Research focus: trigger point therapy for calf pain

We are constantly reading, researching and investigating issues relating to the work we do. In our recent research we’ve read an interesting research study looking at calf (triceps surae) dysfuntion and whether trigger point therapy is an effective treatment. Alongside the trigger point treatment that was administered, subjects were advised on home care using a programme of stretching and foam rollering.

The abstract from the paper is in the text below, if you want to have a look – the results show that following treatment to deactivate trigger points the subjects had better range of movement in the ankle, less pain and better function. If you’re interested in knowing more about this study pop round for a chat.

Myofascial trigger point therapy for triceps surae dysfunction:
A case series (Rob Grieve, Sue Barnett, Nikki Coghill, Fiona Cramp)



The main aim of the case series was to inform further experimental research to determine the effectiveness of myofascial trigger point (MTrP) therapy for the treatment of triceps surae dysfunction.


Ten participants with triceps surae dysfunction were recruited (4 females and 6 males); mean age ± standard deviation = 43 ± 7.1 years.


Participants were screened for inclusion/exclusion criteria and the following outcomes measures were assessed at baseline and discharge; lower extremity functional scale (LEFS), verbal numerical rating scale (NRS), MTrP prevalence, ankle dorsiflexion range of movement (ROM) and pressure pain threshold (PPT). Intervention involved trigger point (TrP) pressure release, self MTrP release and a home stretching programme.


There was a high prevalence of active/latent MTrPs and possible myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) for all 10 participants at baseline. Active MTrP prevalence decreased to 0%, while latent MTrPs were still present at discharge. There were positive changes in most outcome measures (LEFS, NRS, ROM and PPT) for all 10 participants. Short term to medium term treatment outcomes (6 week post discharge) showed an overall mean LEFS increase of 11 points from 61/80 at baseline to 72/80 at discharge.


This case series suggests that a brief course of multimodal MTrP therapy would be helpful for some patients with sub-acute or chronic calf pain. Important preliminary data was gathered, that will inform more rigorous research in this under investigated area.


  • Case series
  • Triceps surae
  • Calf dysfunction
  • Myofascial trigger point therapy

Manual Therapy
Volume 18, Issue 6 , Pages 519-525, December 2013


NB. ‘triceps surae’ is the name given to two muscles in your calf, the gastrocnemius and soleus. If you’re confused by the ‘tri’ aspect, then rest assured there are three muscle heads involved as your gastrocnemius has two heads.


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