LIFESTYLE NEWS - Exercise is one of the ways to improve your physical well-being and it aids in great measure to get rid of ailments, aches and pains. Follow the exercise programme provided by the biokineticists at Anine van der Westhuizen Biokineticist in George and feel the difference. This week biokineticist Lize Coetzee discusses calf muscle injury.
A pulled calf muscle refers to strains within the two muscles in the lower back of your leg that make up your calf.
They're called the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. When a strain occurs, muscle fibres are torn to some degree.
A pulled calf muscle occurs when your internal muscles are overstretched from exercise. This is a common injury, especially among athletes and runners, and occurs during acceleration or changes in direction, e.g. a change in running speed.
Pulled calf muscles may be chronic from long-term injury or acute from brief overpulling.
Calf strain is categorised from grade 1 (minor) to grade 3 (very severe). The grade is determined by diagnostic tests such as MRI or diagnostic ultrasound. Grade one calf muscle tears are caused by mild overstretching resulting in some micro tears in the calf muscle fibres.
Grade two calf muscle tears result in partial tearing of your muscle fibres. A grade three calf tear is the most severe calf strain with a complete tearing or rupture of your calf muscle fibres.
It is important to determine whether a severe injury is a ruptured Achilles tendon or a grade 3 calf muscle tear. Diagnostic assessment utilising ultrasound or MRI is recommended.
After the grade of injury has been determined, treatment can be started. If it is a grade three muscle strain, the doctors will determine if surgical repair is needed or if you can start with conservative treatment. Treatment usually consist of six phases. Phase one is early injury protection - pain reduction and anti-inflammatory treatment. Phase two is where you regain full range of motion.
Phase three involves the restoring of concentric muscle strength. Phase four includes working on eccentric muscle strength.
After phase four one incorporates more activity-specific exercises, focusing on restoring high speed, power, proprioception and agility. And the last phase is seen as your return to sport. We as biokineticists begin to do rehabilitation as early as in phase three. Our main focus is to ensure that the correct movement patterns and loading are followed to ensure safe recovery and to prevent re-injury.
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