What is a Calf Tear?
A calf tear is a muscular condition where there is a pull in the muscle fibres of the muscle in the back of your lower leg. Often associated with pain and occasionally, may have bruising in the calf. They’re typically graded in a 1, 2, 3 grading system with 1 having pain but able to still generate good force. Grade 2 presents with a reduction in force production and pain and grade 3 is a full tear and very uncommon in the calf muscle belly, but can happen in the achilles tendon attaching to the heel.
Who and How we Diagnose Calf Tear?
A calf tear is typically verified by ultrasound, however these are often unnecessary as they can be diagnosed through symptoms and the mechanism of injury.
They can happen at almost any age, however, are more likely in the sporting population, particularly as we get older. Returning to sport after a period of inactivity can also put you at greater risk.
Calf Tear Treatments
Unfortunately, a period off sport is usually required, depending on the severity, could range from one week, to a few months. A graded return to running is started as soon as able.
In the early stage, massage or other soft tissue work may be used to help with swelling and or pain, however early loading to the calf is often used to facilitate cell growth and repair. The load is only equal to what you can handle. As time goes on, we increase the load to increase the strength in the calf complex allowing it to handle greater forces, particularly as we commence training for speed and explosivity.
Throughout the rehab process we would also look at the rest of the lower limbs to see why was the calf a point of failure, was it doing too much, as somewhere else wasn’t pulling it’s weight, or perhaps it didn’t have enough recovery time between bouts of activity. If this is the case then we guide you through return to training and sport to ensure a safe return to activity.