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Calf Injuries | Tip Top Wellbeing

The muscles of the calf, namely the Gastrocnemius and the Soleus extend the foot and raise the heel. The Gastrocnemius also helps to flex the knee.  Calf Injuries are common in sports that have explosive elements to them.

Causes

• Repeated explosive and pushing activities, for example, sprinting, jumping, weightlifting and sports like rugby.
• Too much too soon
• Not enough strength and flexibility for activity
• Imbalance of leg muscles

How?

An abrupt and forceful contraction of the Gastrocnemius, for example when accelerating.

How does it feel?

• If you pull your calf muscles you will feel aching, stiffness and swelling
• If you tear a muscle in your calf, you will hear a noise that sounds like the cracking of a whip. You may have a 1st 2nd or 3rd degree tear.

A medical professional will make a diagnosis based on a physical examination and/or MRI or Ultrasound.

Complications

• Injury to your calf should be taken seriously as blood clots can form in your leg.
• Change of gait will create injuries, tightness and imbalance elsewhere.

Treatment

• Rest Ice Compression and Elevation
• Seek medical advice
• For a rupture, possible surgery
• Physiotherapy to strengthen and stretch

When can I go back to sport?

• For a strain normally within 3 months
• For a tear up to 9 months following surgery.

How to avoid it

• Correct level of overload for your fitness level
• Recovery to allow the soft tissue to adapt
• Ensure you are training specifically for your sport.

At the risk of stating the obvious, work within your limits and increase intensity as your body adapts.

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