Weekend warriors – calf tears


Are you between 35 and 55? Are you keeping fit and active? You might be a weekend warrior!

After a sedentary week at work, it is good to get outside, move the body and get the heart pumping. However, there are risks associated with trying a bit too hard, the most common being calf injuries.

Calf injuries are a major problem for people who run, jump or ski. Injury usually happens when the calf muscles are tired and unable to control the position of the knee above and foot below. This results in the muscle stretching and tearing when it should be contracting. You will feel it at the time and more so a few hours later.

Injuries are graded into categories:

Grade 1 is a mild tear of a few muscle fibres resulting in swelling and discomfort but no loss of strength or movement

Grade 2 is a moderate tear of more muscle fibres resulting in loss of ability to contract the muscle

Grade 3 is a severe tear resulting near complete loss of function

Recovery can take between 10 days to 8 weeks depending on the severity of the tear and the immediate treatment can make a big difference to recovery time.

Try and follow these simple steps below:

  1. Protect the injury from further bleeding and tearing of the repairing scar tissue for 48 – 72 hours. This means immediate ice and compression, with no stretching or massage. Crutches are useful at this stage to aid mobility. Move cautiously for 3 days whilst the body lays down the repairing tissue.
  2. Activate the muscle with progressive exercises after the 48 hour period. This minimises scar tissue formation and helps the alignment of the regenerated muscle fibres.
  3. Stretching can start after 10 days when the scar tissue is strong enough. Start with gentle stretching for 10 – 15 seconds and build up to stronger stretching for 1 minute.
  4. Regain full function by progressing through more powerful exercises such as jumps with both feet, hopping, running slowly, changing directions, using uneven ground then sprinting.

We can help you optimise your recovery by decreasing swelling and progressing exercises as you require.