What is a calf muscle tear?
Calf muscle tears are an overload injury to the calf muscle at the back of the lower leg where the calf muscle is excessively strained during sporting activity. The injury can range in severity from a minor strain to a complete or partial tear in the muscle.
How do I know if I get one?
Symptoms can come on suddenly while exercising and can range in severity from a cramping sensation in the back of the calf with minor strains, right up to a sharp impact type pain, often described as ‘like being kicked in the back of the leg’ in the case of a partial or complete rupture.
You may find it difficult to walk without pain afterwards and may find it difficult or impossible to do a heel raise on the injured side. There my be swelling and bruising to the calf but not always.
It sounds like a showstopping injury! What can I do about it?
Although it is a nasty injury, muscle injuries tend to heal quite well with the correct approach, as muscles have quite a rich blood supply compared to tendons and ligaments. Initially resting, stretching, applying ice packs in the early stages and switching to low impact cross training that does not stress the calf. This can be a challenge as a lot of aerobic sporting activities do work the calf muscle and may be too painful. Anything more serious than
How can a Podiatrist help?
Podiatrists can help by fitting heel raises into the shoes to relieve tension in the calf, using manual therapy techniques such as massage, ultrasound, dry needling, and giving advice on rehabilitation exercises and cross training. As with any sports injury it is important to establish what may have cause the injury such as weakness, excessive training loads, poor biomechanics or running technique issues and develop strategies to reduce the risk of the same injury occurring again.
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