What is Soleus Muscle and What is its Function?
The Soleus Muscle is behind the lower part of the leg. The main function of soleus muscle is to stabilize the ankle joint. The Soleus Muscle originates from the posterior part of the fibular head and the medial end of the tibial shaft. When the Soleus Muscle inserts into the gastrocnemius aponeurosis then it forms what we know as the Achilles Tendon. The soleus muscle is innervated by the tibial nerves. This muscle gets its blood supply from the sural, peroneal and the posterior tibial arteries. As stated, the main function of the Soleus Muscle is to stabilize the ankle joint and this muscle is primarily used for pushing the foot off of the ground when walking. Any strain or injury to the Soleus Muscle will result in significant impairment with regard to performing normal activities of daily living and other recreational activities. An individual with Soleus Muscle Strain will have problems with ambulation, negotiating stairs along with doing recreational activities like dancing, jogging, running, or even do a brisk walk. The patient may also feel a sense of imbalance if the Soleus Muscle is strained or injured as this muscle also assists in balance.
Signs and Symptoms of Soleus Muscle Strain or Injury
If there is a suspicion of a Soleus Muscle Strain then the patient will experience the following symptoms:
- Severe pain in the heel to an extent that the patient may not even be able to bear weight on the affected foot can be a symptom of soleus muscle strain.
- Severe pain in the ankle with difficulty putting weight on the affected ankle
- Pain in the calf radiating to the back of the knee can be a symptom of soleus muscle strain.
- Severe knee pain
- Low back pain at times, which can be severe
- Extremely sensitive lower back region
- Circulation problems in the affected foot with discoloration of the foot
What Can Cause Soleus Muscle Strain?
There are certain activities which may result in a Soleus Muscle Strain. These activities are:
- Walking on inclines like hills
- Frequently climbing stairs
- People who are involved with frequent cycling can also strain the Soleus Muscle
- Athletes involved in long jump also put tremendous pressure on this muscle resulting in a Soleus Muscle Strain.
- Females who have a habit of wearing high heels also put excessive pressure on the Soleus Muscle resulting in a Strained Soleus.
- People who use recliners a lot are also prone to an Soleus Strain.
Risk Factors for Soleus Muscle Strain
There are also certain medical conditions which may cause Soleus Muscle Strain. These medical conditions are:
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Varicose veins
- Nocturnal cramping
- Posterior compartment syndrome
- Frequent knee dislocations
- Heel spurs
- Baker's Cyst
- Achilles tendon rupture
- Plantar fasciitis
What is the Treatment for Soleus Muscle Strain?
Treatment for Soleus Muscle Strain or Injury is normally conservative. Some of the treatment measures for Strained Soleus are:
Adequate Rest: To begin with, the patient suffering from soleus muscle strain needs to rest and not bear on the injured foot for a week or so to allow healing of the muscle to occur. It will also allow inflammation and swelling associated with soleus muscle strain to come down.
Heat and Ice Therapy to Treat Soleus Muscle Strain: The next step towards treatment for an injured or strained soleus muscle is application of heat and ice. The patient may apply ice packs to the injured area for 15-20 minutes two to three times a day. The patient can also use warm compresses to the injured foot to calm down the swelling and inflammation. One should make sure that both ice and warm treatments should not be given simultaneously.
NSAID to Treat Soleus Muscle Strain: The next step towards treatment for Soleus Muscle Strain is use of antiinflammatory medications like ibuprofen or Tylenol to reduce pain and inflammation.
Wraps: The patient can also use Wraps to compress the affected area of the foot so that the inflammation and swelling associated with soleus muscle strain goes down. These wraps also provide pain relief as a result of a Strain or Injury to the Soleus Muscle.