Do you also belong to sport enthusiasts, who love movement and like go for a run? Did you ever felt a pain in your calf muscle and didn’t know what to do? Then this article is for you.
There can be several reasons why you feel pain in your calf during or after any physical activity or also even during walking. We will ignore cases that have been caused by a sudden injury, which basically immobilize us and restrict any movement and demand a medical treatment. Instead we will focus on the pain which affects us during the activity or day or two the activity, especially after walking into a hill or stairs.
As everyone knows, each diseases, injury or pain is a warning signal of our nervous system, which we should not underestimate. Runners most commonly complain about pulled calf muscle, which is a result of going over the muscle tension, which normal muscle fibres can withstand. Is it to abstract? Then believe that pulled muscle is usually a result of excessive overload, insufficient warm up, or muscle fatigue. The cause of pulled muscles can also be dehydration or higher acidity of the organism. Pulled muscles also often occur during colder temperatures, when the organism is insufficiently warmed up and ready for the physical activity. And it doesn’t usually happen to regular sports person, but to those who move only once in a while who cannot assess their abilities, they don’t warm up and injure themselves right in the beginning. Repeated pulled muscles can lead to muscle rupture (torn muscle).
Another common injury is muscle inflammation. Inflammation is a form of recovery of the damaged structure. Usually it affects the internal tissues (muscles, tendons or ligaments). Acute inflammation can be manifested by pain, edema or redness. Function of the given area is damaged. Chronic inflammation often hurts, but it is not manifested by edema. It occurs during repeated overload with a certain disbalance - muscles disbalance, disorder of the muscle dynamics and also position of the bones against each other.
If you feel pain in your calf while walking, and stopping doesn’t lead to relief - relief comes after lifting the leg up, you can also suffer from chronic venous insufficiency. Which is different from leg ischemia, when the pain is fixed to walking and forces the person to stop which brings a quick relief. These pains are occurring usually in the calves and patients compare it to a dog bite. The pain occurs even during a peaceful regime in a later stage of the disease, especially at night.
Important part of any physical activity should be sufficient warm up followed by stretching. We often meet with recreational runners who leave out this part of their “training”, so there is a higher risk of mentioned problems and pain. The calf muscle is combined of two parts, and each part needs a stretching in a slightly different position - one with stretched knee, second one with bent knee - which is often left out. In a cooler period it is important to accommodate your clothing to the outdoor conditions. Cold increases the risk of injury in the calf muscle, for example ruptured Achilles tendon. When it comes to chronic venous insufficiency, it is important relax your legs enough and rest, avoid long standing and especially sitting, watch your weight, cholesterol levels and sugar in the blood.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
Most effective way of how to get rid of pain in the calf muscle is to visit a physiotherapist or orthopedist, who will diagnose the problem and offer you adequate solution.
As very effective and proven method for treating the chronic diseases, but also acute pain of the calf muscle has proved to be application of focused shock wave therapy. It is modern and non-invasive technique for treating the musculoskeletal system. In combination with physical therapy you will feel relief much faster, than by conservative methods. We call this program Focus All-Inclusive. Apart from machine aid, we also apply classical physiotherapy, which is suitable especially for stabilization of the knees, ankles and forming muscle balance, by which we preventively work against overload on the calf muscles.
Try out these exercises:
- First aid during calf pain
- Exercises against calf pain
Another optional therapy is kinesio taping. There are many possibilities with many uses. The effect depends on the application. We can either stimulate the muscle to activity or we can help to relieve and relax the muscle. We can also stabilize the position of the knee joints or ankles, or even lower the swelling- if it formed after injury or caused by venous insufficiency. The freedom of movement in the joints is not restricted. Kinesio tape affects muscle function, tendons, ligaments, blood and lymphatic stream.
Mechanical lymphatic drainage is ideal for physically active individuals, it supports faster drainage of the catabolites (product of catabolism) of the cell metabolism, which accelerates the regeneration of the muscles and other tissues. Mechanical lymphatic drainage is applied also during chronic venous insufficiency, because if supports the stimulation of the blood vessels system in the whole body.
We also can’t forget that the pain in the legs can flow from other segments of our body. Very often it can be pain transferred from lumbar spine. If you have calf pain and at the same time back pain, please read the following articles related to pain in the lumbar spine:
- Blocked lumbar spine (“Houser”), acute back pain, inflammation of the sitting nerve
- How to help yourself during acute blockage of the lumbar spine - first aid and instructions for exercising
- Running and pain in the lumbar spine
- Exercises for removing the pain in the lumbar spine and sacrum
Author: FYZIOklinika physiotherapy Ltd., Prague, Czech Republic
Source: magazine Kondice