One of the most common sporting injuries seen in the 30-45 year age group is the calf injury where the athlete feels a sudden jag in the back of the calf.
This is different to the more debilitating Achilles rupture where the calf attachment to the heel (Achilles tendon) snaps and requires surgical repair. There are 2 main muscles in the back of the calf, the gastrocnemius and the soleus. The gastrocnemius is closer to the skin, is stretched with the knee straight and is mainly activated with quicker running.
The soleus is deeper, is stretched with the knee bent and is mainly activated with slower jogging activities. Either muscle can strain with varying degrees of severity. Often the gastrocnemius is more painful and often requires a number of weeks of recuperation, whilst the soleus can commonly present as just a small niggle that a player can often continue to play with.
The physiotherapists at the Adelaide Crows Sports Medicine Clinic have vast experience with calf injuries. Treatment is directed at optimising tissue healing, restrengthening the injured muscle and identifying potential areas that may have contributed to the injury occurring. Sometimes taping the muscle can facilitate the ability to play with the injury but in the perfect world, letting the muscle fully recover before resuming playing is the best option. Ground hardness and types of shoe wear can contribute to calf soreness and injury.