In this article, we take a look at what calf injuries look like and whether or not light therapy can help the cause.
A calf muscle that has been pulled or strained, or injured in one way or the other, has an effect on the muscles and tendons that are located in the back of the lower leg.
A person who has an injury in the calf muscles will in most cases feel gastrocnemius muscle pain, plantaris muscle pain, pain in the Achilles tendon.
When we talk about strains in a muscle or tendon, we mean that the aforementioned muscle and tendon has been injured. The tendons are cords of tissue that are responsible for connecting the muscles to the bones.
A strain or injury in this part of the leg usually occurs when the fibers of the tendon or muscle have been partially or completely torn.
In the following few paragraphs, we will look at the symptoms of a pulled calf muscle and also look into how exactly it is that doctors diagnose it and treat it. Finally, we will take a look at the efficacy of light therapy in helping treat these types of injuries to the muscles of the legs.
Just like most other injuries or illnesses, the symptoms of an injured calf muscle will vary depending on a lot of factors.
The main one being the severity of the muscle injury. If the injury is of a less serious nature, the discomfort and pain that may be felt will most likely feel the discomfort and pain similar to post-workout soreness.
On the other hand, if the injury is more serious than the one mentioned above, it will cause severe and intense and sometimes even debilitating pain. The pain will be so intense that it will make walking difficult or impossible until the muscles of the legs heal. Some of the other most common symptoms of an injured calf muscle are also listed below.
- Muscle spasms and cramps
- Loss or decrease in mobility
Causes of Calf Injuries
There are a number of reasons as to how someone can end up with an injured calf. Some of the most common ones include things like not properly warming up before working out, participating all of a sudden in a particularly exerting sporting activity, not wearing the right kind of footwear while running and also if a person wears shoes with high heels very regularly.
Diagnosing a calf injury
While noticing any of the symptoms mentioned above will point to there being an issue with the calf muscles, it is still recommended that you do get a proper diagnosis from a professional healthcare provider if you do feel those symptoms.
A doctor will diagnose an injured calf muscle by carrying out a proper physical examination. During this process they will be on the lookout for swelling, bruising and redness as well.
The other thing that they will very likely do is to ask the patient if their regular physical activity routine has been disrupted or changed recently.
There are broadly three categories or “grades” of muscle injuries and which group an individual case falls into depends heavily on the patient’s symptoms and also the extent to which the damage to the muscle has occurred.
Mild (Grade 1): The injuries that are of this type are the ones that cause the least amount of damage to the muscle. There might, however, be a very sharp pain at the time the injury occurs. This type of grade 1 muscle injury has a very low risk of this turning into a long-term complication.
Moderate (Grade 2): This category of injury to the muscles causes a moderate amount of damage to the muscles. People who are dealing with this category of muscle injury may have a difficult time walking. Very often, they will experience a sharp pain that does get worse whenever they flex or even extend their foot.
Severe (Grade 3): This is the last of the categories or “grades” of muscle injury and this one is the most severe one. When this type of injury occurs what has happened is that there was a complete tear of the muscle.
This type of injury has the potential to cause a significant amount of bruising and swelling in the calf as well.
Consider Light Therapy
Light therapy of the red light variety (RLT) is a particular type of treatment that can help skin, muscle tissue and also other parts of the body to heal.
It achieves this by exposing the patient to low levels of red or near-infrared light. Infrared light is a kind of energy that is not visible but the body can definitely feel the heat of this type of therapy. Red light is very similar in nature to infrared with the main difference being, that you can see it.
There are a few other names of RLT. These include low-level laser therapy, low-power laser therapy and also photobiomodulation.
How Does It Work?
When you undergo this type of therapy, you are basically exposing yourself to a lamp, device or laser that has a red light.
The mitochondria of the body, a type of cells that are sometimes known as the “power generators” of your cells, then soaks it up and in turn makes more energy.
The benefit of this is that many experts think that the cells repair themselves and also become healthier in turn. This is what causes there to be a healing effect on the skin and muscle tissues.
This type of therapy makes use of very low levels of heat and it does not hurt or burn the skin at all. It is not at all the same as tanning booths and it definitely does not expose you to harmful and damaging UV rays.