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Calf strain

What is calf strain?

Calf strain is a tear of one of the muscles which make up the calf muscles group at the back of your lower leg.

The most common type of calf strain is the medial part of gastrocnemius muscle, also referred as "Tennis leg" because is very common among tennis players.

A very common point that it gets injured is where the muscle joins the achilles tendon and this is in the last third of your calf muscle.

What is the calf muscle?

The calf muscles group consists of gastrocnemius and soleus muscle and it's in the back of your lower leg behind your shin bone.

Those muscles help you to move your foot down (flexion of the talocrural joint and plantar flexion of the foot) and also help you to bend your knee (flexion of the knee joint).

The calf muscle supports you when you stand and enables you to move your foot and your lower leg. It propels you forward when you walk or run and and it also allows you to jump.

Types of calf strains:

  • Grade I calf strain:

The muscle fibres are not torn but they have been overstretched and irritated. This type of strain is also referred as a "pulled muscle". This kind of strain its not severe and there is no significant loss of strength or mobility. The muscle fibres that they are affected from a grade I muscle strain is less than 5%. RECOVERY TIME: 3-5 weeks

  • Grade II calf strain:

More extensive damage with more muscle fibres (around 50%) involved in grade II calf strain. The muscle fibres have partially torn and grade II calf strain is considered a moderate strain. The pain it might be acute accompanied by swelling and minor decrease of calf strength. RECOVERY TIME: 6-8 weeks

  • Grade III calf strain:

The calf muscle in a grade III strain may be completely ruptured. That means either the tendon is separated from the muscles or the belly of the muscle is actually torn in 2 different parts. This is a severe injury and it can cause severe pain, a lot of swelling and loss of motion and strength. RECOVERY TIME: Depends on the type of surgery that you receive and it could take anywhere from 6-9 months and sometimes even longer.

What causes calf strain?

A muscle strain happens when a muscle can not cope anymore with the forcing demands that placed on them and that leads to tearing of the muscle fibres. This can happen due to:

  • Lifting something heavy - like lifting dumbbells in the gym

  • Poor mechanics of your body or in the affected area

  • Repetitive movements for long period of time / fatigue - Like painting walls all day long

  • Heavy blow to your muscle - contact sports

  • Poor flexibility

  • Poor conditioning

  • Not warming up enough and properly before a physical activity

  • Overextending or overstretching a muscle too much (too far) and fast - Like sprinting or catching a falling child

  • Exerting yourself much harder than you usually do

What are the symptoms of calf strain

Muscle strain symptoms vary depending on how severe your injury is, but may include:

  • Intense pain on the actual strained area or it can radiate to the surrounding region of your muscle

  • Swelling

  • Tenderness when you touch the injured muscle

  • Weakness

  • Reduced range of movement

  • Bruising

  • Difficulty moving the muscle like you usually can

Treatment for a calf strain

At Physio Pattern Manchester we are specialised in assessing and treating people with a calf strain injury.

At Physio Pattern Manchester we will do a thorough assessment in order to find the real cause of your calf strain. A treatment plan will be developed to ensure a speedy recovery with long term results and no recurrence. An Individualised exercise program will be prescribed to you as well.

Physio Pattern Manchester is going to use some of the modalities below as assessment and treatment tools (click on the links below for more information).

If you would like more information of how Physio Pattern Manchester can help with this condition, or to book an assessment please call


Leading Physiotherapy Provider in Manchester. Calf Strain treatment in Manchester, Physiotherapy Treatment in Manchester city centre, Northern Quarter, Ancoats.Physio Manchester, Manchester Physio, Physio Manchester City Centre, Physiotherapy clinic in Manchester


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