Calf pain

Failure to warm-up properly can lead to calf strains. The calf muscles are used when taking off during a sprint, jumping, changing directions or standing up from a deep squat. These are usually explosive movements requiring forceful contractions of the calf muscles. Strains can result from incorrect foot positioning during activity or an eccentric contraction beyond the strength level of the muscle.

When taking off and changing direction the calf muscles are particularly vulnerable to tearing at their junction with the tendon. An eccentric contraction, a contraction while the muscle stretches such as when landing from a jump, can also cause a tear if the muscle is fatigued or not strong enough to bear the load placed on it.

Cause of injury

Forceful contraction of gastrocnemius or soleus. Forceful eccentric contraction. Improper foot position when pushing off or landing.

Signs and symptoms

Pain in the calf muscle, usually mid-calf. Pain when standing on tiptoes and sometimes pain when bending the knee. Swelling or bruising in the calf.

Complications if left unattended

Any strain left unattended can lead to a complete rupture. Te calf muscles are used when standing and walking so pain can become disabling. A limp or change in gait due to this injury could lead to injury in other areas.

Immediate treatment

RICER. Anti-inflammatory medication. Then heat and massage to promote blood flow and healing.

Rehabilitation and prevention

As the pain subsides, a programme of light stretching may help facilitate healing. When the pain has subsided, strengthening and stretching will help to prevent future injury. Proper warm-up before activities will help protect the muscle from tears. Strong, flexible muscles resist strains better and recover more quickly.

Long-term prognosis

Muscle strains, when treated properly with rest and therapy, seldom have lingering effects. In very rare cases where the muscle detaches completely, surgery may be required to re-attach the muscle.



There are many applications and benefits to sports and deep tissue massage. It can be used for:

  • stripping out tight muscles
  • loosening restricted joins
  • warming up and stimulating the body before a competition
  • improving recovery between training and competition
  • restoring energy when fatigued
  • treating strained muscles and strained ligaments
  • helping to keep minor injury from becoming a more serious problem
  • breaking up adhesions
  • releasing tight connective tissues
  • improving lymphatic circulation
  • increasing blood circulation
  • reducing swelling
  • toning muscles
  • muscle balancing
  • treating postural deviations
  • relieving pain
  • deactivating trigger points
  • treating orthopaedic and arthritic conditions
  • enhancing body awareness
  • reducing stress and anxiety
  • providing psychological boost
  • helping to keep the athlete in peak condition
  • improving performance generally
  • >injury prevention
  • general relaxation
  • increasing well-being

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