Calf pain refers to any type of pain or discomfort on the lower leg, anywhere from below the back side of the knee to above the ankle. Because the calves consist of muscle tissues, blood vessels, nerves, tendons, and ligaments, it is difficult to determine the exact cause of the pain without undergoing medical consultations. Calf pain may result from minor muscle strains to more serious deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and peripheral vascular diseases (PVD) which both require immediate medical attention. Trapped nerves and torn Achilles tendon may also cause calf pains. They are less serious than DVT and PVD but require weeks of treatment for full recovery.
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Fortunately, the majority of the cases associated with calf pain are caused by cramps and strained muscle tissues. They can be treated at home using simple procedures, exercises, and medications. Remember that if any of these suggested home remedies does not relieve the pain after a week, consult your doctor immediately. Also, seek medical attention if you are not sure whether muscle strain or cramps is the root of your calf pain.
Don’t let calf pain stop you from keeping fit. Learn more about the possible solutions and get back to your training plan in no time.
Rest is the best remedy.
Rest is perhaps the best remedy to a strained calf muscle. Sometimes, rest is enough to relieve calf pain. During the recovery period, avoid prolonged standing or any activity that can aggravate the injury. You may use crutches or a footrest to minimize the amount of weight exerted onto your calves. While resting, elevate your legs to heart level. This helps in reducing the pressure on your legs and assists in draining excess fluid in the swollen area.
Apply hot or cold compress.
Cold compress, when applied right after the injury, is effective in reducing the swelling of your calves. It restricts blood flow and minimizes your muscles’ sensitivity to pain. Hot compress, on the other hand, is more effective while recovering. It relaxes your calves and stimulates blood circulation for muscle repair.
Calf pain with acute swelling can often be relieved by taking medications. Doctors usually prescribe NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) for patients with calf pain induced by muscle strain.
Perform conditioning exercises.
After recovery, consider incorporating a couple of routines to improve control, balance, and strength of your legs. Perform Leg Bounds by running for 100 meters while keeping your knees locked and legs straight. Focus on the movement of your glute and hip muscles. Perform Lunges by bending one leg in front and extending the other at the back. Tighten your core muscles and twist on your hips on every lunge. Repeat 15 times for each set.
You may also consult a physical therapist to assist in rehabilitation and to help you in bringing your legs’ range of motion back to normal.
Prevention is the key.
Regular stretching of your calf muscles or getting a massage after training reduces the risk of cramps and muscle strain in the future. Calf compression sleeves also help you recover from strenuous workouts. It increases blood flow and provides more oxygen to your calves. It also prevents lactic acid buildup which triggers leg cramps. Know more about the best compression sleeves for calf and shin here.