someone threw a rock hard at my calf.  I remember my mind thinking "Why did my wife just kick a rock into me?"  This quickly turned into "Oh no!  I know what just happened!"


Immediate pain in the calf and my toes pointed straight down.  I could not put any weight on the left leg.  Next stop was the ER because my fear was a torn Achilles.  Being an EMT and ski patroller, I have seen my fair share of these injuries and know the symptoms well.  I hear lots of patients describe feeling a "pop" and I always found that an interesting description, having never felt it myself.  It feels exactly like it sounds.

Doc checked it out and decided no complete tear of Achilles but that there was a tear of some grade.  Too hard to tell by x-ray alone but I passed the Achilles total tear test.  Her thought was partial tear but she was worried it was at the ligament junction with the muscle.

After poking around for a while, I was feeling much better.  Doc asked me to put some weight on it.  Sure, why not?  As I gingerly put weight down on my left leg, a sharp pain hit my calf and I nearly collapsed.  Pain went from a "3" at rest to a "9" with weight on it.  OK, half splint (hard on the back, soft on the front) on the lower left leg and an appointment for an ortho and MRI later this week.

As I read much more information about people and their injuries, it is clear there is a wide range of recovery duration and options.  I've been following the standard Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation therapy.  Ice has helped but I find it now very difficult to ice with the cast on.

I'll update as the treatment and therapy continue.  I had just signed up for a big bike ride in July (it's mid April now) that I am very anxious to train for.  Sounds like bike therapy is much better than running.  Good thing since I don't even run when being chased.  I'l take my chances before having to run.

I have found a good description of these injuries at: http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/leg_injuries/a/leg6.htm  Many people refer to that article and if you are reading this because you think you have injured yours, it's a good read.  Also, if you have insurance, use it.  Life's too short to do long term damage because you thought you could tuff this out.