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Calf tear - how long before can ski (gently)...

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
So 2 weeks ago I tore my left calf muscle when skiing in France. Sad

Returned to UK - first week was in an airboot and crutches, now walking with slight limp. Considering the pain and inability to put pressure on in first week I am astounded how recovery has progressed...

Have had ultasound scan and seen an orthopaedic lower limb specialist. Diagnosed a (quite bad) Grade B tear. Start physio on Monday.

My question is how soon can one start skiing (gently). I have a family trip to Tignes at the start of April (6 weeks time) and was wondering if I will be able to ski by then?

Doctor says I won't be able to ski again this season but would like to hear other people's experiences?

Thanks.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Ask the physio
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Similar injury and similar holiday plans. I managed to ski in 5 1/2 weeks. Waited until the last moment to confirm a booking.
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6 weeks from Jan to March ski trip when I did the same a good few years ago.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
3 months on phyios advice when I did similar.
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Takes a while, did mine a while back and recall it was about a month or so, it seems like it's good, then you go and pull it again....
Like pam w says, ask your physic and be guided by them
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Snap, (no pun) it will be 6 weeks min if grade b, best thing you can do is the excesses the physio advises other wise if will go again, don't fall into thinking it is alright in normal day to day things, I though mine was alright, then I ran over the road & "pop"
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I had a sports physio, who used to massage the calf and it used to feel like he was digging his thumb in the tear. Absolute agony, he explained this was so the muscle fibres repair in line with the non damaged fibres, he explained that otherwise the fibres could repair in opposite directions, thus making a future tear more likely, all I can say is I haven't had a problem since, and was skiing after 6 weeks. Good luck.
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The doctor in Tignes medical centre told me that my grade B tear of the gastrocnemius would take six weeks to heal. He was right to the day. Not sure I would have wanted to ski on it right then but I probably could have done if the need arose. Like you I experienced rapid healing in the first week but that slowed sharply.

Stick with the physio. I could not afford it at the time I did mine and I now have what looks like butt cleavage up the back of my right calf.
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I had exactly the same experience as @Timbobaggins, with a 15mm grade B tear. I was skiing after 5 weeks, but did all the drills the physio told me, as well as having the eye-watering sports massage once a week. A friend who didn't do physio or exercises now has reduced mobility.
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It depends which muscle you tore.

Did the central one of mine in the calf a few years ago (I think there's three main muscles in there) and I skied two days later.

I am nails though wink
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
6 weeks absolute minimum, more like 8.

I did mine 2 years ago, just over 5 weeks before I had to sit 4 weeks of instructor exams, including a lot of park/freestyle snowboarding(!). Given that I wouldn't get any of the large amount of money paid-out back, I went anyway. It was agony and I was constantly at risk of making it worse. I got away with it, but I really, really wouldn't recommend it.

At least twice, I thought I'd re-injured it, both times I got away with it and it actually felt like I'd done some accidental physio / stretching of the scar tissue!

I strained my achilles at the same time as the original injury (almost inevitable). The calf injury was much more acute (i.e. it hurt like hell and stoppped me walking) but the achilles took longer to heal and still feels vulnerable, although it might be all in my head.
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@Timbobaggins, my physio was a young 5 foot slim girl but boy could she inflict pain! She certainly knew what she was doing as it is completely fine now but I can see how reduced mobility can be resulted in without proper treatment
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Thanks all.

First physio session on Monday with a Ozzie guy who has done a lot of work with pro-rugby players. It will be exactly 6 weeks before my (scheduled) trip to Tignes and 2 1/2 weeks since tear.

I will do all exercises as instructed and can see physio once or twice a week if necessary. Will seeing physio more often improve prognosis and speed of recovery or is it a once a week job with intervening periods for body to repair? I am expecting it to be painful!

Also, I presume that if I ski gently on reds and blues in Tignes the risks of re-tearing are less than bombing around off piste (and I wonder how I got into this pickle!)

I will of course take medical/physios advice but I am wondering if I should cancel holiday now (so claim on insurance and rebook somewhere boring like Mauritius for start April) or if I should hold out and take my chances... Difficult to call I know!
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Your physio will probably recommend massage and ultrasound treatment. Massage is pretty uncomfortable but does help. After a few weeks (I cant remember how many) my physio advised riding a bike for increasing periods of time as a very good exercise to progressively strengthen the muscle. I tore mine during the last skiing of the season so there was no issue around how soon to start skiing again. I would recommend twice weekly sessions with the physio if you want to get the best result. As you say take medical/physio advice and then make a decision whether skiing or a holiday in the sun with some gentle swimming in war water will be the best choice! Let us know.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Grade b is fairly bad!

a bit of pool work may help it but dont over do it you could slow things down that way
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Dont be surprised if the leg which had the tear is always a bit tight when you get up in the morning in the future. A quick stretch will get it going!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I tore mine mildly on the penultimate day of a ski trip once. Simply switched to snowboarding the last day (well it was a powder day). I couldn't walk but I could ride.

If I was to guess I'd say you can probably push through at 8 weeks (& I'm sure pro skiers do) but you won't find a medical pro willing to advise it.
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I wouldnt push it as it could make things worse.. even if it is ownly a slight injury.
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I did mine three years ago in January: at the time it felt like I'd been shot in the leg. Walking was excruciatingly painful at the time, and for some time after (it wasn't helped by the fact that I suffered the injury in the US, taking a few days prior to a business trip that required me to be able to get around a large conference venue, and to drag a substantial amount of luggage around several airport terminals). After an assessment, with constant icing and compression, followed by gentle progressive stretching and then by more demanding rehab (cycling (exercise bike) was excellent) it was fine again in March for two weeks pretty aggressive skiing in Whistler.

Like @FFIRMIN says, I still feel some tightness in it even now, but it works just fine.

Obviously, everyone's circumstances - and injuries - are different. However, I'd point out that I was 61 at the time (but I am VERY proactive when it comes to injury rehab), and as we get older we don't recover quite so easily, so if you're a lot younger than I am, then you've a good chance of a rapid recovery.
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When I did mine it took 6 weeks to heal, and the only exercise I could do was swimming. The bruising in my foot was quite spectacular.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
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Just done mine! Great! And the weather outside is perfect!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Tore mine on the penultimate day too, in Canada. Drove to Castle for the last day/stop and wasnt going to ski - but 12" of powder changed that idea Toofy Grin Taped it up and squeezed into my boots. Walking wasn't good, skiing was better, just. Great day though.

As others have said, can be a bit tight now at times but still works, so no problem.

SWMBO tore hers some years ago, managed to ski back to the medical centre, but that was it. She took the last week off - but was walking by the end of it with a limp. Totally recovered now.

Understandably we are all different and similar injuries aren't the same for folks, go with how you feel and professional advice given obviously.
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I did mine falling over the edge in the Back Corries at Nevis one February (long story involving a bit of fog and general confusion). Found skis and jumped back in a few times. Leg / ankle horribly swollen. Took paracetamol / brufen, drove back to Liverpool.

Could not see the point in going to dr / physio. I'd like to know if there is any evidence at all for ultrasound or if there is how much difference it makes.

Leg healed, went skiing soon after- April- oddly leg better in ski (telemark boot).

Small tear again in same place when running a year or so later.

Moral of story- do not fall off edge of Back Corrie- you will hurt yourself.
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1556garyt wrote:
So 2 weeks ago I tore my left calf muscle when skiing in France. Sad

Returned to UK - first week was in an airboot and crutches, now walking with slight limp. Considering the pain and inability to put pressure on in first week I am astounded how recovery has progressed...

Have had ultasound scan and seen an orthopaedic lower limb specialist. Diagnosed a (quite bad) Grade B tear. Start physio on Monday.

My question is how soon can one start skiing (gently). I have a family trip to Tignes at the start of April (6 weeks time) and was wondering if I will be able to ski by then?

Doctor says I won't be able to ski again this season but would like to hear other people's experiences?

Thanks.

If not to severe- 3-6 weeks but if more significant longer. Fully rehabbing it is crucial as calf tears frequently break down again if incompletely rehabbed - so listen to your physio.
Jonathan Bell
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I seem to have pulled/torn a calf muscle but not sure how severe !
I felt it pull in a tumble , shot of pain .
I skied the last bit gingerly and managed to walk back to the chalet .
There is no outward sign of damage , bruising or swelling but is quite painful if I push into the muscle. I can walk with a limp but tying to keep my foot flat to avoid pulling on the muscle . I’m in no discomfort when resting and no taken any pain killers .
Hoping this is a minor thing that will soon be ok , accept Im going to miss the last 2 days now but I’m booked to go again in 4 weeks
Any prognosis from the SH medical team !
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@scarbski, Did mine in early January. It gets worse before it gets better, and I started worrying that I’d done something more serious, like the Achilles or even a blood clot. However then it suddenly started to feel better, and J was skiing again (gingerly) after about three weeks. Relieved as I feared that it might take much longer. Obviously no two calf tears will be exactly the same. Rest, elevation and gentle exercise.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@tatmanstours,
Thanks for the feedback.
I have actually just got back from the La Tania medical centre . I thought best get checked out.
Doc gave me a thorough check up , knees down on both legs , he seems sure it is only a small tear and should heal ok in a few weeks to be fit for my next trip in March. (And relieved me of 50e)
Advised to keep stretching to stretch out the new fibres , improves the elasticity of the repair apparently.
I’ll see a physio on my return to check what I need to be doing .
I’ve also turned the Din on my bindings down by half a point !
Fingers crossed I’ve got away lightly!
Wishing all speedy recovery’s . Dave .
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@scarbski, sorry to hear. Calf strains are a curse and you'd be amazed how much work your calves do with any kind of skiing. Unfortunately you seem to have significant enough injury if you're limping. Your timeline is very tight. T probably needs 6 full weeks. Problem is if you pull it again now you're looking at months
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Oh heck , maybe I’m being optimistic then . At least I’ve got a doctors report if worst scenario and I have to pull out of next trip . Maybe give ins heads up.
I did have a steady ski yesterday and survived landing in storm Ciara , as long as I haven’t caught corona I guess it could be worse Very Happy
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@scarbski, you should tell your insurance anyway otherwise you won't be covered. But if you booked before the injury they will possibly say you are covered but maybe with an extra premium. They might also ask if you are cleared to ski.
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