Calf Injuries Occur A Lot More With Age

As we get older, the strength in our muscles begins to decrease if we don’t focus on making them stronger.

The calf muscle is actually called the Gastrocnemius, it’s usually one of the muscles that goes unnoticed to be worked on. However, if you are walking, running or doing fast movements in your day-to-day routine, this muscle needs focus. The irritation to the calf muscle can be done by acceleration or changes in direction e.g. fast switch in running speed/change of direction. Calf muscle injuries are common and affect more individuals than we realise! Injuries to the calf can occur when you are doing any form of physical activity, purely in regard to the fibres not having enough strength to support the movement you want it to perform.

How ageing plays a role in muscle strength:

  • Weakens the ‘fast twitch’ fibres that allow your body to perform and recover from fast-paced movements or directional changes
  • Less muscular strength – more prone to fatigue

There are THREE Grades we regularly discuss at Progressive:

Grade 1: (Minor) –

  • Over stretching of the muscle or being overworked in a session
  • These encourage small micro tears in the muscle fibres
  • Recovery 1-2 weeks depending on the severity of the injury

Grade 2: (Partial) –

  • Partial tearing of the muscle fibres
  • A full recovery can take up to a good 6 weeks
  • Any fast or high load movements will be limited, as it can very quickly spark a relapse

Grade 3: (Full) –

  • Most severe tear/strain with a complete or rupture of your calf muscle
  • Directly under the calf muscles, lies your achilles: the first point of contact will be to ensure this isn’t the source of the injury
  • Full recovery can take several months and for a period of time after, the muscle may never be the same

To ensure you take care of your calf muscle and to decrease your chance of getting an injury:

  • Strengthen the area’s surrounding muscle groups e.g. the hamstrings, achilles and quads
  • When running, protect your calf by getting proper shoes that disburse the impact of your feet hitting the ground

Elin, is an alumni of St. Edward’s University and holder of a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, furthered her academic journey by attaining a Doctor of Physiotherapy from Macquarie University in 2022.

Her passion for sports, particularly football (soccer), is evident in both her academic pursuits and personal endeavors. Specialising in the comprehensive well-being of athletes, Elin focuses on restoring them to peak performance while actively preventing future injuries.

Elin’s professional expertise is centered on musculoskeletal rehabilitation, with a specific emphasis on addressing and preventing knee injuries. Her approach integrates expert treatment with a commitment to educating and empowering patients, fostering their active involvement in enhancing their health and overall quality of life.

As an active participant in NPL football with SD Raiders, Elin brings firsthand experience and a profound understanding of the sport’s demands. Beyond the field, she extends her influence by contributing sports coverage over the weekends.

Christopher (Chris) Han graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy, and then completed the Doctor of Physiotherapy program at Macquarie University in 2018. Chris is currently undertaking his PhD at the University of Sydney and Institute for Musculoskeletal Health in the field of low back pain and is due to complete this in early 2024. 

Chris is currently an assistant Physiotherapist for the NRL Referees. Chris has previous experience as the head Physiotherapist at Panthers Premier League Netball and a number of elite sporting athletes in the private setting.

Through Chris’ experiences, he has a particular interest in all areas of the body and musculoskeletal physiotherapy, sports, vestibular rehabilitation, and Men’s Health (pre and post prostate surgery).

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, in cardiac rehabilitation, neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since working at Progressive, Andrea has a specialist interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries, helping people in the mid-late stage of rehab to get them to return to sport or work. As well as helping people manage chronic conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and diabetes.