In this episode: We discuss calf tears. The calf is made up of 2 muscles, the gastrocnemius and soleus. Sometime referred to as the gastroc-soleus complex because the muscle work together. Calf tears are more common to the gastrocnemius.
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Brief overview of the episode:
The calf is official known as the gastroc-soleus complex. This is because it is made up of two separate muscles. The gastrocnemius which is a fast twitch, 2 joint power muscle and the soleus which is slow joint ankle joint only, endurance and stability muscle.
It is possible to tear either muscle however, it is much more common to injure the gastrocnemius. The most typical mechanism of injury is a sudden change or direction. Common seen with starts and stops. It is rare to tear a calf muscle during steady state walking or jogging. That is more likely a muscle cramp.
Calf tears and Achilles ruptures share a similar injury story. Most people will say they though someone kicked them or an object hit the back of their calf. The best way to tell these two injuries apart is to assess the Achilles tendon. With a calf tear pain is typically closer to the knee and an individual will have difficult placing their foot flat on the ground. With an Achilles pain will be lower and the pt will not be able to place only their forefoot on the ground, because the ability to plantar flex the ankle has mostly been lost.
There are three grades of tears. Grade I is fairly mild and will typical recover in 2-3 weeks. Grade II is moderate and can take 4-8 weeks. Grade III is sever and can sometimes take 2-4 months to fully recover.
We have found that calf tears at any grade can be finicky to recover from. They more than most other injuries can easily become chronic when not treated effectively.