Strain in the Calf?

The two major calf muscles that run through the posterior portion of the lower leg include the gastrocnemius and the soleus.  The gastrocnemius is the muscle that most individuals associate with being the calf muscle.  It sits in the middle and upper portion of the lower-leg and is seen as a ball-like structure in well-defined, muscular individuals.  The soleus, however, which inserts into the calcaneous tendon and attaches at the knee joint is actually a much longer muscle than the gastrocnemius.

Tears and strains in the calf muscles are very prevalent among active individuals.  To strain your calf means that you have either torn the muscle fibers or stretched them beyond their intended capacity.  The severity of a calf strain is measured by a practitioner in regards to the percent of fibers torn within the muscle.  A grade 1 strain refers to a strain in which 10% of the muscle fibers have been damaged.  Grade 2 can range from 10% and 90% damage, and a level 3 calf strain refers to more than 90% damage to the muscle tissue and may include a complete rupture of the muscle.

It is common for a calf strain to occur during accelerated movements or when a change of direction occurs.  Jumping, for example, is a common catalyst for a strained calf muscle.    A strained calf muscle can also result from over-use or an acute blow to the muscle.  Symptoms of a strained calf include pain and tenderness in the muscle, muscle stiffness, pain when plantar flexing the foot, and bruising in the surrounding area.

A proper warm-up and cool-down regimen can help prevent injury in the calf muscle.  Trigger Point Performance Therapy products and methodologies can play a vital role in this process.  It is best to address the soleus muscle with the use of the Footballer and the gastrocnemius with the TP Massage Balls.

You will want to start by sitting down with the Baller Block in front of you and with the Footballer at the edge of the block farthest from you.  Once this position is achieved, place your leg on top of the Footballer just above the Achille’s tendon and below the “tear-drop” in the mid-calf.

  • Apply pressure, as tolerated, using the hands or opposing leg
  • Rotate your foot 3 times in each direction
  • Bring your knee about 2 inches toward you then straighten, repeat 3-5 times
  • Slowly shift the leg from side to side allowing for cross-friction
  • Stand up and walk around for approximately 60 seconds to increase blood-flow

To work through the gastronemius you will need either two TP Massage Balls, or one TP Ball and a Quadballer.  Sit down with one leg out in front of you and the opposing leg bent behind you, similar to a hurdle sit.

  • Place 1 TP ball, or Quadballer, underneath your calf (your calf should look bulged up)
  • Now take the other TP Ball put it in the palm of your hand and place it on the gastrocnemius muscle, approximately 2 cm. to the medial side of the tibia bone
  • Apply pressure, as tolerated, by allowing body weight to transfer through TP Ball
  • Slowly kneed the muscle, focusing on the most tender areas
  • Stand up and walk around for approximately 60 seconds to increase blood-flow


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