What is Gastrocnemius Recession?

Gastrocnemius recession is a surgical procedure to treat gastrocnemius equinis, or significant tightness in the calf muscle not helped by stretching. This disorder causes the toes to point downward and makes it difficult to walk on the heel. It is often an inherited condition, but can also be caused by neurological disorders, injury, age, or shrinkage of the muscle after being immobilized (such as in a cast) for a long period of time. In some cases the ankle twists to compensate for the tighter calf muscle, making the foot appear nearly normal but leading to problems when walking.

During a gastrocnemius recession, a surgeon makes an incision through the calf muscle, releasing tension in the calf. When the muscle heals, it heals in a looser and longer state, allowing the foot and ankle to work properly. After surgery, you may be required to wear a brace or boot for several weeks to help your calf heal correctly. Physical therapy is also an important part of recovery, as it helps you stretch and strengthen your muscles.

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