Following on from our Blog about stretching out the calf, lets learn about a common injury to the calf, the Calf Strain!
The calf muscle is the muscle in the back of your lower leg and consists of a group of muscles. The most common muscle known is the Gastrocnemius (Gastroc) and the other muscle is the Soleus muscle. Both of these muscles attach on the base of your heel by the thick tendon known as the achilles tendon.
How is a Calf injured?
The most common muscle to be injured is the inside (medial) part of the gastrocnemius. Acute calf strains often occur in middle-aged sports people, particularly those who play racquet sports. It often occurs during sudden, explosive movements such as stretching to play a ball in squash or tennis. You can also be “corked” in the calf from direct contact. Examples of obtaining a ‘corky’ is having an opposition player’s knee hit the back of your calf or contact from sporting equipment (such as a hockey stick).
Depending on the extent of the injury can depend on how much pain you experience. Similar to ankle sprains, calf injuries can range from;
A mild strain, where you may experience pain and tenderness in the back of your thigh
A moderate strain, will be more tender and painful, with associated bruising and or swelling present
The most severe strain, you may feel or hear a pop, with intense sharp stabbing pain where you can’t weight bear. There will be a lot of swelling and bruising present, where the bruising may cover the back of your calf.
What Causes it?
There are many risk factors, which increases the chance of these injuries occurring including ageing, past history of calf injuries, sudden change of direction, poor strength and flexibility through your ankle and/or hip joints and no/inadequate warm up.
What should you do?
Initially, you should follow the acute injury protocol RICE principle;
The aim of this to reduce the pain and swelling around the affected tissues. A proper history and assessment is required to confirm the diagnosis and determine the most appropriate treatment for the severity of the injury. Manual therapy treatment and rehabilitation exercises can assist in relieving pain, restoring function and decreasing the likelihood of reoccurrence.
Do you have calf pain or a history of reoccurring calf strains?
Contact the clinic today to make an appointment with one of our friendly Osteopaths or Remedial Massage Therapist for an assessment.