Calf Strain and Physical Therapy
When you get to the physical therapist, the first thing you will be asked is how you injured the muscles. The injury and the leg will have to be evaluated and examined by the physical therapist. Once the level of your injury is determined, the plan of the treatment will be created and suggested to you by the therapist. This plan will be made so that is suits your needs and it may involve use of ice packs, heat packs, electrotherapeutic modalities, gait training with use of crutches, range of motion exercises, self-stretching exercises, strength exercises and home management. We will talk about each of these things individually.
Ways of Physical Therapy
The first on our list is application of ice and heat packs. The ice pack can only be applied if the pain and swelling are felt and no longer than 20 minutes constantly. The swelling and pain will decrease due to the use of ice packs. Once the swelling reduces, heat packs can be used and they will decrease the time needed for the recovery, since it will increase the flow of blood. Try applying them before a massage or stretching. Next are ultrasound, TENS and other electro-therapeutic modalities, which can make the deep tissue softer or warmer. This is also usually prior to massaging and stretching exercises.
Small device called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator, or TENS, emits small currant to the skin, thus decreasing the pain. Stress needs to be reduced on the calf during the first period of the recovery and crutches can be very helpful in this situation. Healing can also be aided by the use of foot or ankle brace, which will place your ankle in a certain position provided your doctor thinks that this is required. ROM, or the range of motion exercises, can reduce the pain and swelling greatly. Gentle ankle range of motion exercises are done at the beginning and at the end, exercises with resistance, using elastic band or something else, will be done. Stationary bicycling is one of the great conditional exercises, which can be implemented as well.
The joint's range of movement will be reduced due to the decreased use of calf muscles and ankle joint, and this can be improved with the stretching exercises. Stretching can be done manually by the therapist, or you can do them yourself. Strength exercises will make you ready to return to the normal life. There are other interventions that can be introduced as well, and this will be decided by you physical therapist, according to the goals and needs. Some of the mentioned ways of managing calf strain can also be done at home, but remember to always follow the instructions provided by the therapist.