How I dealt with my super tight calf muscle

My shin-splints-scare which I was talking about previously, turned out to be a cramped and incredibly tightened calf muscle. It seems so funny to me now, but it wasn’t 2 weeks ago, when I was seriously scared I had to take weeks off training and heal some serious damage 😀 Seriously, diagnosing yourself with Google is really though!

Anyway, I have taken care of my tight muscle and for now, it’s great. The only things I crossed out of my training list is rope-jumping and any movement that requires dynamic jumping. For now.

I did a massage, kept it warm, stretched it, massaged again, made some shin-strenghtening excercises, and finally took some potasium+magnesium suplements, that helped a lot!

So, if you have a problem with tight calves or happen to get a tight calf, check out these links:

Stretching and strengtheningVideo with stretches and exercises for calf flexibility ( but not the usual ones you will see, it’s really informative!) by Sock-Doc

Loosening up the muscle: How to Loosen a tight calf muscle (might be useful if you get a cramp in your leg – I consider these easy-level stretches) on LiveStrong

Foam rolling/Massage: It is also great to massage the tight spot with a tennis ball or to get more accuracy with a golf ball (or other this size you have at hand). Foam roller is great too, but is not enough sometimes. Here’s a cool video with a massaging routine with different sized balls by Caroline Jordan. You can use this routine if you have no idea what to do with the tennis ball 🙂

I also recommend you go to your physio, who will profesionally massage the aching muscle. It really helped me a lot. My physio, besides massaging my calf, also did a short massage routine with rubber cups and as I have a set of these at home, I reapeated the routine at home. You need to smear some oil (I used one for babies :D) onto your calf, so it’s slippery and then move up and down and to the sides with the rubber cup. You might want to look it up on youtube, if you have no idea what you’re doing 🙂

Taping: I’m a big fan of kinesio tape and I must tell you, this time taping has helped me a lot, espescially in the first few days when I still could feel a pain in my leg, but wanted to go back to training when I learnt it’s not shin splints.

I used a basic taping technique for the calf support, but at this point it didn’t help much, so I added a few vertical pieces for support. Let me tell you, I’m no physio, I just do what works well for me, but I was inspired by this video of regular calf taping, so I figured that it won’t do any harm to use a similar method with kinesio tape.

So this is what I ended up with (mind you, I use pink and nude colored tape here, which is probably not too visible. The nude one was the basic technique from the first video and after I figured it doesn’t help much I applied the pink ones all over).

calf taping
My funny kinesio taping method, but it worked

Medicaments: if you have no health condition that does not allow it, you can take magnesium and potasium suplements. I take mine once a day and it helps a great deal. You need to be aware that potasium accumulates in your body, so you need to be careful with it, but magnesium goes in and out of our bodies.

I was also advised to take a bath in Epsom salt, but didn’t buy it yet, so I have no idea if it helps.

Keeping it warm/Ointments: after a massage, it’s advisable to keep the muscle warm, so you might want to wrap it up nicely, but apart from that you can also use warming-up ointments. Just be careful that it has to be a ointment for muscles, not joints, and that it does not have a cooling effect. I used a local brand name one (Virumin żel, it’s Polish), that is based on green oat extract and buskweat hulls. I really like it, coz it gives you this warm/hot feeling in the muscle. I was also advised to try Thai Oil, but couldn’t get my hands on it, so can’t say how it works.

Oh and sauna! I did sauna every day. It didn’t help much I think, but still a nice method to make the blood flow to your muscles better.

So, I hope this little piece of information will help you if you encounter the same problem as I did.

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3 thoughts on “How I dealt with my super tight calf muscle

    • Thank you, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it. Yes, I’m fine now. Actually, this article helped me when I had a tight muscle again a few weeks ago! 🙂 So the things I mentioned are really working (at least for me)!

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