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Posted by Victoria Thompson, Apr 3 2012 3:54PM

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Calf injury

I have a client with a calf injury sustained when exercising. She experienced a popping sound and discomfort and had to stop exercising immediately as she couldn't put pressure on that leg. She applied ice straight away and now cannot move her foot to the left easily and her calf is tight and foot is numb. She experienced a little pain but felt like she had been hit from behind. There is hardness and a little swelling at the point of insertion of the achilles and the gastrocnemius but no bruising. I am wondering whether to advise her to visit her GP as it I am not sure if it is a achilles strain or a minor tear (she is also raising her leg and applying ice intermittently and gently stretching now) and depending on the injury whether very gentle massage would help now (several hours after the injury) and then deeper in a few days. I have told her to be gentle with it and not repeat the exercises until she feels no pain or discomfort in her calf and to keep from using it unnecessarily for a few days. Anyone any ideas or similar experiences ? Thanks !
Nicki Lee
Apr 3 2012 7:25PM
This is only general advice, as would depend on assessment of the client, but

I would Not massage the area at all for at least 2 days. If swelling could massage distally to help reduce, but should never massage directly over injury area while acute.

If her foot is numb she should see GP as may be nerve damage, but it depends on exactly what she means by 'numb'. Total lack of sensation, pins and needles... this can be a vague term.

I can't give a lot more here as it's third hand, but hopefully this will be enough to get you going. She has treated correctly, at least, but icing and resting.

Nicki Lee
Apr 3 2012 7:33PM
Sorry, I was unclear - I meant to say could possibly massage from above the injury site toward the body, if there was swelling to help reduce.
Cameron Reid
Apr 3 2012 9:21PM
Squeeze her calf and see if her foot plantarflexes. If it does it indicates that her achilles is intact. Get her to put a tubigrip round the calf and achilles for temporay support. Ice etc will help. massage to the non painful areas will help, and as it settles down you will be able to treat the muscle areas around the achilles tendon. It is likely she has suffered a significant tear of the achilles tendon. Let us know how she proceeds Cameron Reid
Victoria Thompson
Apr 3 2012 9:45PM
Thank you all for your help - I will keep you posted !

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