Calf injuries are a tear or strain to the muscle or tendon structure in either of the two calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus). Calf strains are very common in footballers and runners usually amongst older athletes. The calf is involved in plantarflexing the ankle (pointing toes downwards) and thus very important to jogging, sprinting and jumping. Gastrocnemius is involved in more explosive activities while soleus is involved at lower speeds over longer distances. Both gastrocnemius and soleus insert into the Achilles tendon.
The most significant risk factor for a calf strain is a previous history of a calf strain. Other associated risk factors include age, training overload, poor foot/lower limb mechanics and poor calf strength and endurance.
Calf injuries can vary from low to high grade. With low grade injuries you may not notice pain around your calf until after activity. With higher grade injuries there is usually an associated pop or pinching sensation. There will usually been pain with walking, stretch, loss of power and an inability or difficulty to hop, jump or run.
The most important factor in deciding on a treatment plan is making a correct diagnosis incorporating the specific location, size and mechanism of injury. This will allow for an effective plan to return to training and sport. At Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy, we are committed to providing an accurate diagnosis and beginning rehabilitation accordingly. We will focus on
Flexibility in the calf
Addressing lower limb muscle imbalances and biomechanics
Addressing foot mechanics
Optimal training programming
Returning to running / sport
Adverse neural tension
If you have a persistent calf injury it is extremely important to have your calf and lower limb biomechanics addressed to limit the risk of excessive scar tissue formation and re-aggravations.