The calf muscles consist of the Gastrocnemius which is the big muscle at the back of the lower leg and the Soleus muscle which is a smaller muscle lower down in the leg and under the Gastrocnemius. Both muscles act to plantarflex the ankle (point the foot away from the body). As gastrocnemius attaches above the knee it also helps with bending the knee. In this position, with the knee bent, soleus becomes the main plantarflexor.
A calf strain may be more likely in athletes who have tight calf muscles, but it can happen to anyone who doesn’t warm up enough before taking long walks. There are several steps for treating a calf strain. Applying rest, ice, compression and elevation of the muscle is essential. Also, cold therapy should be applied as soon as possible to help to quickly stop any internal bleeding. Wearing heel pads also help, but always use them in both legs to avoid creating muscle imbalances and ending up with back injuries.
Among some of the causes for calf strains there is dehydration, calcium deficiency, the presence of trace minerals and magnesium. When you suffer from a calf strain the best aid you can give yourself is giving your legs a rest, and avoid taking long walks and runs, increasing your mileage gradually. Massaging the calf also helps to speed up recovery.
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