Calf pain is usually caused by a calf strain or calf muscle tear. It is a common injury to the muscles at the back of your lower leg. Calf pain is often treated by our Sydney CBD Chiropractor.
Reasons for calf pain can range from a partial tear whereby there is minimal pain or loss of function, to a complete rupture which may require surgical correction.
Our Sports Chiropractor may use several treatment methods for patients with calf pain, which are vital to the healing process and reduce the likelihood of recurrence.
Calf Muscle Strain Treatment may comprise –
- soft tissue massage
- anti-inflammatory advice
- stretches and joint mobilization
- ice or heat treatment
- exercises to improve strength, flexibility or balance
- advice on suitable exercise
- bio mechanical correction of the pelvis, low back and feet
- prescription of custom orthotics and footwear advice
- creation of a return to activity plan
With appropriate management, patients with a minor calf muscle strain can usually recover in two to four weeks. A more severe calf muscle strain may take four to six weeks or longer for recovery. Where a complete rupture of the calf muscle has occurred, surgery may be required followed by intensive rehabilitation. Return to sport or activity may take six months or longer.
Early calf muscle strain treatment is essential.
Causes of Calf muscle strain
A major factor that can cause calf strains is a pelvic imbalance which then alters the function of the surrounding joints, ligaments and muscles of the lower limb. A calf muscle strain most commonly occurs due to a sudden use of the muscle. For example when a person attempts quick acceleration from a stationary position, or when lunging forwards such as while playing tennis. It is also commonly seen in running sports such as football and athletics, and may also frequently occur due to gradual wear and tear associated with overuse. This may be due to activities such as distance running, repetitive jumping or walking excessively (especially up hills or on uneven surfaces).
Patients usually feel a sudden sharp pain or pulling sensation in the calf muscle at the time of injury, and may occasionally experience stiffness in the calf muscle in the lead up to their injury.
The pain in the calf that may increase during activities such as walking, going up and down stairs, running, jumping, hopping, or standing on the toes. Swelling, tenderness and bruising are often present in the calf muscle in patients with a calf strain. In severe cases, patients may be unable to weight bear or may walk with a limp.
A thorough examination by our Chiropractor is usually sufficient to diagnose a calf muscle strain. Further investigations such as an MRI scan or Ultrasound may be required, in rare cases, to confirm diagnosis.
Most patients with a calf muscle strain heal very well with appropriate Chiropractic treatments. The success of treatment is largely related by patient compliance, which may include the patient resting sufficiently from any activity that increases their pain until they are symptom free. Once pain free, a gradual return to activities is indicated provided there is no increase in symptoms.
Ignoring symptoms or adopting a ‘no pain, no gain’ attitude is likely to lead to the condition becoming chronic. Once chronic, healing slows markedly leading to increased recovery times.
A gradual flexibility and strength program provided our Sydney Sports Chiropractor is essential for reconditioning and reducing the recurrence of the calf muscle strain injury.
For patients who wish to return to running, a graduated return to running program is essential in the final stages of rehabilitation to recondition the calf muscle for running in a safe and effective manner.