As you all may or may not know, I endured a puncture wound on my left knee while I ran at the Boston Marathon. Well, it's been almost a month now and the wound is healing up nicely except for the fact that my left calf muscle is extremely tight and sore. This is very frustrating because I haven't been able to run as much as I'd like to. I've been averaging about 18-20 miles per week, but I would like to increase that number soon.
Being a Type A personality and rather impatient runner, I began to do some research on how to relieve muscle tightness. I found some interesting information that I thought I'd share with y'all.
Why do muscles get tight?
There are a few reasons why muscles get tight such as, muscle weakness, to protect themselves from injury, emotional and physical stress and muscle stiffness due to the inflammation of the muscles or joints.
How to relieve muscle tightness:
1. Self-massage: Place one finger on the "trigger point" (trigger point is the exact point where the muscle hurts) then apply a little bit of pressure for 30-60 seconds. After 30 seconds the pressure should be released. You could repeat this 2-3 times a day until the knot softens up.
This is my form of self-massage. It's a hand-held roller called the ROLL Recovery.
2. Foam Rollers: Foam rollers can be used in lieu of a deep tissue massage. (It hurts badly, but it works!). You basically exert pressure on the muscle with the roller on the ground, so the muscle that it being treated is on top of the roller. Keep your hands on the ground and roll back and forth. You can hold at the trigger point for 30 seconds for added exertion. The foam roller can be used daily.
3. Stretching: Stretch the specific muscle that hurts. In my case, I would benefit from calf stretches such as:
"The Runner's Stretch"
4. Massage: A trained massage therapist can locate the muscles that need loosening and will apply the correct amount of pressure to get rid of the tightness.
5. Icing: Rest the strained muscle on an ice pack for about 20 minutes.
A veggie bag works.
6. Take a warm bath: Soak in Epsom salt. The salts aid with muscle pain and soreness.
What do you do to relieve muscle soreness and tightness?
I am grateful for my massage therapist Jodie Espinet for
being the best masseuse ever! I'll be seeing her on Saturday.