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Calf Strain: 4 Steps You Can Take To Speed Your Recovery

By on Jul 27, 2013
Image of runner stretching calf

Calf strain – when the dreaded injury strikes, what steps should you take to set yourself on the way to recovery? This article gives a lowdown on the injury, with some historical insights along the way.

Christopher Johnson, a physical therapist specialising in the care of endurance athletes, finishes today’s pick of the posts by setting out some guidelines to follow to speed your rehabilitation. These are key – the decisions you make in the days immediately following the injury can make a huge different to the healing process.

Recovery from calf strain – the lowdown

As the article by lavamagazine.com sets out, calf injuries simply boil down to the gastrocnemius muscle failing to withstand a certain force or strain. That is a serious issue for runners, given the high recurrence rate and the time taken to recover, both for competitive athletes and recreational runners.

Johnson highlights the following evidence-based guidelines for the optimal recovery:

  1. Protection of the healing tissues is arguably the most important guideline. For the first 2-3 days, that may involve crutches. For the rest of that first week after suffering the injury, Johnson advises athletes to move cautiously.
  2. Early controlled movement can also help recovery, limiting the size of the scar, facilitating muscle fibre alignment and helping restore strength to the injured muscle.
  3. While supporting recovery later in the recovery process, static stretching should be avoided in the early stages.
  4. Ensuring adequate recovery before returning to running is the final guideline. Key signs include symmetrical flexibility of the calf muscle, as well as ability to undertake everyday activities like climbing stairs.

…failure to properly manage calf strains will not only prolong an athlete’s recovery, but can also lead to more severe and recurring injury, which can ultimately end one’s career…

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