ZocdocAnswersWhat is the best way to treat a pulled muscle?

Question

What is the best way to treat a pulled muscle?

I was running and I think I pulled my calf muscle. What's the best way to treat it? Heat? Cold? Neither?

Answer

It sounds like you may have a muscle strain. A strain is an injury to the muscle or tendon due to overuse or overstretch. Generally, this is characterized by pain at the area of injury, and muscle stiffness. Although this can happen to anyone, athletes and sports players develop muscle strains due to overuse injury. The main mode of therapy early on during the injury is resting and abstaining from activities that have caused the strain to happen in the first place. In addition, ice application is useful as well. Ice will reduce the swelling at the site by compressing the blood vessels. Furthermore, it is also advised to apply a compression dressing ( for example an Ace Wrap) also to reduce swelling. And finally, elevating the strained area is also a good idea. While over the counter non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs like Motrin may help with the pain, it is best to make an appointment with your primary doctor to have this examined so that you can treat it properly. Your doctor will be able to do a thorough exam after taking a history of your workout habits and provide guidance on how to avoid this in the future.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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