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Maintaining an active lifestyle with treatment strategies for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) With the turn of each New Year, creating and maintaining an active lifestyle is a priority on nearly everyone’s calendar.  One familiar experience that individuals have commonly felt after a new or intense exercise program is delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).  Eccentric exercises are predominantly known to heighten the effects of DOMS.  An eccentric contraction is when the muscle is elongating while contracting against resistance, like lowering your forearm while performing a bicep curl.  The typical symptom of soreness peaks 24-48 hours after exercising and reduces within 96 hours.  The severity of muscle soreness can be a result of the intensity at which the exercise is performed, the duration, and the newness of the workout routine. 

In order to maintain an active lifestyle and not become discouraged from continuing an exercise program, here are two treatment routines used for sore calf muscles that can be performed to decrease the effects.       

Cold water immersion- Foam Roller- Static Stretching Routine
  • Place your calf muscles in cold water (58-60 degrees) for 15 minutes will help alleviate the pain associated with DOMS
  • Use a foam roller to massage the calf muscles for 10 minutes. Place each individual calf muscle on the foam roller and letting it run along the length of the calf muscle for 1 minute.  Then let the tender spots of the calf muscles sit on top of the foam roller for 30 seconds in each location.  Performing this routine on each leg for a total of 10 minutes is beneficial in reducing DOMS and swelling.  
  • Static stretching the calf muscles with knee bent while placing hands on wall will focus on the lower part of the calf muscle (soleus) and with the knee straight, stretches the upper part (gastrocnemius).  Performing this static stretch for 3 sets of 20 seconds in each position will help loosen and lengthen the muscle to reduce tightness. 
 
Dynamic Stretching – Static Stretching – Ice Message – Compression Sleeves Routine
  • Positioning the body on all fours in an upside down V-position with one knee straight and the other foot off the ground and resting on the opposite ankle.  Next, lower the heel of the planted foot down as close to the ground, then lift the heel, rising up onto the ball of the foot.  Repeating this dynamic stretch 10 times on each calf will warm up the muscle.
  • Static stretching the calf muscles with knee bent while placing hands on wall will focus on the lower part of the calf muscle (soleus) and with the knee straight, stretches the upper part (gastrocnemius).  Performing this static stretch for 3 sets of 20 seconds in each position will help loosen and lengthen the muscle to reduce tightness. 
  • Ice massaging the calf muscle by continuously rubbing ice over the skin in circles for a period of 5 to 10 minutes until the area becomes numb will help reduce any pain.
  • Applying compression sleeves like Zamst’s LC-1 compression sleeves will help reduce muscle fatigue, increase circulation and recovery.
 
Using these techniques will ensure that you’ll maintain the ability to continue in reaching your goals and stay active as you exercise.