Physical therapy and calf strain

Physical therapy and calf strain

April 27, 2022

This is an injury where the muscles below your knee are most affected. It is usually caused by minor wear of muscle fibers. Usually, the bulk of the tissue is not affected.  Sometimes, however, in severe cases the muscle can be torn completely and the function of the muscle is lost. However this is rare.

Calf Strain Symptoms

A calf strain can be easily identified by feeling a sharp pain in the back of your leg when you try to stretch it or walk. Also, tenderness and swelling can be seen in the affected area. This is a very painful condition that can make it difficult to walk. There are three types of compromised strains depending on the severity of the damage.

Types of injuries

Grade I calf strain

There is very little to no pain and almost no disability in moving the leg.

Grade II calf strain

Moderate discomfort and pain. Walking can still be done with this condition, although running and jumping are restricted.

Grade III calf strain

There is significant discomfort, including swear pain that makes it nearly impossible to walk. Muscle spasms swelling and significant bleeding can also occur.

Anatomy of Calf Strains

The calf muscles run from your ankle to your knee, and the Achilles tendon links your calf muscles to you heel bone. Two major muscles make up the calf muscle:
  • Two-headed gastrocnemius muscles
  • The soleus muscle
Calf strain refers to a tear in one of these muscles. Most often, the injury is in the gastrocnemius (the inner side of our leg muscle). While fibers can be torn when muscles are stretched in any situation, it is possible for some fibers to tear and not the entire muscle to rupture.

Calf strain treatment


Take enough rest after an injury to speed up the healing process. Coordinate your activities around your pain. Avoid any activity that elevates your symptoms.

Stretching the calf muscles

It is okay to stretch the calf muscles gently, but not so much that it becomes painful. Excessive stretching can lead to more damage and slow down the healing process.

Ice the injury

Ice packs should be applied within 48 hours of injury. They can also be used after sports to reduce swelling.

Physical therapy

Your physical therapist will be able to assist you in your treatment and speed up your recovery. If your injury is grade 3, then your physical therapist will use ultrasound and proper hand massage.

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