3 Treatments & Exercises For Calf Strain That Work Now
What is a Calf Strain?
The lash is actually a tear in your muscle, which suddenly (acutely) occurs. Usually, a lash, also known as a tennis calf, is about 1 to 3 inches in size, which means a muscle tear is not large in this case. This condition is most common in active people between the ages of 25 and 65. In the Netherlands, it is estimated that half a percent of the population suffers from a lash every year. This amounts to more than 85,000 (!) People per year. It is striking that men have a whip one and a half times as often as women. In the case of a calf strain, it often happens that the muscle tissue and the connective tissue are damaged. A swelling and a bruise are then the visible consequences that you can see from a lash. This swelling and bruising may settle a little lower over time than where you feel the actual pain as the swelling goes down. The moment you get a lash, you will also hear a cracking sound. You will also experience a strong, sudden pain. Hence the name for this muscle tear. The muscle tear causes loss of strength at the site of the injury, so that you can no longer properly support the area in question. Since calf strain often occurs in the calves, this means that walking becomes difficult. While the majority of calf strain is diagnosed in the calves, in theory it could happen in any muscle, such as the back, arms or neck. Repairing a lash usually takes between 3 and 6 weeks. After that time you can often start building up again in a constructive way.
Calf strain and working
Based on your profession, it can be difficult to start working with a whip. Do you walk a lot during your work? Then it is difficult to stand and walk all day with a lash. Depending on the severity of the injury, it may be too painful to actually get started. Do you sit while working? Then it is possible that you can just get started. Always be careful with forcing gait and other movements when you have a lash. This can both make the recovery last longer and make the pain worse.
How does a whiplash occur?
Whiplash generally occurs during sports. In fact, the cause is a sudden, very strong, contraction of your muscle. The result is that the muscle tears due to the tension that was placed on it. For example, when starting a sprint (during a sporting event) or when taking off to jump, a whiplash occurs. In the case of both a sprint and a jump, you suddenly and forcefully tighten a muscle. It is therefore possible that a tear occurs in the muscle: a whiplash. However, a whiplash can also be caused by 'accidentally' putting a lot of force on the muscle. This happens when you fall (hard). Whether a whiplash occurs depends on many factors. For example, an overload of the muscle can cause the muscle to tear earlier with a great effort. A too short or poor warm-up can also contribute to a muscle tear, because the muscle is not yet warm enough for the effort it then has to make. For the same reason, a whiplash occurs more often during cold weather than during warm weather. The age of the person in question can also cause less strong muscle tissue, which can also make it easier to prevent a muscle tear. That is why middle-aged athletes are more likely to suffer from this injury than younger athletes. In addition, the surface and shoes you wear can also contribute to whiplash. A hard surface and wearing shoes without support also increase the chance of a whiplash during exercise.
The first thing you can do immediately after the muscle tear has occurred is to raise the leg where the whiplash has occurred and to cool it at the same time. It is best to cool the area, usually the calf, with a special cold pack. Only, you don't always have it with you. What you can also do is use a t-shirt, or a plastic bag, and put ice cubes in it. Hold the bag against the site of the whiplash, so that the pain is relieved. Do not put ice cubes directly against the area of pain, otherwise your skin may also freeze (and this is extremely unpleasant). Cooling does not have to be longer than fifteen minutes to twenty minutes, otherwise the body will try to expel the cold by supplying extra blood to the whiplash. Cooling the whip can be done several times during the first 24 hours after the onset of the injury. Compression bandages are also nice to relieve the pain. Do not massage the place where the whiplash has occurred, this can be painful.
You can also try taping the whip. The best way to do that depends on exactly where the whiplash occurred. Watch the video below for a good example.
24 hours after the whiplash
You can try to walk again one day after the whiplash has occurred. If you can walk again within 24 to 48 hours, you have a mild whiplash. This will pass automatically. Are you going to start exercising again in the short term? Make sure that you do not overload the muscle again and/or tighten it too hard. You do this by doing a good warm up.
After 24 hours
Is walking still not possible after two days? Then try to keep the leg up for the rest of the week. It may also be helpful to use a pair of crutches to prevent pain and to speed up recovery. Try testing occasionally to see if the pain is getting better, but don't overdo it. Start by testing whether you can lean on the leg. If this goes well, you can try to walk a few steps.
Do you feel pain?
Then you really have to take it easy and don't walk, otherwise the muscle tear can get even bigger. When you can walk carefully again, wearing shoes with a sole under the heel may help. This ensures that you ask less of the calves while walking, because they then have to stretch less.
Is walking a little better? Then you can try to go for a bike ride. In a light gear you can test whether the pedaling movement can be made painless. Strength and stretching exercises for the calf can also help with recovery. Of course, be careful when you perform the exercises, otherwise you can aggravate the whiplash.
Is it really not going to run in the long run? Then a physiotherapist can help speed up the process.
Het herstelproces van de zweepslag versnellen
Do you want to find a good way to make the recovery from a whiplash significantly shorter, so that you can start exercising again quickly? Then try wearing a compression sock. Compression socks are tight-fitting socks that come to the knee. The socks provide light pressure on the ankles and calf, which improves blood circulation in the leg. Improved blood flow means that moisture and waste products are removed more quickly and that oxygen is supplied more quickly. The whiplash recovers faster because of this, because the torn tissue in the muscle recovers faster. The muscle is also spared more while walking, since a compression sock provides support. Interested in a compression sock? Then try our “Recovery Socks”. These are compression socks, specifically made for recovering from injuries and heavy training.
"Success from day one, perfectly fulfilling the purpose for which I bought them, namely swelling of the lower leg after whiplash." - Martin
Calf whip exercises
Exercises can work well to speed up recovery from a whiplash. Be careful not to go too far, because that can seriously hinder recovery.
The video above gives some examples of good exercises to speed up recovery from whiplash. They are described again below:
1. Fiber Friction Massage
The first exercise is a whiplash massage. After a day or two, when the whiplash feels a bit calmer, you can start with the Fiber Friction Massage. Place your index and middle finger on the spot of the accident. First you gently rub the whiplash. Then you start, as it were, pushing on the whip. How much pressure you put depends on when it starts to hurt. Try this massage for 20 to 30 seconds. There may be a little pain at first. If after 20 seconds the pain has not subsided, stop the massage. It is still too early to start this exercise.
Will the pain lessen and will it even feel a little better?
Then go ahead and maybe even increase the pressure a little bit. Try this for 5 minutes every day.
2. Eccentric Stretching
The second exercise is for when you can walk again and put a little pressure on the whip. For this exercise, you stand on a stool with a chair in front of you. Grab the chair while standing with your toes on the stool (the heels are off the stool). With your wrong leg you lift the heel up, while you put all your weight on the right leg. Now you will also raise the heel of the wrong leg and then slowly lower the heels, to under the foot. Then you slowly go up and down with the heels. Again, be careful not to go too far with the stretch, or the whiplash may get worse. Do about 10 to 15 reps, two to three times a day
3. Bend over stretch
For this exercise, all you need is a wall or something else you can push against. In this exercise you lean forward against the wall, with your hands against the wall (as if you want to push the wall away). Then you put the wrong leg back and stretch it while pushing away from the wall. The good leg is the leg you lean on, this one is still in front of the wrong leg. You will probably feel the calf stretch now. You can also do this exercise with your knee bent.
How do you prevent whiplash?
Prevent whiplash from now on? There are good tips for that.
First of all, you should make sure that you always do a good warm up before exercising, warm up your body and stretch the muscles well. Thus, the chance of getting injuries is generally much smaller.
In addition, good clothing can also make a difference. Wear good shoes and good (long) training pants. Keeping muscles warm is crucial during exercise. When muscles get cold, there is a greater chance of injury.
Finally, we can also recommend wearing compression socks. Thanks to the light pressure on the calves, the blood circulation in the legs improves. The result is that waste products are removed from the muscles more quickly and that 'fresh' oxygen is supplied to the muscles. Often an excess of waste and a lack of oxygen is one of the reasons why injuries, such as whiplash, occur.