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Calf tear

What is calf tear?

A calf tear occurs when the calf muscle is pulled or stretched too far and the muscle fibres tear away from the tendon.

What are the symptoms of a calf tear?

The first symptom is usually tightness or a sudden sharp pain in the muscle.  The pain is felt more when standing on your toes, as this stretches the calf muscle.  Swelling and tenderness when touched may develop, and can be too sore to stand on.  Calf tears are graded from grade 1 to grade 3 and the symptoms will vary depending on the severity of the tear:

Grade 1 - you will have damaged or torn a few fibres in the muscle.  Often you will be able to continue with what you were doing, but you may notice tightness and an increase in pain over the next few days.
Grade 2 - more fibres in the muscle have been torn.  You will feel a sudden sharp pain in your calf and you may develop swelling or bruising. 
Grade 3 - this is the most severe type of calf tear and the muscle will have ruptured, meaning that all or most of the muscle fibres have been torn.  You will feel a stabbing pain and it is extremely painful to walk.  There is often a bulge of muscle tissue where it has been injured and there is usually bruising and swelling.  In some cases, surgery is necessary and a rehabilitation program will help you recover.

Why does it happen?

A calf strain often occurs when you move your calf suddenly or in an unusual direction.  They are common in sports such as tennis because there are sudden sideways movements and lunging from standing.  They can sometimes happen after repetitive stresses or if your muscles have not been warmed up properly before exercise.

Self-help measures for a calf tear

  • Apply ice (never heat)
  • Do not stretch your calf if you think you have a tear - it can make it worse
  • After 24 hours, you can gently move your foot back and forth to try and re-orientate the scar bundle to help the tear to heal without causing future issues

What can The StoneHouse Clinic do for your calf tear?

If the self-help measures are not having any or a lasting effect, we can help the healing process so your return to pain-free activity is much quicker, and also advise you on a bespoke rehabilitation plan to help prevent the injury from re-occurring.  The treatment and advice will be completely bespoke and individual to your needs and what has caused the tendonitis.  Treatment may include:

- specific massage techniques 
- specific mobilisation techniques
- taping
- a comprehensive program to allow the tear to heal without causing future issues and to get you back to activity or, if appropriate, sport
- acupuncture once the tear is at a sufficient stage of recovery

If you are suffering with a calf tear and would like to book an appointment at The StoneHouse Clinic (located at Hartham Park, Corsham, Wiltshire near Chippenham and Bath) for Physiotherapy treatment then please find our contact details by clicking here



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