Monday, 12 October 2009

Gastrocnemius tear and tips!

Well, it has nearly been six weeks, and I thought I would share a few things I have learned since tearing my gastrocnemius. The first lesson was knowing I actually had a gastrocnemius, realising it was in my leg rather than a word to describe someone who enjoys their food, or a posh way of saying you have been on the loo more than usual!

If you are reading this because you have torn your gastrocnemius muscle then you are obviously sporty! As this usually occurs during sporting activities! (you can't injure yourself while sitting on the sofa!) Although government guidelines state you should participate in 30 minutes exercise a day, most hospital casualty departments are filled with people with sporting injuries, so you decide!

I could go into some brilliant description about tears, first aid advice etc, however, there is a brilliant website dedicated to the medical stuff, and from my little diagram, you will realise that I am not really an expert scientist! Anyway this blog article is really support to help someone who is looking for advice once they have their diagnosis!

This picture / sketch is supposed to be the inside of your leg, showing the muscles and more importantly the gastrocnemius! If your leg actually looks like this then seek medical advice immediately! As there is something seriously wrong with you!

How I found my Gastrocnemius

I was dancing, well technically I was actually walking, when I felt a sensation similar to an elastic band pinging on the back of my leg, followed by the most awful cramp I have ever experienced! Now my first real piece of advice to you is not to do what I did immediately afterwards. I had just asked someone to dance, a rather fast rock and roll dance and my gastrocnemius chose the moment I was walking onto the dance floor with this young man. (he was rather good looking but that is another matter!) The fact was I did not know him well enough to turn round and walk off, or to explain that I had hurt myself. So, I actually danced, well rather hopped through the dance while leaving my foot firmly on the floor. It must have been the worse dance in the world, but the man (obviously a very polite gentleman) asked me for another . I declined and slowly, trying stupidly not to limp and pretending everything was fine (Embarrassment can be a dangerous thing!), I struggled off the dance floor. Reaching my long suffering partner, I told him I had hurt myself and scuppered his chances of actually enjoying the pint he had to his lips, explaining, in what was to be quite an understatement, that I thought I might not be able to drive home. The understatement became apparent when we got outside and I admitted it was actually agony to walk! I managed to hop, using C's shoulder for balance all the way to the car! I got to bed, by going up the stairs on my bum, hoping that all would be well in the morning after a dose of the strongest painkillers in the house! Sadly, we found ourselves among the footballers and pub brawlers the next morning at the casualty department! That is when I discovered I had a second degree tear on my gastrocnemius! And luckily for me I had not ruptured it, or the Achilles tendon! So we returned, armed with crutches, a sick note and some small round tablets called co-drydamol.

So now you know how I met my gastrocnemius, I would be interested to hear your stories!

Actual Advice

Well, that was six weeks ago, I am still on the sofa, (sorry to disappoint you it can take up to eight weeks!) hereare my tips for anyone surfing looking to benefit from someone else's experience (mistakes), while recovering from a tear in their gastocnemius!


When they tell you to rest your leg, that actually means sitting on the sofa with your feet at roughly the same level as your hips. It does not mean you can climb stairs, do housework or stand up to cook a meal, try and feed chickens or bake cakes, it actually means REST. This may be the only time in your life when you can justifiably leave the housework! Horay!

Rescue and old bag!

It is a good idea to carry a bag around with you, as your crutches tend to take up both your hands! (this does not work with a cup of tea!) It is also advisable, (sadly it took me several days to realise this) to bring all objects down with you when you come down the stairs in the morning! (glasses, books, etc! Are best brought down together rather than one at a time when you remember!) This of course won't be a problem if you live in a flat!

Billy don't be a hero!

Or heroine! Call all your friends, get as much sympathy as you possibly can! After a couple of days you will find you are drifting into a world of Jeremy Kyle and GMTV, the four walls will be closing in on you and your brain will turn to mush! You will need your friends to keep your sanity! It is difficult, I know, to ask for help, but remember how good it feels to actually help someone? Don't deny your friends the chance to feel good!

Take pride in your appearance

You might be a little more sternly built than I am, but after a week or so, you may find you are wearing soft stretchy sportswear, comfy clothes that are the equivalent of pyjamas, or they are actually pyjamas! This is not good for your self esteem, with no work to dress up for, you may find you haven't worn make-up for weeks, (or if you are guy, you might consider growing a beard!) Take a firm hold of yourself, and pick at least one day a week when you are dressed, spruced up and ready to go! Even if it is another day on the sofa with loose women.

Seize the day!

You can take advantage of services for the disabled even though it is only temporary! (sadly not a blue badge!) but enjoy parking in the disabled bays at your local supermarket! Watch as people wait and spy on you to see if you really are disabled! Then get out your crutches and go for it! Some supermarkets actually have electric wheelchairs! Go on, you have been dying to try them. There is a great organisation called SHOP MOBILITY, They usually operate in most towns and they actually let you borrow an electric wheelchair or a mobility scooter! Yipee, this is fun! They will also stamp your parking so you park for free! However, be warned, shops, lifts and people are really hard to negotiate! Fortunately the shop mobility people cover you for insurance!

You will encounter two distinct groups of people as you make your way around the shops, hostile and friendly!

Hostile people will swear at you, walk directly in your path and then shout at you if you narrowly avoid hitting them by performing an emergency stop procedure. People will hit you with their handbags, as your head is now at just the right height. There will be hostile stares as they try to work out why you are in a wheelchair and not dribbling!

Kind people smile at you! They will press the floor numbers on the lift and risk white finger by holding the door open button while it takes you ten minutes to reverse out without hitting the side doors! They help pick things up when you have knocked them off shelves and still smile at you! (perfuse apologies are a really good idea at this point, don't lean out of the chair, as you could actually fall out of it with the chair on top of you!)

Manage your pain

Although they give you really strong painkillers, take as many as you need to help with the pain. Even though you can have six co-drydamol a day, you can actually lose days or even weeks if you do this! (I lost a whole day and I only took half the recommended dose!) I might be going against medical advice, and I am not advising this for anyone here. I am an ants in the pants sort of person, when I took the painkillers, during the five minutes I was not comatose, I did stupid things, like walking in the garden etc! I think pain is actually my body's way of telling me to sit on the sofa and be nice to gastrocnemius. So just because I preferred to be awake, I did not take the painkillers all the time. As I was in some discomfort I did not feel up to chasing the chickens or mopping the floor!

Keep busy! (A blog challenge!)

You will be aware of many things you are no longer able to do, while you are resting and being really kind to your gastrocnemius! I have started a little list of suggestions, but I am opening up to you guys to come up with some ideas of your own!

1. Complete a crossword, Sudoku or even a whole puzzle book

2. Write a blog

3. Write a book

4. Learn to crochet,

5. Meditate

6. Plan a holiday for when you are fit and well again

7. Shop on line and get it delivered to your door

8. Write a letter, (or thank you cards for your friends)

9. Read a book (this site is a great way to buy books cheaply and save the planet!)

10. Come up with your own ideas and post them here!

11. Tell me how you got to know your gastrocnemius and post it here!

12. Take out the whole series of Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives or lost (it might make sense if you watch it all together!)

Well, that is about all for now, take care of yourself, more importantly, be kind to your gastrocnemius!


  1. Oh and i forgot to say, well done for getting to the end of this blog, and thank you for reading!

  2. this blog post is useful if you have torn a calf muscle or sprained a ligament.

    I also realise why I did not find much info as i misspelt gastrocnemis, calling it gastronemis!

  3. Ooooh that sounds really painful :( It sounds like you're having a rotten time :(

    I could relate to a lot of the things you wrote about in your post, especially the bit about the PJs!!! Luckily for me (!), my pain is in my shoulder to I can still move about easily enough, I just can't drive, which when you live 6 miles from the nearest town and 3 miles from the nearest shop is a bit of a nuisance! We only moved here 5 months ago and are 60 miles from family so I've been a bit bored to be honest!

    I've been prescribed co-drydomol in the past and they send me a bit loopy. This time I've been prescribed solpodol which just make me really sleepy and dopey but dull the pain (my OH asked how could I tell, cheeky so and so!) My shoulder had a bit of extra bone growing in it, which rubs against the muscles (causing the pain). I had an op 18 months ago to remove the bone but it's happened again :( I'm at the hospital again today to see the consultant so should know more later....

    I'm so glad to hear you've ordered the Stonewylde books, I really love them even though they're not the sort of books I'd usually read. Kit Berry has an online community too: - you should pop along and say hi, everyone there is really lovely :)

    Hope you're soon feeling better and are up and about :) Take care, Gemma xxx

  4. Hi, thanks for your well wishes earlier today :) I'm back from the hospital and I've blogged about it, but the upshot is that I need another operation. I'm not very happy about it, but it has to be done, otherwise I'll be stuck with this pain :(

    Hope you get on better than I did at the doctor's tomorrow :) xxx

  5. Twilight hahaha - already addicted! LOVE these books :) It sounds like we must have quite similar tastes in books :) Have you seen the Twilight film? Even my OH enjoyed that one and and he's not really one for "teen" movies :)

    I love anything vampires / witchy, always have from being a kid, starting with the Worst Witch books, then the Granny Weatherwax Terry Pratchett books and moving onto the Vampire and Witch Chronicles by Anne Rice :) I'm always on the look out for a new series of books to get my teeth into (lol) and have been recommended the Anita Blake books too. I also love anything about the Arthurian legends and mythology. I think it goes back to being in school where we were taught about all the old myths and legends :)

    I also have a ridiculously high "to be read" list with allsorts on it. I might put the list on my blog so it motivates me to get through them before I buy new books...I took over 90 books to the second hand store the other week so I have a few gaps on my book cases at the moment... :) Probably not for too long though! ;)

    Take care,

  6. Hi Gem
    I have a huge to read pile too! In order to stop me shrinking the house further with my books I usually send them to Green Metropolis, it is really easy and you can get money back for them.

    I pick up the book you recommended tomorrow can't wait!

  7. hi spicyapplepie
    I too have torn my gastrocnemius and have been in a cast for three weeks. it is really to keep me from doing too much. This is the third week now and I am going back to work nexdt week. I had an appointment to see an ortho which due to unforseen circumstances they decided to postpone. Not happy jan.Anyway it is more frustrating for the kids as I can;t drive anywhere and we have to rely on friends and family to get us from a-b. Thankfully because I did the right treament ice rest elevation and compression The healing process is working. Also gentle massage and a product called Zen. which is like a linament rub. have made things more bearable and I can actully walk today without too much pain. This is the second time I have done this. left leg early in the year and ended up with dvts and now the right leg. You would think I would learn . Any way hope your progress to a better calf is getting there and make sure you do the stretches the physios give you.As if you don;t you shorten the tendon and risk rupture to the achilles.Thanks for the chat

  8. I LOVED your blog about your calf tear! I am currently on week 5 of my gastroc tear and am getting so incredibly bored and frustrated. I'm glad I found your blog so I could laugh and realize others have been through this same ordeal. Cheers to you dahling!


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