How to Massage Calf Strains
Sports Massage: Calf Treatment for Runners
Calf self massage & stretch - For SUPER tight calves
Sports Massage for Tight Calf Muscles
Sports massage can help relax tight muscles, improve flexibility and the overall condition of a muscle.
The following sports massage guide is intended for information purposes only. We recommend seeking professional advice before attempting any self help treatment.
IMPORTANT: Before starting any massage treatment the therapist will check for contraindications (if any apply to you, then massage is not allowed).
What equipment is required?
A lubricant is needed to allow the hands to glide smoothly. Oil is the most commonly used form of lubricant. Do not use too much oil. Enough to allow for smooth, controlled movement is required but too much oil may result in less control over the tissues.
A firm, flat surface to lie on in order to apply pressure. The floor, or preferably a massage table is the best surface. A bed is unlikely to provide a firm enough surface to work on.
How can sports massage help?
The aim of sports massage is to release tension in the muscle and stimulate blood flow and healing. More details on the benefits of sports massage are available.
Massage must not be performed during the acute stage of this injury - usually 48 hours after injury. For grade two and three strains, massage may not be suitable for over a week. This is because if there is still bleeding then heat and massage will increase bleeding, causing further damage.
Technique 1: Effleurage
Aim - light stroking to warm up the area in preparation for deeper techniques.
With the hands stroke lightly but firmly upwards from just above the heel to the back of the knee.
Always stroke upwards towards the heart as this is the direction of blood flow. The other way can damage veins.
Then lightly bring the hands down the outside of the leg keeping them in contact but do not apply pressure.
Repeat the whole movement using slow stroking techniques, trying to cover as much of the leg as possible.
Repeat this technique for about 5 to 10 minutes, gradually applying deeper pressure on the up strokes
Technique 2: Petrissage
Aim - kneading movements to manipulate and loosen the muscle fibres more.
With the hands apply a firm, kneading technique. Try to pull half the muscle towards you with the fingers of one hand whilst pushing half the muscle away with the thumb of the other hand.
Then reverse to manipulate the muscle in the other direction.
Work your way up and down the muscle, trying to cover as much of the surface as possible.
Apply this technique for around 5 minutes, alternating with light stroking (above) occasionally.
Technique 3: Stripping the muscle
Aim - to apply sustained pressure to the muscle, ironing out any lumps, bumps and knots.
With both thumbs together, apply deep pressure up the middle of the calf muscle aiming to separate the heads (sides) of the big gastrocnemius muscle.
This technique should be slow and deliberate to 'feel' the muscle underneath.
Repeat this 3 to 5 times in a row, alternating with petrissage for 3 to 5 minutes
Another similar technique is applied with a single thumb, which can be reinforced with a couple of fingers from the other hand if more pressure is required.
A great deal of pressure can be applied with this technique. Massage should be deep but not so deep that the athlete tightens up with pain.
Aim to cover all the muscles in the lower leg, feeling for all the lumps and bumps.
Technique 5: Circular frictions
With either a single thumb, a reinforced thumb as shown, apply pressure in a circular pattern to any tight spots, lumps or bumps.
Apply 10 to 20 circular frictions at a time and alternate with stripping and petrissage techniques.
Frictions can be applied to a specific point in the muscle, or applied over a small area of muscle moving gradually.
Again, pressure should be firm but not so deep as to cause the muscle to tighten up with pain.
Technique 6: Trigger points
If the therapist finds any lumps and bumps or particularly sensitive spots then apply deep, sustained pressure to these points using the thumbs. A trigger point is a localised, highly sensitive point in the muscle.
Increase the pressure on the trigger point until it ranks 7/10 on the pain scale (10 being painful). Hold this pressure until it eases off to 4/10 on the pain scale (usually about 5 seconds).
Without easing off with the pressure, increase again until it reaches 7/10 on the pain scale once more. Hold until it eases, repeat once more.
This technique is very hard on the thumbs. It is important to keep the thumb slightly bent (flexed) when applying pressure to avoid damaging the joints.
The therapist can finish off with more petrissage techniques and then finally effleurage again. The whole process should not last more than half an hour.
Massage therapy can be applied every day if it is performed lightly however deeper techniques may require a rest day inbetween to allow tissues to 'recover'.
For rehabilitation of muscle strains, sports massage is very important in softening / preventing scar tissue forming at the site of injury and re-aligning the new healing fibres in the direction of the muscle fibres. This will help prevent re-injury.
Release Tight Calf Muscles For Runners - Body Leadership Australia
How to Loosen a Tight Calf Muscle
Last Updated: Oct 23, 2013 | By Michelle Zehr
Calf stretches can help loosen tight muscles. Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images
Your calf consists of two muscles: the gastronemius and the soleus. These muscles allow for movement of your foot and ankle. Tight calf muscles are a common complaint. They occur as a result of living a sedentary lifestyle or because of strenuous exercise. Stiff calf muscles can be painful and limit your ability to participate in physical activity, but simple stretching exercises can help to loosen them.
Stretch your gastronemius -- your outer calf muscle -- by first sitting on the floor with both legs extended in front of you with your heels touching the ground and your toes pointed toward the ceiling. Loop a resistance band around the balls of your feet and hold a resistance band end in each hand. Slowly flex your feet in the direction of your body. Stretch until you feel a pull in the back of your leg, and hold this position for a count of five. Relax. Repeat one set of 10 repetitions.
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Perform a soleus -- inner calf -- stretch. Sit on the floor with your left leg straight and the other bent with your heel touching the floor. Grasp your left foot and pull it in the direction of your body as far as you comfortably can, keeping your heel on the floor. Hold this position for a count of five. Relax and repeat. Complete one set of 10 repetitions for each leg.
Stretch your Achilles tendon, which attaches your heel to your calf. Sit on the ground with your left leg straight and your right leg bent. Slide your right heel as close to your buttock as possible. Slowly pull the top of your foot closer to your body while your heel remains on the ground. Hold this position for five seconds. Relax and repeat 10 times for each heel.
Perform calf raises by first standing with your hands holding the back of a chair or table. Slowly raise your heels off the ground so that you are standing on your toes and the balls of your feet. You should feel a stretch in your calf muscles. Hold this position for a few seconds. Relax and repeat. Complete one set of 10 repetitions.
If you experience tight calf muscles in addition to pain, stiffness, bruising, weakness or tenderness, visit your physician. You may be experiencing a strain, rupture or tear in your calf muscle. Only your doctor can make an accurate diagnosis.
To reduce your risk of injury, always warm up and stretch before beginning any exercise program or participation in sports. Five to 10 minutes of warm-ups can help to loosen your muscles and prevent injuries.
Tight Calf Muscles
Tight calf musclesA common problem in athletes is tight calf muscles, especially in runners. We look at symptoms, causes and treatment options to release muscle tightness.
The calf muscle group consists of the gastrocnemius muscle and the soleus muscle. The symptoms are a gradual tightening in the calf muscles which can get worse when running or improve while running only to tighten up later.
What causes tight calf muscles?
Tight calf muscles may be caused by a compartment syndrome. This is where the muscle becomes too big for the sheath surrounding the muscle causing pressure, sometimes pain and restricted movement.
Biomechanical problems of the foot or from running style can increase the strain on the calf muscles. Gait analysis on a treadmills can identify this and orthotic inserts may be prescribed to correct this.
Calf muscles may have gradually tightened up over a period of months through not stretching enough before and after training. Tiny micro tears in the muscles cause them to go into spasm. When they are in spasm or contracted then blood cannot easily get into them. The muscles have squeezed the blood out like a sponge. If the muscles do not get enough blood then they will not get enough nutrients and so will tighten up to protect themselves and weaken and so on.
What can the athlete do?
Calf stretchingHave the flexibility of the muscles tested and undertake a course of regular calf muscle stretching exercises which should be continued for at least 6 weeks.
See a sports massage therapist who can give a deep massage. Depending on how bad it is they might need three or more treatments. It is important the gap between them is not too long as they will regress back to their original condition.
Plantar fasciitis night splintUse a plantar fasciitis night splint which stretches the muscles over night or at least prevents them from tightening up which often happens over night. The night splint may take a little bit of getting used to but can be very effective in helping to stretch the calf muscles.
Try stretching with a calf stretcher. These come in various designs. The slant board type are good for being a bit more scientific about your stretching in that measuring progress is easier. A rocker type calf stretcher is very effective at achieving a very deep stretch.
Why do I stretch but seem to get nowhere?
Calf stretcherYou might not be stretching enough even though you think you are. You might be stretching too hard. If you force the muscle the stretch reflex is triggered which contracts it. By going against this you are damaging the muscle. Stretch gently, do not bounce, ease into it and feel the muscle stretching.
If it is just one leg that is tight you could have pressure on the sciatic nerve which causes the tightness. You should get this sorted out first by visiting a professional practitioner.
It might be you have a compartment syndrome. If pain or tightness comes on during a run and eases when resting this may be a possiblity.
Try the plantar fasciitis night splint which is worn on the foot over night and is very effective in preventing the calf muscles from tightening up over night.
Orientado a tratar de forma localizada y profunda algún tipo de bloqueo físico o psicosomático. De acuerdo con ello el masaje terapéutico puede ser general o local, actuando de forma directa sobre un músculo, un órgano o una dolencia específica como una contractura o una lumbalgia.
30 minutos: 20€
60 minutos: 30€
Para alcanzar el bienestar general del paciente, promoviendo su relajación a través del tacto y la conciencia sensorial, haciendo más fluida la circulación y relación entre las diversas partes del cuerpo. Se utiliza como método en sí mismo o como complemento de todo tipo de tratamientos que busquen elevar la calidad de vida del paciente.
Masaje relajante de espalda
Masaje relajante de piernas y pies
Masaje relajante de cuello y cabeza
30 minutos: 25€
60 minutos: 35€
Masaje mas fuerte estimulador y vigoroso que sirve tanto a deportistas como para personas que realizan cualquier tipo de actividad física. Se aplica para alcanzar una puesta en forma óptima, prevenir y evitar lesiones así como acelerar la rehabilitación de las mismas.
Prevención de lesiones
40 minutos: 25€
Martin Julian Fabbro
Consulta en El Altet (Elche) y a domicilio.
Movil: 667 75 15 49
Nota: El servicio de masaje a domicilio tendrá un cargo adicional de 10 € por el desplazamiento.
El tiempo de duración del masaje es aproximado.