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Calf injury

What is the calf muscle?

The calf muscle is comprised of the Gastrocnemius, the Solues  forms together to form the  Achilles tendon as it inserts into the heel bone

The most common injury to a calf is a strain.


Calf strains range from grade 1 to grade 3

  1. Grade 1 (mild) – a small number of muscle fibres are torn resulting in some pain, but allowing full function

  2. Grade 2 (moderate) – a significant number of muscle fibres are torn with moderate loss of function

  3. Grade 3 (severe)– all muscle fibres are ruptured resulting in major loss of function - A Test called Thompson test can help diagnose this


How is the calf injured?

  • Calf strains commonly occur due to a sudden contraction of the calf muscle. 

  • This frequently occurs with an attempt to accelerate from a stationary position, when jumping or lunging. 

  • Occasionally they occur due to gradual fatigue with overuse. 


Signs and Symptoms

  • The most common place to incur this injury is at the muscular tendinous junction roughly halfway between the knee and heel.

  • A sudden sharp pain or pulling sensation in the calf muscle can be felt at the time of injury. In minor strains, pain may be minimal allowing for continued activity. In more severe cases, patients may experience severe pain, muscle spasm, weakness, and the inability to continue activity.  

  • A severe calf strain may result in the inability to walk without a limp or weight bear correctly on the affected leg.  Swelling, tenderness and bruising may also be present. In cases of a grade 3 tear a visible deformity in the muscle may be evident.

Prevention is better than cure!

  • Strength is key: Keeping calf muscles strong so they can absorb the energy of sudden physical stress

  • Warm up before physical exercise: You must increase the core temperature of your body to reduce injury risk. Also Dynamic stretching of calf muscles before physical activity, i.e. calf rises.

  • Technique of movement is key and can reduce damaging forces from overuse. Practicing proper technique for exercise and sporting activities

  • Do not go from zero to hero: Gradually increasing the intensity and duration of training

  • Recovery from exercise is key: If you warm up you should warm down.Allowing adequate recovery time between workouts and or training sessions.

  • Footwear is improtportant: Wearing correctly fitted footwear.

Acute Management Advice


  • No HARM: no heat, alcohol, running or activity, and no massagein the first instance. This will help ensure decreased bleeding and swelling in the injured area.

Global Rehabilitation Network

  • We provide a complete program of 12 consecutive weeks of instructions on how to conservatively manage this injury

  • We provide a global network of therapists that can chat remotely via our Telehealth services to guide you through the process week by week for minimal cost.

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