Muscle Tears & Contusions
The calf muscle is comprised of the medial and lateral gastrocnemius muscles situated at the back of the lower leg. Muscle tears occur most often when a muscle or muscle group is eccentrically contracting (contracting whilst lengthening) and at high speed.
For the calf, this position occurs when the foot is flexed up to the front while the knee is straight. Tears are more likely to occur when high amounts of force happen suddenly.
The severity of the calf muscle tear will determine the physiotherapy rehabilitation required and the time to return to full activity. Symptoms may include localised pain, tenderness, weakness, pain on contraction and pain on stretching the muscle.
The hamstrings are the large muscles situated at the back of the thigh that attach to the ischial tuberosity (sitting bone) and insert behind the knee joint.
Hamstring tears often occur when the muscles are eccentrically contracting (contracting whilst lengthening) and at high speed, for example when the leg is lifted to the front while the knee is straight (e.g. kicking a football). However, in the dance population, hamstring tears may also occur in slow stretching, such as splits.
Symptoms may include localised pain, tenderness, weakness, and pain on stretching the muscle. Management requires a physiotherapy assessment to determine the severity of the tear and the appropriate treatment, rehabilitation and return to sport/activity.
The quadriceps femoris muscles are situated at the front of the thigh originating at the anterior inferior iliac spine and inserting into the lower leg via the quadriceps and patella tendon. Quadriceps tears may occur at the end of range when the leg is bent at the knee with the thigh angled behind the body.
Symptoms may include localized pain, tenderness, weakness, pain on contraction and pain on stretching the quadriceps.
The severity of a quadriceps muscle tear will determine the physiotherapy and rehabilitation required and the time it will take to return to full activity.
A direct blow to a muscle with high force to the muscle. This often happens in contact sports. With contusions comes pain, weakness in the muscle, swelling and excessive bleeding and bruising within the muscle. Rest, ice and compression are important in the first 48-72 hours after injury. Following this, strengthening, range of motion and stretching exercises will enhance recovery. Soft tissue massage over the injured are is not recommended within the first 3-5 days post injury.
In more severe cases, contusions may lead to compartment syndrome or heterotopic ossification (bone forming within the muscle), therefore it is important to seek advice from you physiotherapist following a contusion to ensure your recovery is rapid and minimise consequential issues such as muscle weakness.