Calf Strain Rehabilitation

Our Calf strain rehabilitation program has been designed by elite level Sports Physiotherapist Phil Pask. It is based on what an elite athlete would do and adapted for people of all ages and abilities.

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Calf strain rehabilitation program structure

The program is based around 4 phases with an aditional 5th injury prevention/mitigation phase.

It is criteria based rather than timeline based. At each stage you need to reach specific critera before moving onto the next level. Our progress check quizzes help you decide when it is safe to move on or if you need to remain at the current stage bit longer.


Phase 1

Phase 1 begins immediately after injury and can last from 48 hours to 2 weeks or more depending on how bad your injury is.

The aim of phase 1 is to reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling as well as protect the tissue from re-injury and delaying recovery.

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Phase 2

calf strain rehabilitation

The aim of phase two is to safely get to a stage where the injury site is strong enough to withstand functional loading such as a single leg heel raise, step up and downs, or cycling without the risk of re-injury.

This not only includes progressive loading of the calf but also the restoration of function in the ankle, knee, and hip, concentrating not only on strength but also movement control and balance.

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Phase 3

The aim of phase 3 of our Calf strain rehabilitation program is to strengthen the injured muscle sufficiently to safely progress to dynamic and more explosive movements such as hopping, jumping, and running.

This means adding load to the calf and speeding up movement patterns.

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Phase 4

Calf strain rehabilitation

Although by now you will be feeling pretty good, it is important to complete this phase. This is the end stage where we focus even more on sports-specific type exercises with higher, more unpredictable loads.

If you skip phase 4 you may run the risk of re-injury. Treatment is less important now and the emphasis is on exercises.

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Phase 5 Calf strain rehabilitation

Phase 5 is aimed at preventing re-injury. We would suggest that you use the next 6 weeks to monitor the effect of loading on your calf.

In order to mitigate against future injury or re-injury, you may need to keep a check on your volume of training whist maintaining your basic strength exercises a couple of times a week.


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Calf Strain rehabilitation program exercises

The program includes over 80 exercises which we have separated into the following categories:

Mobility & stretching

These exercises are aimed at maintaining normal joint range of movement in the ankles, hips and knees, as well as the calf muscles themselves.

Activation exercises

These are designed to keep the muscles firing and toned. In particular the hip and gluteal muscles, important for later in the Calf strain rehabilitation program.

Strengthening exercises

This is where the main calf muscle strengthening is done. Strengthening exercises become progressively more difficult and sports related as you progress.

Movement control

These exercises focus on co-ordination and proprioception. They include balance exercises which become progressively more difficult throughout the phases.

Functional exercises

Functional exercises are sports or activity related and begin with simple walking/running technique drills and progress through to more advanced agility and speed exercises.


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This article has been written with reference to the bibliography.
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