How To Reduce Calf Muscle Leg Pain
Category: Massage Posted: 12 Sep 2018
Posted: 12 Sep 2018
Waking up with aching calves and feet in the morning is a disappointing start to anyone’s day. Try these simple do-it-yourself techniques at home to reduce throbbing pain in your lower legs, allowing you to get on with the rest of your day in comfort.
What Causes Lower Leg Aches?
Lower leg calf pain can occur suddenly and without warning. However, soreness in the lower legs is usually a temporary condition, arising from overworked and tired calf muscles and tendons. This is known as DOMS (or delayed onset muscles soreness) and should disappear within a few days or you can speed up the process with remedial massage treatment.
Your legs contain some of the most used muscles in your body. Every step you take exercises your calf muscles. Daily occurrences such as riding a bike up a steep hill or stretching to reach the ball during a sports game can easily strain your muscles and cause your legs to feel sore the following day. Aching calves after running for the first time in a while are one of the most common reactions.
It is important to note that lower leg pain can also relate to issues with joints or nerves and be associated with more serious medical issues, such as diabetes or blood clots. Sciatica, for example, is one of the most common causes behind complaints of leg pain and is primarily due to issues with the sciatic nerve that runs all the way down your leg, rather than muscle exhaustion.
If you feel unsure about the pains that you are suffering, it is important to take advice from your doctor before applying any massage techniques or receiving a professional massage.
Treatments For Calf Pain
Simply taking a long relaxing soak in a warm bath, with your legs slightly elevated can provide quick relief for tight and sore leg muscles. There are also a number of simple massage techniques that you can try out at home to help fix aching calves. These can be especially effective when performed in conjunction with leg stretching exercises.
- Wear some loose shorts and sit down on a stool or similar with your legs shoulder width apart.
- Cross your painful leg over the other or simply push your knee outwards to access the calf muscle. The outer calf muscle (Gastroc) is easier to access for self-massage whilst the deeper inner Soleus muscle is probably best left for a professional therapist to work on through a deep tissue massage or sports massage.
- Start by using the pads of your fingers of both hands to apply several long gentle strokes from the ankle upwards towards the top of the calf. You can perform this warm up stage of self-massage using your favourite oil or cream or without any lubrication at all if you prefer (known as dry massage).
- Next, use the pads of your thumbs to trace lines running across your calf muscle, once again starting at the lower part of your leg. Steadily repeat these perpendicular thumb strokes across the calf muscle until you reach the top of your calf.
- Use your thumb to press a little deeper to try to find knots (or trigger points) in the muscle. You can identify these spots as they will feel different to the rest of your calf muscle. It may feel tighter than the rest of the muscle, you may be able to feel a ridge or the area may feel more sore than elsewhere when you press.
- When you find a trigger point, keep your thumb in that spot applying moderate pressure for around 10 to 30 seconds. You should start to feel your muscle release tension and being to relax. Repeat for any other knots you can find.
Massage is used on certain Japanese cows and their offspring to rear the most prized beef in the world. Use similar techniques to make your own calves top notch too!