Calf Strain

Calf strains are synonymous with running sports and activities. Everything from running a marathon to sprinting to catch the bus can result in strains to the calf muscle complex. The “calf muscle” usually refers to the large muscle that’s sit on the back of your shin, the gastrocnemius muscle.

Technically there are three muscles that make up the calf. The gastrocnemius s the most prominate muscle on the back of the calf, usually accentuated in cyclists. The soleus muscle sits behind the gastrocnemius, close to the back surface of the shin bone. Finally there is a very small muscle, the plantaris, which assists the other two muscles in bending your knee and pointing your foot.


A strain to the calf can result in a cramp like feeling or a tearing sensation, which can result in localized swelling and possible bruising to the area. Calf strains may cause pain while going up and down stairs, walking up an incline and conducting other daily mobile activities.

Physical therapy treatments for calf strains assist in settling down the pain, maintaining and improving your existing movement, and helping you to return to the activities you love doing sooner.