Calf tears

Calf injury’s




The calf muscle is one of the most commonly ‘torn’ or ‘strained’ muscles in the body. This occurs when the muscle is forcibly stretched beyond its limits resulting in tearing of some of the muscle fibres.

The calf is comprised of two muscles. The Soleus which is deep and the Gastrocnemius which is superficial. They both come together and form the Achilles tendon which inserts onto the heel bone at the bottom of the leg.


  • Most common in tennis and football players.
  • Very common overuse injury in runners (more common in people who have not been physically active for an extended period of time).
  • The most common place to incur this injury is at the muscular tendinous junction of the Gastrocnemius, roughly halfway between the knee and the heel.


Calf strains are graded according to their severity and based of that, a return to activity guide can be used. However, return to activity varies between individuals and is best assessed by your health professional.


Risk factors:

Increased age and previous calf injury are the strongest risk factors.

Other less common factors: inadequate rehab from previous injury, loss of strength as we age, load intolerance (too much too soon).


How it happens and how it’s different to fatigue like pain?

Suspecting a tear: Sudden onset, like a kick in the back of the leg. Pain tends to hang around for time after exercise, swelling or bruising in the calf, pain when doing a heel raise.

In comparison:

On a longer run where there is pain in the calf and it stops when you stop. Symptoms aren’t present post-exercise or the days following. That tends to be more fatigue related.


A good example of how the injury can occur is when you try to change direction. When the knee is extended (straight) and the foot is dorsiflexed (toes pulled towards the body), the calf is on stretch and then tries to contract and generate force. It’s like trying to pull tighter a piece of string that is already tight, its either going to withstand the extra force.. or tear.


How are they managed?

  • Activity and load modification. Low-impact activity to keep cardiovascular fitness. E-g, cycling, swimming or upper body strength training.




Fun fact for strength training: A meta-analysis (reviews strong evidence papers and combines them into one paper) in 2006 found that training the non-injured side of a body part showed an increase in strength on the injured side on average of 8%.

  • Maintaining range of motion and strength over the rehab period. Each individual is difference and no two injuries are the same. We now know it’s not just muscle damage that affects rehab but external factors such as sleep, nutrition and previous activity levels. It will most commonly follow a timeline of exercises with progression each time an activity is able to be completed. Such as starting with basic range of movement at the ankle, then to heel raises, then to a single leg powerful hop.

Your health professional will determine the most beneficial and timely regime to follow as you work together to reach your goals.


  • Education – this is a pivotal part of your rehab. Your health professional will always explain and reexplained analogies, protocols and more as you progress through your rehab. An example of this and why it’s important: if we think of rehab very simply (acute stage, mid stage and the final stage), you may be pain free in midstage in which its quite easy to think you’ll be okay to return to previous activity. However, this is one of the most common reasons as to why re-injury to occurs. This is where education is important to gain an understanding of what activity may increase the risk of injury and when it’s okay to get back to loading the calf again.


  • Footwear assessment: Previous footwear and current footwear can have an impact on your rehab and returning to activity. Your Podiatrist will assess your footwear and make a recommendation based on many things including foot type, previous history and current goals.


  • Gradual return is the most beneficial while keeping risk of re-injury low. For example, a runner or individual participating in sport return may look something like the following: Brisk walking > running of the spot for a minute > flat running for a limited time > return to activity. Again, your health professional will determine your return to activity and is well-equip to judge when return is warranted.


Great video below of a tear happening in real time.


Blake about us

Blake Withers

Blake has a passion for endurance athletes and in particular, runners. His post graduate research investigated perceptions around footwear and foot type within this group. He is a keen athlete himself, finishing 3rd recently in the Noosa Triathlon in his respected category and 1st in the Glasshouse 100 (15km) trail run through the Glasshouse mountains. He currently continues to train for marathons, triathlons, and Ironman events. ‘Building resilience is one of the most important aspects I have found to be pivotal in the rehab journey’

Ready for Healthier Feet?

Book in Online Now

Click the button below to book
or call us now on 0240675055 for more info
or send us a message here

More Articles

Blister Prevention and Footwear advice

By Blake Withers | June 20, 2022

This presentation was presented by Blake Withers from Newcastle Podiatry. It is talking about Blister Prevention and Footwear Management.

How To Pick the Best Hiking Shoes?

By Justin | June 17, 2022

Ingrown Nail Treatment – Achieve Podiatry

By Justin | June 8, 2022

How do we manage an Ingrown nail? – Written by our Newcastle Podiatrist Blake We commonly see Ingrown nails   We commonly say ingrown nails in the clinic here at Achieve Podiatry Newcastle. We get a lot of questions about the management and treatment of this pathology. This blog will be a resource for patients…

A Profound amount of Heel Pain is not Sever’s Disease

By Justin | June 8, 2022

Achieve Podiatry Newcastle Newsletter

By Blake Withers | May 30, 2022

Book Now Hi everybody and welcome to our end of May Achieve Podiatry newsletter.. Here are some things that have been happening within the team at Newcastle Achieve Podiatry. Newcastle University is having their mid year break.. That means Justin & Blake will have more time to see patients.. Hoorah! Newcastle Podiatrist Podcast Listen in…

Treatment for Big Toe Pain – Newcastle Podiatrists Justin & Blake

By Justin | May 26, 2022

How do we treat a painful, stiff big toe joint? Watch below and listen to Justin and Blake explain the management of 1st MPJ (big toe) Osteoarthritis. At Achieve Podiatry in New Lambton, Newcastle, we see a lot of people who have tried numerous therapies for this condition. By and large, there is improvement with…

Is PRP bad for Achilles Tendinopathy? – Newcastle Podiatrist Blake explains

By Blake Withers | May 23, 2022

Is PRP effective for the treatment of Chronic Achilles Tendinopathy? – By our Newcastle Podiatrist Blake Withers Now let’s talk about this study. We see this a lot here in our clinic in New Lambtom, Newcastle. I think understanding the research on this topic gives you the ability to gain knowledge on this topic. I…

Can Shoes Prevent Injuries? – Justin our Newcastle Podiatrist Explains

By Justin | May 5, 2022

Motion-Control Shoes Reduce the Risk of Pronation-Related Pathologies in Recreational Runners: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Controlled Trial TINE MARIEKE WILLEMS, PT, PhD CHRISTOPHE LEYELS GOETGHEBEUR, DANIEL THEISEN LAURENT MALISOUX, PhD Can Shoes Stop and reduce Injury? Read on as our Newcastle Podiatrist Justin fills us in! Cracking study which has been analysed by…

Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome and Injectables

By Justin | April 27, 2022

Our first Research review from our Newcastle Podiatrist Blake. This is something I have always wanted to do. I know the struggle that clinicians go through. Generally, its one of three: You don’t have the time to read the research You don’t have access to full articles You can struggle to interpret the data and…

Podiatry and your Persistant Back Pain

By Blake Withers | March 24, 2022

Podiatry and your back pain. It is common for Podiatrists to assess foot mechanics to understand if they’re related to back pain. Generally, it isn’t.