Top Tip #2 – Calf Strains

The second week of our top tips column for Harbourside is all about calf strains! Calf strains are a very common injury, particularly in sports involving running, jumping and sharp turns (like netball!).

The strain usually starts with a sharp pain in the belly of your calf muscle, although it could come on more gradually if the injury builds over a few weeks.

If you do feel a sharp pain in the muscle it is important you stop playing immediately. A muscle strain is caused by a tear in the muscle fibres, if you keep playing you run the risk of increasing the size of the tear and in turn, increasing your recovery time.

Apply ice immediately and continue to do so every 20 minutes for the first 24 hours. If you notice severe bruising or swelling, make sure you get one of our Physiotherapy team to assess it for you.

In the first few days it’s important that you keep your ankle and knee mobile. Practicing bending and straightening your knee and drawing circles with your ankle to avoid stiffening up. Once symptoms have improved and you can walk pain free, try standing on your tip toes. This will give you a good idea of how well you’re recovering.

The severity of the strain can significantly change how quickly you can expect to be back playing. A mild injury could heal within a few days, a significant tear could take up to 8 weeks. To help get an accurate idea of timeframes come along and see our Proactive Physio at either Harbourside or in our Tauranga or Papamoa clinics.

As I mentioned in the last column, the research shows us that getting 8-10 hours of sleep significantly improves the rate of recovery. You can also help yourself by eating well! Foods such as ginger, garlic and coconut oil all have anti-inflammatory properties, alongside a multi with vitamin A & C, which can be helpful in the first few days post injury.

Any concerns have a chat to our Physio who are courtside on Wednesday and Friday evenings!

See you on the court!

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