Best regimen for treating tendon/muscle strains/pulls ??

Hi all, I have a few questions for you injury vets whom have gone through your fair share of pulls and strains.

My soleus muscle between my achillies and calf is injured, by what degree I'm not entirely sure however the pain is only a mild to moderate ache.

My questions are...

1. isn't inflammation good for healing an injured area? Why suppress it with ice, then?

2. Isn't heat better, to increase bloowflow, thus healing?

3. What does it means when the injury becomes painful, then after a short while of "running through it" subsides to a dormant mild pain? Is damage being done?

4. Is stretching safe? Surely if a tendon is damaged, stretching it would tear it some more, no?

5. Is a deep painful massage applied to the injured area healthy, as some say?

6. And any other information you think might help.


Thanks in advance,



  • Hi Jim,

    First the disclaimer. I'm not a medic. But I have had a more than fair share of injuries!

    1. Inflammation is about protecting more than healing the injured area. It deliberately restricts movement, rather than actively "heals".

    2. Heat on some injuries is helpful at the right time. Rarely is this immediately after an injury, since you are wanting to restrict the amount of inflammation that occurs.

    3. Truth is, that really depends on the injury. Something like tendonitis, you're probably just aggravating the injury. Other injuries, it may be that the respective muscles just need warming up.

    4. "Stretching" is usually safe, but only if done correctly. And "correct" may be different when you are injured than at other times. Generally, I try and warm up before stretching, even if it's not specifically after a run. You don''t even need to warm up the specific area, necessarily, just get the heart pumping a little bit. (I often juggle for a few minutes before stretching, even if I'm focussing on stretching legs e.g hamstrings). The one rule of stretching I always stick to though, is stretch gently, don't force a stretch and don't bounce into stretches. (Dancers, martial artists etc often force stretches to increase flexibility, but only under controlled conditions and I'm not expert enough to go into those!)

    5. Sometimes, but you need specialist advice as to when. (Although over time, you do get used to certain signals that your body is giving)

    6. I've found with tendon injuries that ice massage has been brilliant. You need to be careful about how to go about it and tendons do take time to heal, but I thoroughly recommend at least looking into it, if you have a tendon strain of some sort.

    Sorry about the length of the reply, but good luck image

  • I'm quite prone to tendinitis so discussed this a lot with my physio / read a lot (have peroneal tendinitis at the moment as it happens image

    Why does it stop hurting as you run - it warms up.  You definitely CAN do further damage if you keep running through this, as you may not be aware of the injury until hours later. 

    Tendons apparently do not have a great blood supply; the ice stimulates blood flow and promotes healing.  Shoudl try to do it for a few minutes several times a day.  As Juggler says, the stretching is about mobility, and ensuring that the tendon length is not impacted as you heal.   Gently does it.

    Massage is to increase mobility but also to remove granulation that occurs (I think as part of the scarrin) as the injury repairs itself.  You'll often see cross-massage on a tendon rather than just following the line along the tendon.

    Don't rush back - tendonitis has tendency to become chronic, as I've learnt.



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