After recovering from an injury, it’s important that you invest time and effort into prevention so that you don’t have to experience the pain of a calf pull again.
Some key principles to follow to prevent future muscle strains include:
- Try not to compensate for pain or weakness in one muscle group by overusing muscles in other areas. Instead, work to proportionally strengthen all muscle groups relative to your activity, fitness level, and needs. The more balanced your strength and flexibility throughout your body, the better off you’ll be at avoiding injury – and this no more true than in your leg and lower back muscles.
- If you regularly tax the calf muscles, do what you can to make sure they are both strong and supple. Too much strength and not enough flexibility, or vice versa, will work against you and lead to future tears and pulls, if not even more serious injuries.
- If you do not regularly tax your calf muscles in your normal calf exercises routine or sport, incorporate exercises into your strength training routine that seek to strengthen and stretch these important muscles.
- Warm up properly. Like all your muscles, your calves are more flexible when they are warmed up, so stretching after a short warm up is important. However, be sure to learn the proper ways to stretch, so you don’t accidentally overstretch and thus strain your calf muscles.
- Be sure to learn the proper techniques for your sport or exercise of choice. When you know how to perform the movements correctly – particularly which muscle groups to use effectively – not only will your enjoyment and skill level improve, but your chance for injury will dramatically decrease.
- Stretch AFTER you exercise. Just as important as stretching before you use your calf muscles is stretching after you’re done. When the body is already warmed up, it’s an excellent time to work on your flexibility. This will also help prevent over-tightening as you cool down.
If you want to keep yourself active and injury-free, check out these additional tips for muscle injury prevention and maintenance.