What Is Myofascial Release Therapy? (And how can it help my calves?)

Myofascial Release Therapy

If you suffer from frequent calf pain or discomfort when you walk, the chances are that you'll be willing to try just about any potential therapy or solution that might help to alleviate some of the pain you feel. Myofascial release therapy is a specialized form of manual and physical therapy used to effectively treat and rehabilitate aching calf muscles and injured soft tissue.

The term "Myo" means muscle, while "Fascia" means band. Fascia is the connective web of tissues, elastin, and collagen fibers that move throughout your limbs. These fibers allow for your muscles to be both strong, and flexible when you run, walk or move. The fascia surrounds and protects every other tissue, tendon, bone, muscle, organ, and ligament in the body - and in a healthy system, it is wavy and relaxed in configuration. A healthy fascia provides cushioning against the everyday strains of regular movement, and allows us to move safely without any pain or restriction. What's more, because the fascia is dynamic in nature, it responds to internal and external forces applied to it.

What Does Myofascial Release Therapy Have to Do with Calf Pain

Research has frequently discovered that the fascia in our bodies, just like muscle - has the ability to relax and contract according to the circumstances it is in. Not only this, but our fascia plays a huge role when it comes to determining the stability and mobility of major joints like the knee and hip. This substance acts as consistent tension and integrity in places where resistance and tension rely upon each other for function and stability. This is one of the reasons why calf compression can be useful in circumstances where the fascia is weak and unable to provide adequate strength and support.

If you face physical trauma to the calf through poor posture, or an injury during sport, then scars within the fascia can harden in the affected site, leading to increased tension and discomfort in that area. The scarring also causes the fascial network to lose its natural mechanism for cushioning, meaning that internal structures are pulled out of alignment. It's no wonder then, that this crushing pressure results in squashed nerves, damaged lymphatic vessels, and other discomfort to pain-sensitive structures across the fascial pull.

Using Myofascial Release Therapy

Because fascial restrictions caused by injury do not show up in X Rays or MRIs, many patients suffer from tense muscles and pain without any diagnosis. However, if an individual frequently suffers from tight and painful calf muscles, their healthcare provider might choose to offer some insights into possible myofascial release therapy solutions that they can try.

For instance, in some cases, yoga can be particularly useful in stretching out and softening the muscles that have been affected by myofascial tension. In other circumstances, professional physiotherapists might suggest a combination of acupuncture and massage to reduce some of the symptoms associated with excess scarring within the fascial tissue. Stretching and careful exercises can also be very useful in myofascial release therapy.




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