Calf pain is a common occurrence caused by increased walking or in sports that include running, jumping, hopping and landing activities. Your calf muscle group essentially consists of two muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) that attach to your Achilles tendon. Calf injuries can occur to both muscle and tendon structures. They are commonly caused by excessive forces during explosive contraction, eccentric control loading or when your calf muscles fatigue.

There are several factors which can predispose patients to developing a calf strain. These need to be assessed and corrected with direction from a physiotherapist. Some of these factors include:

  • Poor calf flexibilitycond-sports
  • Inappropriate training
  • Poor biomechanics or foot posture
  • Inadequate warm up
  • Ankle joint stiffness
  • Calf weakness
  • Inadequate rehabilitation following a previous calf strain
  • Decreased fitness
  • Fatigue
  • Neural tightness

With accurate assessment and early treatment, most calf injuries respond extremely quickly to physiotherapy allowing you to quickly resume pain-free and normal activities of daily living.

Treatment may comprise:

  • Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation (R.I.C.E) principal
  • Electrotherapy (e.g. ultrasound)
  • The use of heel wedges or crutches
  • Achilles tendon taping
  • Calf taping
  • Stretches
  • Dry needling
  • Joint mobilisation
  • Exercises to improve strength, flexibility or balance
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Education
  • Activity modification advice
  • Biomechanical correction / orthotics
  • A gradual return to activity program

Physiotherapy for patients with a calf injury is vital to hasten the healing process, ensure an optimal outcome and minimise the likelihood of recurrence.