Acute calf muscle tears


Tears of the medial head of gastrocnemius are common, especially in the older or intermittent athlete – the so-called ‘weekend warrior’. Males are more commonly affected, mainly aged in their 40s to 60s. The term ‘tennis leg’ has been coined for the condition, as it commonly occurs during this sport, but it may happen with any activity that involves a forceful push-off with the foot.


The gastrocnemii are the two large superficial muscles making up the bulk of the calf. 

They are the primary dorsiflexors of the foot, but are also weak knee flexors. The medial one is most prone to acute injury and is involved in around 80% of cases. 

It may occur in instances where the player lunges forward and the back leg is straightened with the foot dorsiflexed. In this position the calf is at maximal stretch.

A push off, or