Calf Strains

With the Burnie 10 just around the corner, it is not unusual to sustain a calf injury in your training especially if you have increased your mileage too quickly or added some hills or introduced speed work.

Image result for calf strain picture Reference – purephysio.co.nz

The calf muscle complex consists of three muscles – the gastrocnemius (upper calf), the soleus (lower calf) and the plantaris (which is a vestigial muscle that may not be present in everyone).

With the calf muscle complex absorbing loads of 6-8x our own bodyweight during running, it is easy to understand why calf strains can occur with the strongest risk factors being advancing age and previous history of calf injury.

The literature suggests the most common calf strain affects the medial gastrocnemius commonly in the 4th – 6th decade with the mechanism of injury being a sudden onset from a forceful eccentric contraction with reports of a “pop” or a feeling of being hit on the calf, and presents with severe loss of function with walking and running.

A more recent radiological study (2018) of semi-professional and professional athletes suggests soleus strains are more common and often present as a slow progressive tightness and soreness of the lower calf with running but they may not limit walking.

So if you think you have experienced these symptoms the most appropriate initial treatment is RICER (rest, ice, compression, elevation and referral) including seeking advice from a health professional to maximise your recovery and prevent recurrence.

For the best advice if you have strained your calf, see one of our Physiotherapists in either Burnie or Somerset. Call our Burnie clinic today for appointment on 64314586.