Your calf muscles can get tight for a different number of reasons. The calf muscle complex is composed of two muscles which are the gastrocnemius and the soleus. These muscles are always at work during activity and in particular with sport that necessitate ‘push-off’
If they lack their usual flexibility, the weight distribution across the ankle to the foot changes. It may also affect the pressure you are using for other parts of your body during movement. This may cause your foot, knee, and ankle to function abnormally. Eventually abnormal loading and weight distribution can result in corns, joint deformities and tightness across joint with limitation in movement.
The symptoms you will observe depends on the severity or cause. When your muscles feel cramped, you may experience some degree of discomfort varying to acute pain. After exercise or activity, you may also feel cramping, which lasts for a few minutes or more. There are other symptoms apart from cramping, and they are:
There are different causes of painful tight calves; they include:
Before you can undergo treatment for tight calf muscle pain, the causes must be first considered.
If your calf pain is as a result of overuse or injury, you can employ the PRICE method. PRICE stands for:
You can get temporary relief from calf pains by using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or naproxen (Aleve)
It is essential to stretch your muscles before and after engaging in intense exercise. You can warm up by just walking before starting an activity. This can help to prevent tight calf muscles.
You can consult your doctor or physiotherapist before starting a stretching routine to know for sure if it won’t worsen your condition.
If your calf muscles are chronically tight, you can hire the services of a physical therapist. You are going to learn different kinds of customized stretches, exercises, and essential treatments that will help to improve the condition of your calf muscles.
You can also hire the services of a massage therapist to relieve calf pains. The therapist will use their hands to manipulate your body muscles and this helps to subside the pains.
You need to get treatment to prevent complications of tight calf muscles. You also need to quit or reduce activities that cause tight calf muscles to avoid aggravation of this condition.
Here are the complications that may happen due to a lack of treatment. They include:
You need to see your doctor or podiatrist when the treatments do not work for you.
It is essential to stretch your calf muscles regularly to keep them loose and free of stress. To prevent tight calf muscles, you need to take note of the following: