Calf injuries are one of the most common muscle injuries that we see in clinic and, a bit like ankle sprains, are often brushed off as inconsequential but with the right rehab, you can get back to normal faster and hugely decrease your risk of injury.
Luckily, Kayla from our Selwyn physio clinic in West Melton has given you a run-down:
Signs and Symptoms:
A sign of a torn calf muscle is similar to that of an Achilles tendon rupture. You may think you’ve just been hit in the leg and potentially hear a “pop.” There is sudden pain at the back of the calf. Then you’ll experience pain, swelling or bruising in the calf muscle, and you’ll have difficulty walking properly or standing on your toes.
How common are they?
Very common! 12% of all muscle strains are put down to strains to the Gastrocnemius so if you have a calf injury, you are definitely not alone.1
Your calf is made up of different, with the main two being:
Gastrocnemius – the larger calf muscle, made up of two heads
Soleus – a smaller muscle lying deeper in your calf
These two muscles merge and form your achilles tendon. The calf muscles, when contracted, make you point your toe, however, they are active when we are doing simple activities such as walking.
Calf muscles are commonly injured in sports and activities that involve sudden acceleration or change in direction (such as tennis, netball or skiing), however, they can also be injured just by tripping over your dog!
Calf muscle sprains are graded as below:
Grade 1 – mild strain – small tear
Grade 2 – moderate strain – partial tear
Grade 3 – severe strain – large or complete tear
**important – even a mild sprain means that you have small tears within your muscle and should not be overlooked!
If you do injure your calf, remember the POLICE principles first over the first 48-72 hours
P – protection – avoid painful activities
O.L – optimal loading – it helps to keep moving so begin gentle movements (as recommended by your health professional)
I – ice
C – compression
E – elevation
How can physio help?
Your physiotherapy can help guide you through the above POLICE process. We will then work with you to regain movement, flexibility and begin strengthening for a return to sport or work as soon as we believe you are ready to.
A huge part of the physiotherapy treatment is education/advice on how to reduce the risk of this injury happening again and the challenge of getting strength back to equal with the non-injured side.
Physiotherapy treatment is extremely important with calf injuries! Even those mild, small calf tears will benefit greatly from physiotherapy and early treatment is best!
Get onto your physiotherapy early to get the best results and be stronger for your return to sport