Leg Injuries

Anatomy and Physiology of the Leg

leg injury

The lower leg is particularly unique in that no part of the lower leg can work independently – meaning that the entire lower leg must work together regardless of the required movement. The lower leg contains only two bones: The tibia is the larger medial bone and the fibula is the smaller lateral bone.

Both of these bones provide extensive support for the calf muscles that attach to the Achilles tendon. Both the tibia and fibula bones are susceptible to stress fractures brought on by high-impact and/or stressful repetitive movement.

The muscles of the lower leg are compartmentalized into four groups. The anterior compartment, located in the front of the shin, contains the hallucus longus, extensor digitorum longus and the peroneus tertius which help pull the foot upwards. The lateral compartment consists of several muscles which aid in eversion of the foot and plantarflexion.

The deep posterior compartment contains various muscles that insert into the toes, and they all help plantarflexion, toe flexion and inversion. Finally, the posterior compartment consists of the gastrocnemius, soleus and plantaris muscles, all of which make up the calf section and attach to the Achilles tendon. This deep posterior compartment is where the majority of lower leg muscle strains and cramps occur.

Calf Strain

Calf Strain injuries occur when speed and direction changes are made rapidly and result in a portion of the calf muscle is pulled or torn.

Compartment Syndrome

Compartment Syndrome occurs when muscles place pressure on nearby vessels and nerves causing pain, numbness and weakness.

External Iliac Arteriopathy

External Iliac Arteriopathy is the narrowing or blockage of the external iliac artery due to repetitive exercise, causing weakness and fatigue.

Hamstrings Pull or Tear

Hamstrings Pull or Tear injuries are related to continuous running where quick accelerations, decelerations and sudden turns are made.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial Band Syndrome is related to the iliotibial band becoming irritated and inflamed and causing pain throughout the entire knee area.

Muscle Cramps

Muscle Cramps typically occur within the muscles of the lower portion of the body and are involuntary muscle contractions and spasms.

Muscle Sprains and Strains

Muscle Sprains and Strains are injuries associated with the ligament that connects bone to bone (Sprain) or connects muscle to bone (Strain).

Pulled or Strained Calf Muscle

Pulled or Strained Calf Muscle occurs when part of the soleus or gastrocnemius muscles of the lower leg are torn from the Achilles tendon.

Quadriceps Pull or Tear

Quadriceps Pull or Tear injuries are related to the muscles that are located in the front of the thigh and attach to the knee cap via a tendon.

Quadriceps Pull Treatment

Quadriceps Pull Treatment for mild cases involves elevating the thigh above the chest and icing the thigh for 20 minutes at a time.

Shin Splints

Shin Splints injuries are generally due to an accumulation of repetitive stress on the front of the lower leg where the shin bone is located.

Stress Fracture of the Foot

Stress Fractures can occur when an overload of stress is placed on the foot, resulting in small fractures of the toe or metatarsal bones.