Everyone will experience muscle strain at some point in their lives. The calf muscles, officially known as the triceps surae, are quite commonly injured for runners and some athletes. The pain may occur as a result of insufficient stretching prior to intense physical activity, or may even be caused by a muscle fiber tear. Should you suffer a mild calf muscle pain, it may be possible to heal it through home treatment. Common self-care remedies include icing, resting, compressing, and medicating and elevating the calf.
The first thing you should do to promote recovery is simply to rest the injured calf muscle. Muscle tissues recover during rest, so make sure you get plenty of it. If the injury is only very mild, then the resting period may only need to be for a few days where no exercise involving the calf is performed. In fact, you may even be able to switch to a low-impact activity that doesn’t strain the calf muscle, like swimming. On the other hand, if you are experiencing debilitating pain, it would be prudent to consult with your doctor to see if you need to completely stay off your leg or not.
Applying an ice pack to the calf muscle ache may be able to reduce any swelling and promote recovery. Many physical therapists and doctors recommend using ice therapy during your resting period. Use a store-purchased ice gel pack, plastic bags with ice cubes in it, or even a frozen bag of vegetables from your fridge for this method. Only keep the ice pack on the injury for 15 minutes at a time.
Some individuals prefer to use compression techniques to cure their calf muscle ache. To try this method, just wrap your injured calf muscle with some elastic bandage materials, similar to what you’d use on a sprained ankle. This treatment is believed to be effective due to it limiting movement of the injured muscles, and reducing muscle tendon swelling. Another technique is to simply elevate your calf muscle above your heart level when you are sitting or sleeping.
Lastly, you can use over-the-counter pain-alleviating medication, like naproxen or ibuprofen. These kinds of medications work by alleviating pain and inflammation. If you are taking other medications, be sure to check with your doctor to ensure that there will not be any conflicting effects with other medications. As your calf muscle begins to heal, you may consider incorporating some deep stretching exercises, as well as light calf muscle-building exercises into your regular training routine to strengthen it against future injuries.