A calf strain is a pain that occurs in the calf muscle of the leg. This is the lower part of the leg and the pain is often the result of a torn or pulled calf muscle – hence where we get the name calf strain (sometimes called a calf pull). It occurs when part of the muscle of the lower leg (gastrocnemius or soleus) is torn away from the Achilles tendon which is also located in the lower leg.
Some Causes of Calf Strains:
This injury happens during acceleration or changes in direction. It can happen to anyone from the sports player on the field to the businesswoman walking to a meeting. A calf strain is similar to an Achilles tendon tear or rupture, but occurs higher up in the back of the leg. A sign of a calf strain is similar to that of an Achilles tendon rupture – you may think that you have just been hit in the leg and hear an audile ‘pop’ sound. This is then followed by a sudden pain at the back of the leg, swelling or bruising in the calf muscle and you will most likely have difficulty standing on the toes. The torn calf muscle may spasm and then contract forcefully.
It is very important to follow the R.I.C.E regime following a calf muscle injury, particularly in the first 24 hours, to limit the amount of inflammation and bruising in the calf muscle. It is vital to reduce swelling and inflammation following a calf strain and this is best achieved by following the R.I.C.E. method. This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation and should be completed in that order. As a calf strain heals, scar tissue will form within the muscle and this will lead to the muscle being prone to re-injury in the future. Physiotherapy treatment focuses on breaking down this scar formation, improving healing times and strengthening the muscle to prevent injury down the line.
What we can do for you:
While we show you how to complete the R.I.C.E. process correctly, we also treat your calf strain with physiotherapy treatment and massage therapy to target the muscle problem areas and promote the correct healing process. Depending on the case at hand, you legr may be taped so that your calf muscle can placed in a position that is more comfortable and easier for your foot to bear. When the pain gradually subsides after your treatment sessions, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises will be prescribed to you to help you leg return to normal function.