The lower limb consists of the thigh, the lower leg and the foot. The muscles that make up the lower leg are the anterior tibial muscles that lift your foot and toes up, and your calves that point your foot down. The calf muscles are made up of two muscles called the gastrocnemius and the soleus, and they merge together to form the very thick achilles tendon, which then inserts onto the back of the heel bone.
Your calves are extremely important as they are the main factor that propel us forward during normal walking, as well as accelerating to gain speed when running. They are also very important in normal standing to help balance and stability. Due to the amount of work from the calves during the day, it is very common to have a calf injury.
A calf injury involves a tear of the muscle fibres of the either the gastrocnemius and the soleus, with the medial head of the gastrocnemius being the most common at the musculotendinous junction. These tears can be very painful and limit walking for 1-2 weeks, followed by a period of weakness and mild aching. Once seen by your physiotherapist you will undergo rehabilitation with calf strengthening exercises, and a gentle calf stretch program to help the fibers heal. A calf injury generally takes 6 weeks to heal with well guided calf strengthening and calf stretch exercises.