Calf pain

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Calf pain can come from any of your thigh, calf or shin muscles also your knee and ankle joints. To establish where exactly the calf injury is, can be very helpful at identifying what structure is causing the pain. Calf pain can be caused by any of the muscles, tendons or joints, so let’s look at the different types of structures in your calf:

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Do you experience a pain when you’re walking down stairs, or climbing up them? Standing on your toes? Pushing the pedal while driving? Or even just pulling your toes to your head?

Each person’s case is unique and we want to address your specific needs. If you would like us to investigate or provide some insight, we invite you to contact us by clicking the link below.

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How to Stop chronic, daily annoying calf pain

Without Injections, Without taking Painkillers and

WITHOUT having to wear a Support or Brace…

If you’re living with calf pain what just won’t go away, they’re painful or they ache – it’s very easy to think that it’s “just something that comes with age”, it’s a bit of “wear and tear”, or that it’s nothing and it’ll go away on its own.

You can’t quite point your finger on why you’re feeling the pain in your calf – but it doesn’t seem to be getting any better!

If that’s happening to you, you’re not alone – we hear this type of thing all the time. In fact, calf pain is one of the most common problems that we see in our Physio practice. When it comes to living with calf pain, everybody we see wants to know the answers to these questions:

Why am I still suffering with calf pain that keeps getting worse

Most people think that when they get calf pain, it’ll eventually “ease off” and go away on it’s own. That they’ll wake up one morning and like “magic”, your calf pain will be a thing of the past… But 3 months later you’re still living with the annoying calf pain, often even worse than it was at the start. Does that sound like you?

Another scenario we see all the time in our physiotherapy practice is when people go to their Doctors, and the well-meaning Doctor tells them to “rest”, “try these painkillers” and “come back in 6 weeks if it’s no better” – but then 6 weeks later, they end up going back to the same Doctor again because it hasn’t got any better, only to be given ANOTHER prescription of even stronger pills, and maybe a calf support.

Has this ever happened to you?

Maybe you’re confused because you’ve been told different things, by different people. Maybe you think you have to rest because you’ve been told walking makes calf pain worse, or that you should be doing ‘this exercise’ and ‘that exercise’ to make it better. It’s very confusing to know exactly what to do – and that’s just to avoid making your calf pain worse, not to mention getting back to jogging and all the other things you love to do.

And because of this confusion – this often leads people to procrastinate, and put off making a decision about what to do to help fix their calf pain. Worse, many people just end up accepting it as “part of life” – as if it’s normal, as if it “has” to be that way. Is this how you feel?

We are here to tell you – this is NOT what you deserve. You are made for great things, your calf pain is just a bump in the road. Make a decision to help yourself be better.

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Why is your calf pain lasting longer than it should?

Does this sound like you?

If any of these have happened to you – we would love to help you. The fact that you’ve tried any or all of these things already is actually a good thing, because when you know what doesn’t work – you are closer to finding the thing that does!

We invite you to come and see us. Why? Because we do things differently. We’ll do a thorough assessment and test all the possible causes. After we’ve diagnosed your problem, and explained what it’s going to need to heal, we’ll make sure you understand why this is happening.

If you’re looking for solid advice on how to start solving your problem, click the link below to book a FREE phone call. The phone call is complimentary and there is no obligation to book any appointments with us after the call is over. This is an opportunity to get an expert’s advice about your situation. Our goal is to help you make the right decision about what to do next.

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What you can do to get rid of your calf pain quickly?

Ask our calf experts

If you would like to know how the Physiotherapy team at Cilliers & Swart can help you, we invite you to book a FREE, no-obligation, risk-free “Call me back” phone call.

Note: This Free Call is a service we offer to people who are nervous or unsure. You might not know if Physiotherapy is the right treatment for you. If you are unsure, please fill out our online formWe will contact you to find out what is wrong and how we can help. There is no financial obligation or risk on your part. You have nothing to lose except your pain.

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Choose to see a Cilliers & Swart Physiotherapist to help you Get rid of your calf pain – in the next few days?

What can we do for you?

  • We quickly put an end to the cycle of pain and stiffness.

  • We’ll find and treat the origin of your calf pain.

  • Pain can rob you of sleep & rest. We can help you to enjoy sleeping at night and living with more energy each day

  • We will provide you with the perfect set of exercises that will speed up your recovery

  • Using painkillers in the long-term can be harmful to your health. We help you lower or completely stop your need for painkillers to manage pain

  • Our physiotherapists help you avoid dangerous & costly surgeries, and painful injections

  • We reduce visits to specialists or doctors

  • Calf pain can limit the activities you enjoy with your family & friends. We can help you get back to enjoying quality time with family & friends that calf pain has taken from you.

  • We can help you to finally return to walking up & down the stairs, and getting out and about without that annoying calf pain stopping you

In short, our Team at Cilliers & Swart Physio help you get back to living life free from calf pain. For information about costs and availability, click the button below:

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Muscle pain

Calf muscle strain is probably the most common cause of calf pain. The calf muscle group consists of two muscles – the Gastrocnemius muscle which is the big muscle at the back of the lower leg and the Soleus muscle which is a smaller muscle lower down in the leg and lies underneath the Gastrocnemius.

Gastrocnemius

Your larger Gastrocnemius starts from the thigh bone (femur) above the knee joint and inserts into the heel bone via the Achilles tendon. When the muscle contracts it assists the Hamstrings in bending the knee but its main function is to point toes and ankle downwards towards the floor.  This is the same movement as standing up onto your tip-toes, or like a calf raise. The Gastrocnemius is the most powerful muscle of the calf that produces propulsion during movement such as sprinting and jumping.  A medial Gastrocnemius muscle injury is often referred to as “Tennis Leg”.

Soleus

Your Soleus muscle originates below the knee joint from the Tibia and Fibula (shin bones) and also inserts (like Gastrocnemius) into to the back of the heel via the Achilles tendon. When the Soleus muscle contracts it also points your toes and ankle downwards, but unlike Gastrocnemius it has no effect on bending the knee.

If the Soleus muscle is damaged as opposed to the Gastrocnemius, the pain is usually lower down the leg but is not painful when attempting to bend the knee (unlike Gastrocnemius).   The Soleus muscle is the main calf muscle that gives us the ability to run for long periods (endurance activities).

Either of these two muscles can be injured but the usually the injury occurs at the junction where the muscle meets the Achilles tendon called the “musculotendinous junction”.

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Nerve pain

Nerve supply to the calf mainly comes from the Sciatic nerve at the back. Irritation, compression or impingement of these nerves can cause nerve pain in your calf. Sciatica is also a condition that can cause a nerve type of calf pain at the back of the leg, all the way to your toes. Often people describe it as a burning, constant pain.

Joint Pain

Joints can refer pain downwards from the knee, or upwards from the ankle. Joint pain is usually more difficult to pinpoint therefore a skilled set of hands would need to determine where the pain is coming from

Tendon Pain

Tendons are cables that anchors the bone to muscle tot the bone. Every muscle has a tendon on either side of the muscle, the one at at the top called the proximal tendon and one at the bottom, called the distal tendon. Any one or multiple tendons can become irritated causing a inflamed tendon and in the calf we have the Achilles tendon that anchors both heads of the  Gastrocnemius and Soleus muscles to the Calcaneus (heel bone). An Achilles tendinitis can progress to a tendinopathy, this is a state when your body stops repairing the injured tendon fibers and the risk of a complete tendon is very high.

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Calf pain, Calf injuries, Calf muscle pain, Calf injuries treatment, Calf muscle Physiotherapist

Calf Pain in the …

Calf muscle tear or strain

A calf strain is a tear in either the gastrocnemius muscle or the soleus muscle which together make up the calf muscle group. Your calf consists of 2 large muscles – Gastrocnemius and Soleus muscles. Gastrocnemius is the one on top (giving you that curved look) with Soleus just beneath it.  Sudden sharp pain is felt, usually in the middle of the calf muscle area at the point where the gastrocnemius muscle connects to the Achilles tendon. A calf muscle injury is graded from 1 to 3, with grade 3 being the most severe.

Tight calf muscles

Although not a specific injury, tight muscles at the back of the lower leg is a widely seen problem among athletes and can lead to other related injuries. Tight calf muscles may be caused by:

  • Poor foot biomechanics
  • Lack of stretching
  • Wearing high heeled shoes.

If your calf muscles are partially contracted, or in spasm, the blood and nutrients cannot flow so easily, which may cause discomfort and pain. If left untreated, this can increase the risk of suffering from a more severe calf injury.

Deep vein thrombosis

A Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a possible cause of calf pain which should always be considered. It is a blood clot in the veins and is most likely to happen in the calf area, especially after long flights and surgery. The blood low to back to your heart is blocked (usually by a clot in the veins in your calf) causing blood coming down to your leg swelling up & have no way to get back to your heart. All the blood stays in your calf & builds up, causing redness, excessive tenderness & harm feeling over the skin of your calf. This is a serious condition and medical help is needed as soon as possible.

Stress Fracture (Tibia – Medial Traction Periostitis)

Shin splints is a term describing the splintering pain felt along the edge of your shin bone while running or exercising. Medical Traction Periostitis is a cumulative stress disorder caused by repeated pounding and stress on the bones, muscles, and joints of the lower legs preventing your body from being able to naturally repair and restore itself. “Medial” refers to the ‘inside’ of your shin, mainly starts in the lower third. “Traction” refers to the repetitive pulling on a membrane covering the Tibia which can ultimately lead to bone cracks.  The constant pounding can cause minute cracks in the bones of the lower leg and pain on the inside of your calf.

Posterior (Calf) Compartment syndrome

Posterior compartment syndrome occurs when the muscle swells up too big for the sheath surrounding it. Compartment syndromes can be acute, which occur suddenly following a contusion (direct trauma to the muscle). As a secondary complication after a calf injury like a muscle tear. The muscle bleeds within the muscle sheath causing increased pressure within the muscle’s membrane. An acute compartment syndrome needs urgent medical attention, especially if the pain becomes progressively worse as it can result in long-term damage like cell death due to lack of oxygenated blood.

Referred pain from Lower back (Lumbar)

Calf pain may be referred from other body parts and produce pain in your calf.

Calf contusion

A contusion occurs following a direct impact or trauma to the calf muscles. For example, being kicked in the back of the leg in a game. Symptoms of a calf muscle contusion include; Sudden pain resulting from a direct trauma to your calf. Pain may be mild, or so severe you will be unable to walk properly, together with swelling & blue bruising becomes more viable.

This can cause internal bleeding inside the calf muscle. This bleeding differs from a grade 2 or 3 muscle tear, as no muscle fibers are torn, but small blood vessels on the surface burst, leaking plasma. Usually a massive bruise forms over the impact area and you may notice the bruising gets worse the first 24 hours.

Calf Cramp

A calf muscle can cramp for a few milli-seconds up to a few hours and can be described as an involuntary constant contraction of the muscle fibers. This is due to a lack of nutrients and chemical substances surrounding the muscle fibers which prevents your muscle fiber cells from relaxing. A calf cramp can progress to a calf tear if stretched too forcefully. Potential causes include dehydration and low carbohydrate levels so taking on fluids and energy may help.

Calf Spasm

A muscle spasm is an involuntary often painful muscle contraction when a signal from the muscle itself causes a reflex muscle contraction at a very high rate. This means that the small plugs (motor neuron) on the muscle does not receive the command from the brain to switch ‘off’.  It is usually caused by overuse or over-stimulation of the muscle fibers. Your calf muscle can tear if you just carry on & ‘walk it off’.

Chronic Posterior compartment syndrome

Posterior compartment syndrome occurs when the muscle swells up too big for the sheath surrounding it. Compartment syndromes can be acute, which occur suddenly, or chronic, which have developed gradually over time. Your calf muscle gradually grows too big for the sheath surrounding it. Deep aching pain or tightness in the back of the lower leg occurs gradually during a run but then eases off with rest. Experienced runners may find the pain comes on at the same point in a run consistently.

Pinched Sciatic nerve

The sciatic nerve starts out in your lower back and follows its path down your leg all the way to your foot. The nerve can become trapped along its pathway and give you nerve pain in your calf.

  • Peroneal nerve: The peroneal nerve is a more superficial nerve that travels sideways along the outer part of your lower leg and down into the upper foot.
  • Tibial nerve: The tibial nerve continues deep into the calf and travels downward toward the heel and sole of the foot.

Mid-tendon Achilles tendinitis

The Achilles tendon connects and anchors your calf muscles to your heel bone. When your calf muscles contract (shortens), they pull on the Achilles tendon. The structure of a tendon will change if repetitive strain is put on it. Either through compression or tension. There are 3 stages of an Achilles tendon, where it becomes inflamed, stiff and progressively gets worse over time. Calf pain anywhere along the back of your Achilles tendon, but more than 4 centimetres above the heel and before the tendon and calf muscles connect.

Insertion Achilles tendinitis

Pain located at the base of your heel, where the Achilles tendon anchors its fibers directly onto the calcaneus. The biggest cause is excessive overuse or overburdening of the Achilles tendon, which leads to heel pain that feels worse when you walk, run uphill or climb stairs. The anchor of your calf becomes swollen, painful when stretched. Jumps & explosive calf muscle contractions makes the pain worse & ease with rest.

Torn Achilles tendon

Sudden sharp pain in the Achilles tendon, often described as if being shot in the leg. A loud snap or bang is heard when it happens. Sudden sharp pain that subsides quickly, may leave you thinking ‘its not that bad’, until you feel the weakness to stand on your leg.

Retrocalcaneal & Achilles bursitis

Bursitis is inflammation of a fluid filled sac or cushion (bursa) over the a bony point at the back of your calcaneus & Tibia, and your Achilles tendon. This condition occurs when the bursa becomes irritated, compressed or infected. With repetitive bending & straightening of your ankle triggers the bursa to get inflamed and painful at the back of your lower leg & calf.

Flexor Digitorum muscle strain

This muscle sits deep on the inside of your calf and bends all your toes, like a bird’s claw holding onto a branch. Flexor Digitorum muscle can be stained from excessive clinching of your toes as you run. Check the inside of your shoes to see this. “Hammer toe” makes the problem even worse. Very common in dancers, acrobats & long distance runners. Pain usually radiates from your calf, over the arch & into your toes as it gets worse.

Big toe strain or Flexor hallucis longus tendonitis

Flexor hallucis longus strain is a tear along the muscle that bends your big toe forwards causing pain on the inside of the ankle & up the calf. Like a wall climber that hooks their toes into a wall crack, if it slips out and forces the toe to bent backward, injures this muscle.

Flexor hallucis longus tendonitis is inflammation or degeneration of the tendons. The disorder, which can occur when the tendon is subjected to excessive or repetitive stress, like wearing flip-flops. This tendons grasps your flip-flop, to prevent it from sliding off. Calf pain specifically along the length of the tendon as it passes around the back of the medial malleolus and into to the arch of your foot.

Peroneal tendonitis

Peroneal tendonitis is inflammation of the peroneal tendons which run behind the bony knob on the outside of your ankle. This is a overuse & traction injury to the tendons of the Peroneal muscles.  These muscles run over the outside of your calf. Its tendons pull your ankle outwards, and stretched when your ankle turns inwards. When these tendons are overloaded repeatedly, your calf & ankle becomes painful mainly over the outside. Usually the pain feels worse in the mornings, then disappear as your body warms, only to return in the afternoon, or after your jog.

At later stages the tendon disintegrates and pain becomes worse with exercise and improve with rest. There wouldn’t be any swelling around your ankle.

Fibula stress fracture

Your calf muscles attach to the fibula bone on the outside, so the traction and twisting forces of the muscles can cause a stress fracture. Symptoms like pain at the back of the lower leg gets worse with exercise and jumps. This type of pain is dull and constant, irrespective of rest or load. Applying a manual load over the back or tip of your fibula will increase your pain. Stress fractures are not visible on normal X rays, but a skilled Physio will be able to detect & treat it.

Tiabialis Posterior tendonitis

The Tibialis posterior is a muscle deep in the calf that helps to keep your foot stable when you jump or land. Its a tricky problem, but stay with me. The tibialis posterior must contract to keep the arch of your foot in ‘neutral’. Changing your running surface from road to trail will put excessive strain on this muscle & tendon. To control you foot to & maintain the correct position to generate & absorb force. The tendon becomes overused causing pain along the mid-line of your calf all the way into the arch of your foot. A very common source of pain when runners change their shoe. Suddenly the muscle needs to work twice as hard with less support for the arch, leading to pain getting progressively worse after each training session.

Lateral compartment syndrome

This Compartment syndrome occurs when the muscle swells up too big for the sheath surrounding it. The pain is mainly over the outside of the calf muscles. It is more common as a chronic calf injury in long-distance runners.

Origin Gastrocnemius Muscle tear

Very often patients say the pain starts at the back of their knee and started radiating into their calf. The Gastrocnenius is the outer heads that attaches above the knee. Its torn when the knee straight under excessive load, like doing calf raises at the gym. A calf muscle injury is graded from 1 to 3, with grade 3 being the most severe. Sudden sharp pain is felt, usually at behind the knee radiating into the calf causing you to limb.

Baker’s Cyst

A Baker’s Cyst or Popliteal cyst is a bubble that pushes out the back of your knee. It is often about the size of a golf ball and tends to shrink & grow depending on how much you move. You’ll feel sensation of pressure in the back of your knee, especially when you kneel & sit back to compress the bulge.

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What causes my calf pain?

To understand where your calf pain is coming from, you’d have to determine how you injured it, or if you can remember when it started. Some are outright obvious like when you slip on the floor or your knee buckles sideways, meanwhile others are subtle and creeps up on you – getting worse day by day. So, it’s easier to establish how your pain started and changed until now. Changes in your calf pain gives us many clues to understand where your pain is coming from.

Our body consists of various types of tissue, some elastic like tendons, or strong like cables (ligaments), some tissue can generate movement & force like muscles. We rely on your calf ligaments to keep us stable to stand, tendons to coordinate your calf movements while you walk, and muscles to generate power to run. The structures in your calf is quite vulnerable to injury, especially overuse injuries. There are more than 62 structures in your calf that can get injured, some problems are more common than others, but just to be safe – we test them all.

Here’s a breakdown of a few conditions that we frequently see, and how things go wrong to cause your calf pain:

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Get to the root of your calf pain

Different structures, cause different types of calf pain, although these are not concrete it’s a good guideline to which structure produces what type of pain

  • Muscle — Dull ache or stiffness, sharp pain with contraction
  • Nerve — Numbness, tingling, weakness, electrical stabbing feeling
  • Tendon — Burning pain with certain specific movements, pain comes & goes
  • Joints — Cramp, constant stiff feeling, worse after rest, better with movement
  • Fat pad — Pinching pain, pressure increases or decreases pain immediately
  • Bursa — Pain only comes on after being active, better with rest
  • Bone — Constant pain, sharp pain with certain movements
  • Arteries — Pins & Needles, dead leg feeling, heavy feeling
  • Cartilage — Sharp pain when at certain point, painful arch of movement
  • Ligament — Pain at the end of range, unstable, clicking
  • Referral from other joints — Difficult to pinpoint pain, vague painful area

Calf pain may be caused by:

  • Overload – Muscle or tendon strains and sprains
  • Overuse – Tendon inflammation, repetitive muscle strains
  • Poor management of a previous injury
  • Referral from other joints – Knee or ankle joint
  • Trauma – Contusions, or Tibia fractures
  • Autoimmune – Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Referral from nerves – Irritation, compression of the sciatic nerve branches

Causes of Calf injury

Calf pain is one of the most common leg complaints that we see in practice. Your calves contains some very powerful muscles in your body, not to mention you use them every day. We rely on your calf muscles in every step we take. The structures in the calf are vulnerable to injury especially overuse injuries i.e. repetitive movements like walking, climbing stairs and running.

Symptoms of calf pain

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How bad is my calf pain?

Size – The larger the area of your calf pain, is better, because muscles in your thigh stretch from your hip to below your calf. Pain tends to radiate along the thigh muscles and affect large areas. Muscles heal easier & recover faster.

Colour – Bruising in & around the outside, back and inside of your calf is quite common after a thigh tear, because of the high concentration of blood vessels in your thigh. These capillaries rupture & leak plasma that pools in your calf. Blue discoloration closer to the front of your calf is more concerning for it involves your calf ligaments.

Swelling – Swelling is your body’s way of healing itself by sending cells to heal the tissue. More swelling could mean more tissue damage, however not all calf injuries swell. Injury to tissue that develops over a few weeks doesn’t swell, because the tissue trauma is continuous and repetitive, so your body stops the inflammatory reaction. A new injury on an old problem is also possible.

Area -Calf pain at the front of your calf are more restrictive during walking, while pain at the back of your calf limits you from climbing down stairs. If your Calf pain causes you to limb you must be more concerned. Sharp pain over a small area makes it easier to pinpoint structures near your pain. Vague, dull & deep ankle pain can take longer to identify the root cause. Compensatory patterns develop, sometimes it takes a while to just get rid of those.

Motion & sore Calf

Stiff – Calf Stiffness followed by pain is regressing and getting worse. Seek help. Pain followed by stiffness is a good sign of tissue healing, specifically scar tissue formation. Scar tissue is hardening wound tissue that tends to shorten and pull on structures surrounding the injured site. This is more pronounced in muscle strains & tears, where the normal slide of muscles is restricted during a contraction.

Range of movement – Difficult moving your calf through its range is a big problem. A painful arch means the structure injured only takes tension over that specific range i.e Only painful when you your calf the last 10 degrees. Calf pain over a smaller range of movement is not necessarily better. This may point to connecting joint surfaces being injured. If you feel pain only at the end of your range its less severe and easy to fix. When your calf pain stops movement completely and too painful to move you should definitely come see us as soon as possible.

Monitor over time:

Intensity – When you grade your pain from 0 – 10. You may think it’s not that bad because it’s not that painful. On the contrary, pain intensity is not a sign of how severe your tissue injury is for example, complete ruptures of ligaments are less painful than partial tears. When fibers are stressed while it’s anchors are completely loose, there’s not much pain, but fibers that are partially torn will produce severe calf pain. People have different pain thresholds, so be careful to ignore your calf injury.

Frequency – Pain that’s fleeting or intermittent, short burst of pain must not become more frequent and constant. This shows that the tissue damage is not getting any better. Pain that only lasts for a few seconds tend to heal faster, so the longer your pain lasts the faster you should get to us.

Latency – If your pain lags to come on and builds up over the day you must be very cautious. This is a sign of a relapse of your tissue pathology. It’s difficult to judge what makes it worse, because the pain only comes on a few hours after your activity, and not during.

Loading – Pushing through your calf pain while you are walking, climbing stairs and jogging is not a good idea. Putting compromised tissue under strain is dangerous. Would you tow a car with a partially torn cable? No! Because it just needs that final pull or jerk that could cause catastrophic tissue damage. Loading soft tissue without knowing what it’s able to handle is dangerous & reckless.

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Diagnosis of Calf pain

Our physiotherapists know and understand the intricacy of the anatomy of your calf. There are many structures to test, and we even consider the complex biomechanics of your hip & ankle movements. We’ll accurately diagnose which structures are involved, and to what degree.

During your physiotherapy evaluation, we’ll be stretching & stressing the soft tissue structures like muscles, ligaments, nerves and tendons. This way we can diagnose muscle tears, ligament sprains, tendinitis’s and nerve irritations. We’ll test different aspects like muscle strength, range of motion, flexibility and stability in order to confirm how severe your tissue damage is, which will dictate your treatment plan.

Gathering information through our evaluation allows us to make a diagnosis based on your individual injury. Then we’ll customize the treatment to your specific needs. Therefore our physiotherapists are the best at diagnosing calf pain & calf injuries.

The Process of Diagnosis:

There is a misconception that medical practitioners are able to know exactly that’s the problem the moment we see our patients. People tend to point to their calf and say, “treat it”. As if we already know what’s the problem by just looking at it. Sorry to disappoint, but unfortunately this is not how it works. Let me explain:

Diagnosis is a process of exclusion, not inclusion. Medical professionals are taught a process of elimination and deduction to identify the most possible diagnosises for your calf pain. The better you can describe & elaborate on your pain, the better picture you’ll give your Physio to understand what’s happened as well as, what you’re feeling.

The practitioner uses their skills to eliminate diagnosis’s it’s not and zoom in on your problem. This elimination brings us to only a few possibilities to what could be causing your calf pain. Then we test & assess all our possibilities to get to the root cause of your pain. In many cases your main problem is not at the site of your pain due to compensation, guarding or it’s just the last straw that breaks (in a chain of movements). We encourage you to be honest and open about what you’re feeling – to clarify, carry on or change your Physio’s approach.

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What NOT to do

  • Anti-inflammatory medications are not recommended, especially in the first 48 hours as they are thought to delay healing

  • Stretch your calf through the pain

  • Walk, run, jog through the pain

  • Do not ignore calf pain that gets worse (it could be an sign of a Deeper problem)

  • Leave it untreated, if you are uncertain of the diagnosis, rather call us and be safe

What you should do

  • Follow a POLICE or PRICE protocol.

  • Make an appointment to confirm the diagnosis and determine the severity of your problem.

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Making the calf pain worse

  • Walking up a ramp or incline

  • Climbing stairs

  • Running uphill

  • Stair running drills

  • Sprint running drills

  • Single leg jumps

  • Giving a bigger stride in a jog or run

  • Walking on your toes or heels

  • Raising onto your toes, when dancing

  • Wearing high heels

Calf pain, Calf injuries, Calf muscle pain, Calf injuries treatment, Calf muscle Physiotherapist

Calf Injuries

Calf injuries usually occur as a result of a sudden pushing off movement like jumping. It can also come from excessive over-stretching of the calf muscle while it needs to contract, like running up a hill. Unfortunately calf pain is extremely common, therefore we have helped many patient relieve their pain.

If you are suffering from calf pain, rather get it checked. Please do not delay in consulting your physiotherapist if you have injured your calf. Rather do something about it and get it looked at, than wait with your fingers crossed and hope it goes away.

An accurate diagnosis is vital to manage your pain and treat it appropriately, because what works for one problem rarely works for another. Many conditions can take many months or even years to heal when the diagnosis is incorrect or treatment is neglected.

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Sore Calves & Sudden calf pain?

Calf pain is extremely uncomfortable and disrupts the smallest task you must get on with. So, stop the madness. Get your calf looked at and get all the answers you need. Most calf pain don’t start after a fall or injury, but usually develops over time. Yes, it’s more obvious in sports injuries, but you’re required to carry on with work even though you have agonizing calf pain. We know what you’re going through.

If you’re suffering, rather get it checked. Please come visit our physiotherapists if you are feeling any type of calf pain. Rather do something about it than wait with your fingers crossed and hope it goes away. If you’re expecting tomorrow will be any different than today. Stop waiting and act.

An accurate diagnosis is vital to manage your pain and treat it appropriately, because what works for one problem rarely works for another. Some conditions can take many months or even years to heal when the diagnosis is incorrect, or treatment is neglected. You could end up spending a lot more time & money to fix your problem later on. So be warned…

Physiotherapist treatment

We have seen many patients with calf pain and provide the best possible treatment for a faster recovery. Pain and stiffness after an ankle injury prevent you to move and you might feel afraid to move, or scared you’ll damage it even more. We know that you’re anxious about the unknown, so that is why we are here to guide you and give you all the answers.

Your calf pain treatment will be tailored according to various factors, but just to give you a broad idea, our focus of our treatments are:

  1. Determine what structures are injured in your calf
  2. How bad is it injured?
  3. Protect it from further injury
  4. Help accelerate healing
  5. Re-evaluate to monitor progress
  6. Change and adapt as you get better

Cilliers & Swart Experts

Our team of experts can diagnose, test and treat any kind of calf pain. We work together to get rid of your pain as fast as possible. We have the best tools, techniques and machines to make sure you get the best value for your money. Our Physios will test a lot of different possibilities why you’re feeling this calf pain in order to explain what’s going on in your body. It all depends on the results of our tests to determine what needs to be done. All our physios are MSK specialists that can determine the slightest problem coming from your calf, thigh or lower leg, so if you’re uncertain – we can help you.

Our experts determine multiple problems that can be involved, this means that we test movements to see if you may have a muscle imbalance, weakness, instability and much, much more. This is our expertise & what we’re best at. We take on many roles to achieve your goals: Teacher, counselor, trainer and coach. As a teacher we explain the extent of damage & the intricate details of your calf pain & how it may affect other problems. As a counselor & pain expert, we’ll guide you every step of the way.

Calf pain Treatments we use

Tell me more about treatment

PRICE protocol

1st Phase: Protection & initial Healing

P

Protect.

We have found that patients tend to continue walking on the injured calf with a limp. The muscle still contracts every time that your weight is put onto the leg. It’s better to get crutches and keep the load off your calf. The main concern is to prevent your calf from further injury.

Rest.

No weight on the injured leg. Use crutches to take the load off your calf.

As soon as there’s no pain, don’t test it. Give it time to fuse completely.

I

Ice.

Ice cubes warped in a towel, tied around the calf reduces pain & inflammation and speeds up the healing process. For at least the first 3 days or until the swelling goes down, apply an ice pack for 20 minutes every two hours. Always keep a towel between the ice and your skin (to prevent a clod burn), and press the ice pack firmly against all the curves of your calf.

C

Compress.

Use strapping (Leukotake S) or elastic compression bandage to keep your  muscles supported and prevent blood pooling in your calf. This can be done either with taping or tube grip bandage and helps to control swelling.

E

Elevate.

Lying on your back with your foot on a chair (your calf must be higher than your heart to allow gravity to assist in draining the pooled blood in your leg.) Raise your calf for 15 minute intervals during the day.

Each injury is different depending on the specific structure that’s a problem, so treatment is tailored to where you are in the recovery process. This is a Physiotherapists skill to determine what needs to be done to get you back to ‘normal’ again.

If we consider a Calf muscle tear, each injury has a set of guidelines and goals you must achieve, this includes:

  1. Regain Full Range of Movement
  2. Eccentric Muscle Strength
  3. Concentric Muscle Strength
  4. High Speed, Power, Proprioception
  5. Sport Specific Training
Call us to book your appointment

Why am I still suffering with calf pain that keeps getting worse

Most people think that when they get calf pain, it’ll eventually “ease off” and go away on its own. That they’ll wake up one morning and like “magic”, your calf pain will be a thing of the past… But 3 months later you’re still living with the annoying calf pain, often even worse than it was at the start. Does that sound like you?

Another scenario we see all the time in our physiotherapy practice is when people go to their Doctors, and the well-meaning Doctor tells them to “rest”, “try these painkillers” and “come back in 6 weeks if it’s no better” – but then 6 weeks later, they end up going back to the same Doctor again because it hasn’t got any better, only to be given ANOTHER prescription of even stronger pills, and maybe a calf support.

Has this ever happened to you?

Maybe you’re confused because you’ve been told different things, by different people. Maybe you think you have to rest because you’ve been told walking makes calf pain worse, or that you should be doing ‘this exercise’ and ‘that exercise’ to make it better. It’s very confusing to know exactly what to do – and that’s just to avoid making your calf pain worse, not to mention getting back to jogging and all the other things you love to do.

And because of this confusion – this often leads people to procrastinate, and put off making a decision about what to do to help fix their calf pain. Worse, many people just end up accepting it as “part of life” – as if it’s normal, as if it “has” to be that way. Is this how you feel?

We are here to tell you – this is NOT what you deserve. You are made for great things, your calf pain is just a bump in the road. Decide to help yourself be better.

Get my life back from pain, so I can enjoy life again! Ask the expert’s help. Call us TODAY

Why is your calf pain lasting longer than it should?

Does this sound like you?

If any of these have happened to you – we would love to help you. The fact that you’ve tried any or all of these things already is actually a good thing, because when you know what doesn’t work – you are closer to finding the thing that does!

We invite you to come and see us. Why? Because we do things differently. We’ll do a thorough assessment and test all the possible causes. After we’ve diagnosed your problem, and explained what it’s going to need to heal, we’ll make sure you understand why this is happening.

If you’re looking for solid advice on how to start solving your problem, click the link below to book a FREE phone call. The phone call is complimentary and there is no obligation to book any appointments with us after the call is over. This is an opportunity to get an expert’s advice about your situation. Our goal is to help you make the right decision about what to do next.

Book a Free call to talk to a Physio

What you can do to get rid of your calf pain quickly?

Ask our experts

If you would like to know how the Physiotherapy team at Cilliers & Swart can help you, we invite you to book a FREE, no-obligation, risk-free “Call me back” phone call.

Note: This Free Call is a service we offer to people who are nervous or unsure. You might not know if Physiotherapy is the right treatment for you. If you are unsure, please fill out our online formWe will contact you to find out what is wrong and how we can help. There is no financial obligation or risk on your part. You have nothing to lose except your pain.

Get a Free – Call me back

Choose to see a Cilliers & Swart Physiotherapist to help you Get rid of your calf pain – in the next few days?

What can we do for you?

  • We quickly put an end to the cycle of pain and stiffness.

  • We’ll find and treat the origin of your calf pain.

  • Pain can rob you of sleep & rest. We can help you to enjoy sleeping at night and living with more energy each day

  • We will provide you with the perfect set of exercises that will speed up your recovery

  • Using painkillers in the long-term can be harmful to your health. We help you lower or completely stop your need for painkillers to manage pain

  • Our physiotherapists help you avoid dangerous & costly surgeries, and painful injections

  • We reduce visits to specialists or doctors

  • Calf pain can limit the activities you enjoy with your family & friends. We can help you get back to enjoying quality time with family & friends that calf pain has taken from you.

  • We can help you to finally return to walking up & down the stairs, and getting out and about without that annoying calf pain stopping you

In short, our Team at Cilliers & Swart Physio help you get back to living life free from calf pain. For information about costs and availability, click the button below:

Enquire about costs & availability

What your patients say:

This was my first time visiting a physiotherapist. I received very professional service from everyone involved and can definitely recommend this practice to anyone struggling with calf pain.

L Groenewald

I visited Cilliers & Swart after much trouble with calf pains and several body pains. The therapist was patient enough to investigate and determine the problem and after two sessions much improvement and pains gone.

W Henning

“definitely knows what they are doing.”

I have been treated by Renier here for a problem that had been bothering me for several weeks. Having seen a few physios before, I can honestly say that this practice has a very high standard for the services that they offer and I have great trust in the work that they do. 100% would recommend.

R Wessels

I am really impressed with the quality of service you provide. Great experience from the reception my current physio. keep up the good work team. I would highly recommend them.

K Mahlangu

“The best in the business”

Had a session with my physio and it was such an amazing session I ever had. She provided all the details of my pain, why it is so painful and what it caused and etc etc. She was extremely humble and accurate. Best physio ever I’ve been to.

R Jeong

What stood out to me most about the practice was how punctual they are. My appointments started on time every time. Would recommend them any day, forever.

G van der Merwe

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