The calf is the back area of the leg below the knee, and it is made up of 9 separate muscles. When an individual suffers a calf strain, it can be very painful, and it can take several weeks to recover. Calf injuries are particularly common among athletes, especially those that do a lot of running such as soccer and basketball players. These injuries also occur with more frequency, as we get older. Mobile physical therapy can help reduce the pain in the calf, restore muscle strength and flexibility, and accelerate recovery.
What Causes Calf Injuries: A calf strain occurs when any one (or more) of the 9 calf muscles becomes torn or overstretched. Calf injuries can happen suddenly, or they can occur over a period of time. Such injuries can make it difficult to walk, climb up stairs, drive, run, or perform any other activity that involves the calf muscles.
Calf injuries can vary in severity. In the mildest cases, the affected muscle is tender and there is some pain, but the tenderness and pain does not impede your ability to walk normally. Moderate cases cause more tenderness and pain, some loss of leg strength, and at times, mild bruises. The more severe cases cause extreme difficulty using the leg, and it is painful to even put weight on it. Severe bruises often accompany the most serious calf strains.
There are several symptoms of calf injuries, some of the most common include:
- A “snap”, “pull”, or “pop” felt or heard at the time of injury, depending on the severity
- Tightness and/or swelling of the affected calf muscle(s)
- Sharp muscle pain and weakness
- Mild to severe bruising
- Muscle spasms
- Limping while walking
- Inability to run, jump, or put any weight on the affected leg
How Physical Therapy Can Help: Physical therapists put together a treatment plan that can help reduce the pain, improve muscle strength, improve flexibility/range of motion, speed up recovery time, and prevent future calf injuries. This is accomplished primarily through a series of exercises targeting the affected muscle(s); and at times, the use of heat, ice, electrostimulation, and other treatments designed to control the pain and enhance the effectiveness of the exercises. To ensure optimal benefit from physical therapy, it is important to stay consistent and miss as few appointments as possible. The exercises build on each other, and the therapist needs time to evaluate your progress. For this reason, missed appointments can slow or even reverse the recovery process.
Why Mobile Physical Therapy: Patients have the choice of receiving physical therapy at a hospital or clinic, or mobile therapy at their home or office from a reputable home health care agency. Mobile physical therapy is an increasingly popular option for several reasons. First and foremost, it is far more convenient to receive therapy at home. Since it is critical to keep your appointments, it is generally better to opt for a treatment plan that makes accomplishing this objective easier.
Mobile physical therapy also provides patients with more individualized treatment. Because therapists come to the home or office, they are able to spend more time with the patient one-on-one to thoroughly evaluate their condition and customize a recovery plan that works best for each individual. Being able to see the place in which the patient spends their time also allows the therapist to make any necessary modifications to the space to ensure an optimal environment for recovery.