Application: Muscle Application
Tape Tension: 25%
Tissue Stretch: Yes
Objective: To reduce tone in the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles
The following video demonstrates an application for supporting a calf strain or reducing tone in the calves.
A very common complaint you hear from patients, runners in particular, is that they have “tight” calves. It’s no wonder considering the amount of time we spend on our feet all day. Our calves bear the brunt of so much load and impact. The reality is that the muscles of the calf are typically not actually tight, but rather ‘hypertonic’. You may think that these are the same thing, but they are actually quite different and the treatment to correct the conditions is just as different.
When a muscle is ‘tight’, the thought process is that you need to stretch the muscle so it lengthens through a full range of motion. How many times have you stretched a tight calf during a session and immediately saw significant increase in the range of motion when actively moved into dorsiflexion? If the muscles were actually ‘tight’ you would have limited mobility in your range.
When a muscle is hypertonic, it means that there is increased neural drive, shortening the muscle fibers, creating an overlapping of sarcomeres. The body will tend to maintain this heightened state of contraction in a perpetual state if no other stimulus is introduced. What our objective should be, rather than just lengthening the tissue, is to decrease the level of tone that is being communicated by the brain to the muscles.
Kinesiology taping is an excellent way to capitalize on your hands-on efforts when working to reduce tone in muscular tissues. A muscle application (MA) of just 25% to both the gastoc and the soleus will provide a mild degree of stimuli to the muscles to relax when applied from insertion to origin. This will help to reduce ischemia, resistance to stretch and any irritation to nociceptors that may be sending aberrant sensory input back to the brain. By providing a continuous external stimulus to the tissues you have just been encouraging to relax, you will significantly increase both the benefits and duration of your work.
As a special thanks to all the amazing people who came by the Bon Vital/Performance Health booth at the AMTA New England Regional Conference this past weekend, we have decided to extend our ‘conference special’. We have had few people inquire this week about the special we had offered and if it was too late.
We are happy to extend the conference special rate of $300 until Friday night for our weekend workshop at Bancroft School of Massage on April 11-12.
We look forward to an exciting and fun weekend with all of you!