Acute injury to the posterior compartment of the lower extremity can represent a diagnostic challenge. Medial gastrocnemius strain represents the most common injury of the posterior compartment of the lower extremity. Using musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSKUS) diagnostically helps the clinician in clinical reasoning, and clinical decision making, with regards to the gastrocnemius injury. MSKUS allows the incorporation of real-time imaging into the grading of injury and visual confirmation of physical examination findings and patient symptoms.
MSKUS proves a useful tool to assist the clinician in assessing the specific cause of the calf injury, estimating the severity of the injury, monitoring progress of healing, and managing the vast majority of these injuries without additional imaging. Furthermore, MSKUS can assist in excluding other differential diagnosis’ such as DVT. Monitoring tissue healing with serial ultrasound imaging may allow the clinician to more confidently assess the response of injury to treatment and to decide the timing of return to play of these athletes.
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