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

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, working in the cardiac rehabilitation program, heart failure service and mental health unit at Nepean Hospital. And at the ACU Exercise and Lifestyle Clinic working with clients with neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since graduating, Andrea enjoys working with a variety of clients. She has a particular interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions, striving to help people increase their functional capacity to get them back to work, sport or the things they love doing.