In the first hour of open clinic I treated a client who had delayed onset muscles soreness (DOMs) from physical activity 3 days ago. They were out of the acute stages therefore I was able to treat using soft tissue massage.
As part of the subjective assessment the client could tell me that they felt achiness in both calf muscles, especially the right one. I then went on to complete the objective assessment where I observed more muscle bulk on the right side of the body, the feet were everted and they had slight Varus knees. During palpation I noticed more hypersensitiveness in the right leg, which is probably due to them being right leg dominant (which I found out from the subjective assessment). The final thing I tested was range of motion (ROM) at the ankle using plantarflexion and dorsiflexion and there did not appear to be any limitations. I then decided on a treatment plan and used soft tissue massage and Muscular Energy Techniques (METs) on the gastrocnemius. I used effleurage to create heat and to feel for any potential abnormalities where as the aim of petrissage is to increase blood circulation and lymphatic drainage to remove toxins. I used post isometric relaxation (PIR) which is a type of MET that contracts the target muscle. I used this technique as it strengthens weak muscles and stretches tight muscles therefore improving flexibility. I tested ROM at the end of the massage to see if there had been any improvement.
Areas for further improvement
My first area for improvement would be to give my client stretches or exercises to do at home, so they can try to release/prevent tightness in the future. If you do give them activities to perform make sure you demonstrate how to do it to ensure that they have the correct technique and form, preventing possible injury. I could do research to consider other special tests or movements that could test ROM of the gastrocnemius and soleus. In the session I only tested plantarflexion and dorsiflexion of the ankle but other movements should have been tested if I was more knowledgeable on what to test.
Things to remember
- It may not be suitable to treat using soft tissue massage if the athlete is in the acute stages of injury
- If there are any areas of aggravation ensure you are careful so you do not make it any worse
- Warm the massage medium up before putting it onto the client