Symptoms and tips for Calf Injuries

Achilles Rupture

This is when the Achilles tendon snaps completely and needs urgent assessment. We will refer you for a Ultrasound scan and then there will be either a orthopaedic decision to treat you in a cast or with surgery. 

  • A popping sound 
  • A feeling like someone has kick you in the leg 
  • There can be significant pain but not always 
  • A loss of power in the leg 


  •  A lump in your Achilles

  • ​Pain when you begin to run that may ease the longer you run

  • ​Is your Achilles painful on loading first thing in the morning?

Achilles Tendonopathy
The Achilles tendon is the strongest and thickest tendon in the body. It transfers the forces from the calf muscles (Gastrocnemius & Soleus)  into the foot during propulsive movements such as walking, running and jumping. These forces during explosive activities can be as high as 8 times the individual’s body weight.
A sudden single episode, repetitive injury or strain, weakness or genetic factors can all cause a painful Achilles Tendonopathy. Symptoms vary largely between individuals in pain onset and severity.

Tips for Achilles Tendinopathy 

Successful treatment form has been found using the Alfredson Protocol, however the tendon must be at the appropriate phase for this to be beneficial. Apply it too soon and you could make the tendon worse ( become reactive). Physiotherapists are excellent at identify which phase the tendon is and advising which loading strategy to use. The key message is No stimuli (loading), no protein production, no remodelling = NO RECOVERY!
Stretching of no benefit to tendon recovery

This protocol concentrates on eccentrically loading the tendon; i.e. emphasis on the “lowering phase” of the exercise.

Basically the aim of the Treatment is to adapt the tendon to take the load needed to perform again functionally, by increasing load in a progressive manner towards full function. The emphasis is on the “lowering” phase and this should be performed slowly. i.e. 1 count up onto toes 2-3 counts lowering heel down.
If NO pain is felt during exercise, load (weight) needs to be increased until moderate pain is felt.
It’s OK to hurt up to 40 minutes post exercise, this is normal and the correct response to the exercise.
Start at pain, often partially loaded, progress once pain is absent.
Home → Backpack → Gym
Below is the basic loading regime, if followed correctly you should expect  some improvement in your symptoms. A Physiotherapist can show you the progressions to this regime with the sports specific or training specific exercises required to return you to best. We recommend that you consult a clinician at Physiosouth for ongoing appropriate management
3 x 15 Straight and bent knee
2 x per day – 3x per week for 12 weeks
Using both legs to rise up onto toes, then standing on your affected leg only, control lowering the heel as low as possible.
Remember if you Achilles worsens or pain is severe then get it assess

Calf Strain

  • A tightneing sensation in the calf
  • Pain that stops you from playing/ running on 
  • Bruising in the calf 
  • Swelling in the calf 
  • Unable to push off while walking 

Tips for Calf Strains 

RICE and HARM protocols should be followed for 72 hours 
A heel raise may help initially to get moving 
To reactivate back into sport a progressive loading program should be followed from basic calf raises  right through to plyometrics 
A foam roller/ dry needling may be beneficial after the acute swelling has settled