Calf injuries

The calf muscle is a powerful superficial muscle located at the back of the lower leg and is involved in standing, walking, running and jumping. it is located behind the shin bone and works across both the knee and ankle joints.

Actually it is made up of two muscles: the gastrocnemius is the larger calf muscle, forming the bulge visible beneath the skin and the soleus is a smaller, flat muscle that lies underneath the gastrocnemius muscle.

Muscle strain

The calf is commonly torn in sports which require quick acceleration from a stationary position and quick halts in movement. A calf strain is also more likely in athletes who have tight calf muscles.

The most common place to incur this injury is at the muscle tendon junction, roughly halfway between the knee and the heel.

Symptoms include:

  • A sudden pain at the back of the leg, particularly halfway down the leg
  • Pain and difficulty in contracting the muscle, standing on tiptoe or pointing the toes

Bruising - contusion - corked calf

In severe cases of a calf contusion, a visible increase in size of the muscle may be detected due to bleeding and swelling. Patients usually feel a sudden pain in the calf muscle at the time of injury. Other symptoms are muscle spasm, weakness and an inability to continue activity. 

Occasionally the swelling and bruising may track down to the ankle joint or foot and toes.


SportsMed TENS therapy

After a diagnosis of muscle or tendon damage, your calf injury management plan should include physical therapy treatment as often as possible.

SportsMed is the physical therapy product we suggest to aid recovery of calf injury.

SportsMed electrotherapy can be used everyday - outside the clinic - for drug-free, on-demand pain relief. It is also designed and programmed to aid circulation, reduce inflammation, hasten healing and help with calf muscle rehabilitation.

  • RELIEVE mode:
    • Pain relief (modulated low and high frequency TENS; continuous, comfortable intensity)
    • Early stage injury treatment (modulated low to medium frequency ECS; continuous, low intensity)
  • RECOVERY mode - injury healing
    • Later stage injury treatment (modulated low to medium frequency EMS and ECS; surging, medium intensity)
  • EXERCISE mode - muscle strengthening
    • Rehabilitation stage (high frequency EMS; surging, medium to high intensity)

Pad placement - calf muscle

 
calf muscle electrode placement
calf muscle electrode placement

SportsMed treatment guide

Purpose ModeIntensity TimeHow often
Pain relief RELIEVELow to medium Minimum 60 minutesOn demand
Muscle soreness RELIEVELow Several hoursDaily for 1 or 2 days
Scar tissue RELIEVELow Several hoursDaily as needed
Soft tissue healing RECOVERMedium 10 to 20 minutes3 times per day
Circulation RELIEVE or RECOVERLow 60 minutesas often as needed
Rehabilitation EXERCISEMedium 5 to 15 minutes3 times per day
Rehabilitation EXERCISEMedium to high 10 to 20 minutes3 times per day
On RELIEVE mode – muscles should not contract or twitch
On RECOVER mode – muscles should contract, mildly
On EXERCISE mode – muscles should contract, mildly or strongly – as required

Injury page link


SportsMed TENS, ECS and EMS
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