What is a calf strain?
In medical circles, the calf muscles are referred to collectively as the triceps surae, because there are three of them.
Two of the three are the medial and lateral heads of the gastrocnemius, which is the muscle that most people think of when they hear the term “calf strain.”
But the triceps surae also include the soleus, which is a shorter, more slender muscle that connects to the Achilles tendon and runs lower and deeper than the two heads of the gastrocnemius.
A calf strain can consist of an injury to any one of these three muscle units.
Gastrocnemius strains are fairly easy to identify.
You’ll feel pain, soreness, and tightness deep within the muscles along the back of your lower leg. Doing a classic “calf stretch” will often provoke pain, as will doing calf raises or vertical hops.
Depending on the severity of the strain, you may or may not have pain while walking.
Soleus strains are a little more difficult to diagnose because they can sometimes masquerade as Achilles tendon problems if they occur low enough along with the muscle.
Like a gastrocnemius strain, you’ll have soreness, tightness, and pain in the soleus muscle. Soleus strains can be distinguished from a gastrocnemius strain by comparing the pain elicited from a traditional straight-legged calf stretch to the pain from a bent-knee calf stretch.
Since the gastrocnemius muscles cross the knee joint, but the soleus does not, a “gastroc” strain will not be as painful with the knee bent, while a soleus strain will often be more painful.
With any type of calf strain, you might be able to feel an area of muscle tissue that is especially tight or tender, either by palpitating with your fingers or rolling on a stiff foam roller or PVC pipe.
According to J. Bryan Dixon at the Marquette Sports Medicine Institute, the gastrocnemius is more prone to injury for two reasons.
First, it crosses two joints (the ankle and the knee), and second, it has a higher proportion of fast-twitch type muscle fibers.
Both of these means there’s an increased mechanical load on the muscle, predisposing it to injury. In contrast, the soleus only crosses one joint and has more slow-twitch muscle fibers.
Dixon also notes that 17% of calf injuries involve strains to both the gastrocnemius and soleus. If you’re having trouble isolating your calf injury to one specific muscle, this might be why.
While it’s fairly easy to diagnose a calf strain without any advanced medical testing, an MRI is sometimes warranted if a doctor wants more information on the exact location or severity of the injury. This is usually used in severe strains and frank tears to the muscle.
Risk factors for calf strains in runners
A 2001 study on muscle strains in Australian football players identified some useful predictors of calf strains in athletes.
First among these was a history of the previous injury to the same location. Some people seem to be prone to calf strains, and a recent or historical calf strain is by far the best predictor of this.
Another risk factor for calf strains was age. Older footballers had a higher incidence of calf strains (but not strains to some other muscles). This mirrors anecdotal data from runners—master’s runners seem to suffer calf strains much more frequently than their younger competitors.
One study by researchers in Sydney, Australia suggests a connection between lower back problems and calf injury.
In their paper, they demonstrate that injuries at the L5-S1 level are increasingly common as Australian football players get older, and they hypothesize that nerve compression at this spinal joint could explain why calf strains, but not some other types of muscle strains, are also more common as players get older.
While this has not been validated in independent studies, it is nevertheless an interesting avenue for explaining why calf strains occur more often in older athletes.
Mainstream treatments for calf strains
- Grade 1: Mild damage to individual muscle fibers (less than 5% of fibers) that causes minimal loss of strength and motion.
- Grade 2: More extensive damage with more muscle fibers involved. …
- Grade 3: Complete rupture of a muscle or tendon.
Once you have suffered a calf strain, you should treat it with two strategies: reduce stress on the calf to allow it to heal, and work to strengthen the calf muscle so that it’s more resilient in the future.
Obviously, your initial priority is to reduce stress and allow healing, while later on in the recovery process, your focus should switch to rehabilitating and increasing the resilience of the injured muscle.
When it comes to reducing stress on the calf, you probably already know what to do—stop running, cross-train for a while, and if you do run, avoid high speeds, steep hills, and shoes with an aggressive heel-to-toe drop.
One less obvious way to reduce stress on your calf is to evaluate whether there are any deficiencies in your gait or muscular strength that are increasing stress on your calf muscles when you run.
This is especially useful since hip strength work can be done very early in the rehab process, while your calf is still too tender to do any calf-specific strength work.
A standard hip strength routine that includes glute bridges, clamshell raises, and the “monster walk” (using a TheraBand) should do the trick.
Improving the resilience of the calf muscles is a little trickier.
You’ll want to develop a comprehensive rehab program for the calf muscles which starts with simple low-load exercises and progresses over time to heavier, more complex exercises.
Calf strains have a nasty habit of becoming chronic injuries.
Some medical professionals suspect that this is because calf strains create scar tissue or muscular adhesions, which can predispose the area to being injured again—or prevent healing in the first place.
Though there’s no solid scientific research to support this, many runners report success with therapies focused on breaking down scar tissue or adhesions.
This can be as simple as rolling on a foam roller—though, given the size and toughness of the calf muscles, you might find a 3″ section of PVC pipe to be more useful.
Set a timer and roll for a full two minutes, starting at the bottom of the calf muscle and gradually kneading your way to the top, then rolling back to the bottom in one smooth motion before repeating.
Some runners find that “The Stick” or the “Tiger Tail” rolling products are helpful, too.
More aggressive therapies like Active Release Technique (ART) and Graston Technique (the research on both of those treatment methods here) are worth a shot if you continue to have calf trouble.
These manual therapies seem to help runners with chronic, recurrent soft tissue injuries, including calf strains.
For support, you might also find compression socks or a calf sleeve useful. Be sure to measure your calf and ankle circumference so you can get the correct size.
Time off and return to running
Unlike stress fractures or tendon injuries, where there are fairly well-researched and understood protocols for how long you should take off and how quickly you can return to running, there’s a lot more variability with calf strains.
You may only need a few days off if you’re young and had a mild overuse strain, but an acute or severe strain in an older runner could require several weeks off from running.
Ultimately, the pain will have to be your guideline.
You’re bound to have an initial period where your calf is stiff and painful; this is when you should definitely avoid running. Hit the pool or get on the bike, so long as it doesn’t aggravate your calf.
Once the initial aggravation has calmed down, you can start heating and foam rolling the area a few times a day to loosen up any tight muscle tissue. This is also when you should start doing strength exercises to rehabilitate the muscle.
Once walking around feels okay for a day or two, you can give running a shot. Be aware that you’ll have to ease back into things, and you should avoid faster running, low-heeled shoes, and steep uphills for a while.
If it’s taking longer than expected for your calf to heal, consider seeing a physical therapist to identify any biomechanical faults, or an ART or Graston Technique practitioner to loosen up any scar tissue or muscular adhesions that might be causing continued pain.
About running injuries
If you’re like many runners, you may be logging hundreds or even thousands of miles per year. The repetitive impact of all those foot strikes can take a toll on your muscles, joints, and connective tissue.
According to a 2015 review of studiesTrusted Source, the knees, legs, and feet are the most common injury areas for runners. The review breaks down the location-specific incidence of running injuries as follows:
- Knees: 7.2 to 50 percent
- Lower leg: 9.0 to 32.2 percent
- Upper leg: 3.4 to 38.1 percent
- Foot: 5.7 to 39.3 percent
- Ankles: 3.9 to 16.6 percent
- Hips, pelvis, or groin: 3.3 to 11.5 percent
- Lower back: 5.3 to 19.1 percent
Runner’s knee, or patellofemoral syndrome, is a general term that refers to pain in the front of your knee or around your kneecap. It’s a common overuse injury in sports that involve running or jumping.
Weakness in your hips or the muscles around your knee can put you at a higher risk of developing a runner’s knee.
Runner’s knee can cause pain that:
- is dull and can be felt in one or both knees
- ranges from mild to very painful
- gets worse with prolonged sitting or exercise
- gets worse when jumping, climbing stairs, or squatting
This type of injury may also cause cracking or popping sounds after prolonged periods of being stationary.
A doctor can often diagnose a runner’s knee with a physical exam but may recommend an X-ray to rule out other conditions. A physical therapist can give you a specific treatment plan to treat a runner’s knee injury.
Achilles tendinitis refers to inflammation of the tendon that connects your calf muscle to your heel. It may happen after increasing your mileage or the intensity of your running.
If left untreated, Achilles tendinitis increases your risk of rupturing your Achilles tendon. If this tendon is torn, it usually requires surgery to repair it.
Common symptoms of Achilles tendinitis include:
- dull pain in your lower leg above your heel
- swelling along your Achilles tendon
- limited range of motion when flexing your foot toward your shin
- a warm feeling over the tendon
Your iliotibial band commonly referred to as your IT band, is a long piece of connective tissue that runs from your outer hip to your knee. This band of tissue helps stabilize your knee when you’re walking or running.
IT band syndrome is caused by repetitive friction of the IT band rubbing against your leg bone. It’s very common in runners due to tight IT bands. Weak gluteal muscles, abdominals, or hips may also contribute to this condition.
IT band syndrome causes sharp pain on the outer side of your leg, usually just above your knee. Your IT band may also be tender to the touch. The pain often gets worse when you bend your knee.
Shin splints (tibial stress syndrome) refer to pain that occurs in the front of the inner parts of your lower legs, along your shinbone. Shin splints can happen when you increase your running volume too quickly, especially when running on hard surfaces.
In most cases, shin splints aren’t serious and go away with rest. However, if left untreated, they can develop into stress fractures.
Symptoms of shin splints can include:
- a dull pain along the front or inner part of your shinbone
- pain that gets worse when you exercise
- tenderness to the touch
- mild swelling
Shin splints often get better with rest or by cutting back on how frequently or how far you run.
Your hamstrings help decelerate your lower leg during the swing phase of your running cycle. If your hamstrings are tight, weak, or tired, they may be more prone to injury.
Unlike sprinters, it’s fairly uncommon for distance runners to experience a sudden hamstring tear. Most of the time, distance runners experience hamstring strains that come on slowly and are caused by repetitive small tears in the fibers and connective tissue of the hamstring muscle.
If you have a hamstring injury, you may experience:
- dull pain in the back of your upper leg
- a hamstring muscle that’s tender to the touch
- weakness and stiffness in your hamstring
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot injuries. It involves irritation or degeneration of the thick layer of tissue, called fascia, on the bottom of your foot.
Symptoms typically include:
- pain under your heel or midfoot
- pain that develops gradually
- a burning sensation on the bottom of your foot
- pain that’s worse in the morning
- pain after prolonged activity
A stress fracture is a hairline crack that forms in your bone due to repetitive stress or impact. For runners, stress fractures commonly occur at the top of the foot, or in the heel or lower leg.
If you suspect you have a stress fracture, it’s a good idea to see a doctor right away. An X-ray is needed for them to diagnose a stress fracture.
Symptoms of a stress fracture typically include:
- pain that gets worse over time, which may be barely noticeable at first but as the pain progresses, may be felt even when you’re at rest
- swelling, bruising, or tenderness in the area of the fracture
It generally takes 6 to 8 weeks to heal from a stress fracture, and you may need to use crutches or wear a cast for a period of time.
Ankle sprains are caused by overstretching the ligaments between your leg and ankle. Sprains often happen when you land on the outer part of your foot and roll your ankle over.
Common symptoms associated with an ankle sprain include:
- limited range of motion
Most of the time, ankle sprains improve with rest, self-care, or physical therapy. They may take weeks or months to heal.
Other injuries that runners tend to experience include:
- Ingrown toenails. An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of your nail grows into your skin. It can cause pain and inflammation along with your toenail and may ooze pus if it becomes infected.
- Bursitis. Bursae are fluid-filled sacs beneath your muscles and tendons. They help to lubricate your joints. Repeated friction against these sacs from running can lead to irritation in your hip or around your knee.
- Meniscal tear. A meniscal tear refers to a tear of the cartilage in your knee. It often causes a sensation of your joint locking.
- Anterior compartment syndrome. Anterior compartment syndrome occurs when the muscles in the front of your lower leg put pressure on your nerves and blood vessels. This syndrome can be a medical emergency.
- Calf strain. Repetitive trauma from running can lead to a calf strain, also known as a pulled calf.
If you experience any kind of pain or discomfort or find it hard to run, it’s a good idea to follow up with your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and to rule out other conditions.
For many common running injuries, treatment often includes:
- physical therapy sessions and specific exercises
- following the RICE protocol (rest, ice, compression, elevation)
- taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin or ibuprofen
- cutting back on how often and how far you run
Other more specific treatment may include:
- For runner’s knee: strengthening your quadriceps and hip muscles, and stretching tight quads or calves, wearing orthotic shoes
- For Achilles tendonitis: stretching or massaging your calves
- For IT band syndrome: daily stretching of your IT bands and strengthening your hip muscles
- For hamstring injuries: strengthening your glutes, stretching and strengthening your hamstrings, changing your running technique
- For plantar fasciitis: stretching and strengthening your calves
- For stress fractures: crutches, cast, or surgery
- For an ankle sprain: ankle strengthening exercises
Running injuries can happen to anyone, but you can minimize your risk of injury with the following tips:
- Warm-up. Warm-up before you start running by doing an easy jog or dynamic mobility stretches such as the arm or leg swings for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Increase your running volume slowly. Many runners follow the 10 percent rule, meaning that they don’t increase their weekly volume of running by more than 10 percent at a time.
- Take care of nagging injuries. Rest nagging injuries right away so they don’t develop into more serious issues. A physical therapist can give you a proper diagnosis and provide you with a customized treatment plan.
- Work on your technique. The poor running technique can increase the amount of stress on your muscles and joints. Working with a running coach or even filming your running technique can help you improve.
- Strengthen your hips. Include stability exercises in your training program such as glute bridges or single-leg squats to help you protect your knees and ankles.
- Use soft surfaces. Running on grass, rubber tracks, sand, or gravel is easier on your joints than running on pavement. If you’re dealing with a nagging injury, try running on a soft surface until your pain subsides.
- Consider cross-training. Adding some low-impact workouts into your schedules such as cycling or swimming can help improve your aerobic fitness while giving your joints a break from the repetitive impact of running.
Many runners deal with an injury at some point. The most common areas that sustain injuries due to running include your knees, legs, and feet.
If you experience any kind of pain or discomfort when running, it’s best to follow up with your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and to rule out other conditions.
Using the RICE protocol, taking an NSAID for pain, following a physical therapy plan, and doing targeted exercises can help you recover from many common running injuries. Cutting back on how often and how far you run can help you recover faster, too.
What is a Groin Strain?
Groin strains are muscle injuries that occur along with the adductor muscles of the inner thighs. The groin refers to the mass of muscle on our inner thighs including adductors, gracilis, pectineus, and sartorius. A groin strain means one or more of these muscles have been overly stressed creating pain, inflammation, tearing of the muscle fibers, and possible tightness restricting the freedom of movement in the area.
What Causes a Groin Strain?
Groin strains are most often caused by the lengthening and contracting of the leg muscles at the same time. This dual-action can put stress on the muscles, resulting in a strain. Strains typically occur with increased exertion during dynamic movement patterns such as sports requirements, running, lifting. The muscles of our groin also work as a helper to aid in pelvic stability. Poor pelvic/core stabilization may lead to increased activation/gripping of our groin muscles during functional movements which may cause a groin strain.
Symptoms of Groin Strain Include:
- The pain of the inner thigh
- Possible pain while walking, moving from sitting to stand, getting in and out of a car
- Tightness to the muscles affected
- Muscle weakness
Diagnosis and Treatment
There are 3 degrees of groin strains:
1st degree: Small tears only affecting a few muscle fibers. Minimal swelling and muscle weakness are noted.
2nd degree: Moderate tearing is present lending to an evident weakness to the affected muscles compared to prior to the injury. Increased swelling and bruising may accompany a 2nd-degree tear.
3rd degree: A 3rd-degree tear is a full tear of the muscle fibers throughout the length of the muscles. 3rd-degree tears may require a surgical intervention to regain the function of the muscle and are typically accompanied by significant swelling and bruising.
Physical therapy can have a positive effect on groin strain recovery time by providing the necessary tools to treat and prevent groin pain. Your physical therapist will evaluate the level of a groin strain that you have and will determine the best course of treatment for your specific needs. This may include:
- Manual therapy techniques to promote hip and leg range of motion
- Custom exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles of the groin area, including areas of the lower back, hamstrings, and hips.
- Gait analysis is used to identify muscle imbalances
- Core/hip stabilization to decrease overuse of groin muscles
How Long Does it Take to Recover?
Recovery time for groin strains is dependent on the severity of the injury and whether or not the root cause of the strain is determined and treated.
Grade 1: For mild groin strains, recovery time can be as little as two to three weeks
Grade 2: Moderate strains can heal in two weeks up to three months
Grade 3: Severe groin strains can take up to four or more months to fully heal
If your injury is taking an extended amount of time to heal or causing pain, it may be best to schedule an evaluation with a physical therapist. Physical therapists are experts in treating muscle strains and can determine the best treatment plan to help you recover from your injury.
Leg Rupture Injuries
- Resting the affected extremity.
- Applying ice to the affected area. Apply ice in a plastic bag wrapped in a towel or with a reusable cold pack wrapped in a towel. …
- Compression of the affected area to minimize swelling. …
- Elevation of the extremity if possible.
Ruptured Tendon Overview
A tendon is a fibrous tissue that attaches muscle to bone in the human body. The forces applied to a tendon may be more than 5 times your body weight. In some rare instances, tendons can snap or rupture. Conditions that make a rupture more likely include the injection of steroids into a tendon, certain diseases (such as gout or hyperparathyroidism), and having type O blood.
Although fairly uncommon, a tendon rupture can be a serious problem and may result in excruciating pain and permanent disability if untreated. Each type of tendon rupture has its own signs and symptoms and can be treated either surgically or medically depending on the severity of the rupture and the confidence of the surgeon.
The 4 most common areas of tendon rupture include:
- A group of 4 muscles comes together just above your kneecap (patella) to form the patellar tendon.
- Often called the quads, this group of muscles is used to extend the leg at the knee and aids in walking, running, and jumping.
- This tendon is located on the back portion of the foot just above the heel. It is the site where the calf muscle attaches to the heel of the foot (the calcaneus bone).
- This tendon is vital for pushing off with the foot. The Achilles helps you stand on your tiptoes and push off when starting a foot race.
- Rotator cuff
- Your rotator cuff is located in the shoulder and is actually composed of 4 muscles that function together to raise your arm out to the side, to help you rotate the arm, and to keep your shoulder from popping out of its socket.
- The rotator cuff tendon is one of the most common areas in the body affected by a tendon injury. Some studies of people after death have shown that 8% to 20% have rotator cuff tears.
- The biceps muscle of the arm functions as a flexor of the elbow. This muscle brings the hand toward the shoulder by bending at the elbow.
- Ruptures of the biceps are classified as proximal (close) or distal (far). Distal ruptures are extremely rare. The proximal rupture occurs where the biceps attach at the top of your shoulder.
Ruptured Tendon Causes
In general, tendon rupture occurs in a middle-aged or older man. In the young, muscle usually tears before the attached tendon does. But in older people and in those with certain diseases (such as gout and hyperparathyroidism) tendon ruptures are more common.
- General causes of tendon rupture include:
- Direct trauma
- Advanced age. As you age, your blood supply decreases. This decreases blood going to the tendon, resulting in the weakening of the tendon.
- Eccentric loading. When your muscle contracts while it is being stretched in the opposite direction, increased stress is placed on the involved tendon.
- Steroid injection into the tendon. This treatment is sometimes used for severe tendonitis.
- Certain antibiotics. Antibiotics such as fluoroquinolones increase the risk for tendon rupture, particularly the Achilles tendon.
- Quadriceps tendon rupture may be caused by:
- Direct trauma to the knee just above the patella (kneecap)
- Advanced age resulting in decreased blood supply to the inside of the tendon
- Combination of quadriceps contraction and stretching of the muscle (eccentric loading)
- Achilles tendon rupture may result from:
- Advanced age resulting in decreased blood supply to the inside of the tendon
- Strenuous physical activity by those who are not well conditioned
- Direct trauma
- Unexpected forcing of the sole of your foot upward as in landing on your feet after jumping from a height
- Excessive strain while pushing off with the weight-bearing foot
- Having group O blood type (This is a controversial cause-and-effect relationship.)
- Rotator cuff tendon rupture may be caused by:
- Lifting a heavy object overhead
- Direct trauma
- Attempting to break a fall with an outstretched hand
- Biceps tendon rupture may result from:
- Forced flexion of the arm
- Lifting 150 pounds or more (traumatic rupture)
- Advanced age resulting in the gradual weakening of the tendon
- May occur spontaneously
Ruptured Tendon Symptoms
An injury that is associated with the following signs or symptoms may be a tendon rupture:
- A snap or pop you hear or feel
- Severe pain
- Rapid or immediate bruising
- Marked weakness
- Inability to use the affected arm or leg
- Inability to move the area involved
- Inability to bear the weight
- Deformity of the area
Symptoms associated with specific injuries include the following:
- Achilles tendon rupture: You will be unable to support yourself on your tiptoes on the affected leg (you may be able to flex your toes downward because supporting muscles are intact).
- Rotator cuff rupture: You will be unable to bring your arm out to the side.
- Biceps tendon rupture: You will have decreased strength of elbow flexion and decreased ability to raise the arm out to the side when the hand is turned palm up.
Myositis means inflammation of the muscles that you use to move your body. An injury, infection, or autoimmune disease can cause it. Two specific kinds are polymyositis and dermatomyositis. Polymyositis causes muscle weakness, usually in the muscles closest to the trunk of your body.
Symptoms of Myositis
- Thickening of the skin on the hands.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Electromyography and nerve conduction studies (EMG/NCS)
- Muscle biopsy.
- Skin biopsy.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – a relatively newer technique
Massage for Calf Injuries, Pulls, Strains, Tears, Ruptures, Myositis
Tears in the muscle fibers increase inflammation which increases muscle tightness and pain. A calf massage reduces inflammation by increasing the number of blood vessels at the site of injury, to help remove the build-up of fluids that created a protective layer. A calf massage can improve blood circulation.
Many types of massage are used post-injury to help relieve acute pain. Acute pain can be left in the muscles and soft tissues after injury. Pain can be caused due to muscle tightness and fascia restrictions after injury. When an injury occurs, muscles act as a protective mechanism and tighten around an area of injury. Fascia is a connective tissue located under the skin. Restrictions in the fascia tissue can become tight due to scar tissue and lack of range of movement. Massage helps to manage tightness and helps to restore blood circulation in the tissues.
Massage is used to treat tight muscles post-injury. Muscles commonly tighten after injury which leads to restrictive movements. Injury can affect a muscle’s optimum length which results in an increase of tightness. Muscles are made up of overlapping fibers. If a muscle is tight, fibers overlap too much causing a lack of flexibility. Massage can help increase the temperature of tissues to loosen and stretch them. Stretched fibers allow muscles to function better and injury recovery to be improved.
Massage is an effective treatment to reduce scarring after injury. Scarring is the natural healing process of damaged tissues. The body produces collagen fibers and sends them to repair around an injury site. Collagen fibers differ in texture from normal tissue fibers. Collagen is tough in texture and lays across the direction of muscle fibers. Scarring can be restrictive and aggravate to cause pain. Massage uses specialized techniques to loosen, break down and realign collagen fibers. Reduced scar tissue increases the normal function of soft tissues, decreasing pain and tightness.
When a massage is used to treat an injury, it helps to increase capillarization. Capillarisation is the increased size of blood vessels. The larger size of blood vessels allows more blood to flow through the body. Capillarisation happens during massage by creating friction against the skin and increasing temperature. Increased capillarization in the circulatory system is beneficial to improve the amount of blood being delivered to the area of injury. Increased blood flow transports more oxygen and nutrients to help assist with the repair of damaged cells. Massage helps to speed up the recovery period after an injury.
Receiving a massage for an injury helps break down scar tissue. Scar tissue is part of the body’s healing process. Normal skeletal muscle tissue is formed of collagen that sits in a parallel direction so that it allows good contraction and flexibility. When an injury occurs, the body produces excess collagen. The initial production of collagen provides protection and strength to an injury site. However, the excess production leads to the poor structural organization of the tissue that leads to a lack of flexibility. The disruptive distribution of scar tissue commonly causes pain and often dysfunction.
Massage helps to increase tissue elasticity. Intense training can lead to hard and inelastic muscles and lead to poor efficiency. Massage increases tissue elasticity by increasing blood flow to the tissues. More blood flow in the tissues increases the temperature so that muscle fibers are looser and can be stretched. Specific massage techniques are used to elongate muscle tissues. The increase of elasticity provides more flexibility and range of movement around a joint.
Receiving a massage increases healing. By stimulating the blood flow, massage assists the healing process of damaged tissues. Massage increases tissue permeability so that blood, oxygen, and nutrients reach damaged areas to speed up the healing process. Massage increases the flow of nutrients and enables them to be passed through tissues more easily. Massage is specifically used to increase healing after intense or strenuous exercise. Massage helps to remove metabolic wastes, specifically lactic acid. By removing wastes out of the muscles quickly, it reduces damage to any tissues and speeds up recovery.
A benefit of massage is improved recovery. Massage helps facilitate recovery from injury, surgery or exercise. Massage helps aid blood circulation throughout the body. Improved blood circulation allows damaged and tense muscles to be filled with oxygen-rich blood so healing can be enhanced. Massage encourages more blood circulation by many massage techniques that help blood through congested areas. Motions created from massage also flush out waste products from the muscles and increase the circulation of lymph fluid which carries wastes away from the muscles.
Massage encourages the relaxation of muscles and provides an increased range of movement. As muscles relax and loosen the range of movement around the joint increases. Muscles work in antagonistic pairs across joints. Antagonist pair refers to each muscle of the pair pulling opposite to its antagonist. When muscles tense, muscles contract and shorten pulling the antagonist pair across the joint. Tension reduces the potential range of movement at the joint. Massage allows antagonist muscles to relax, allowing them to elongate. As the opposing muscle loosens, the range of movement increases.
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*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.