Whether it is from a muscle spasm or an overuse injury, knowing how to use a TENS unit for calf pain is your first step to relieving the pain and discomfort.
TENS units have really taken off over the last few years and now more than ever people are turning to them for a medication-free form of pain management.
TENS unit placement for calf pain
Ok let’s get right to it. Basically with TENS therapy you want to surround the pain with the electrode pads. If you are using a TENS unit that has 2 channels (4 pads) you will be able to use 2 electrode pads on each calf.
Simply place the pads over the calf muscle about 2-3 inches apart. If only one calf is in pain you can place all 4 pads. As you can see in the picture the placement of the electrode pads are properly spaced out and are surrounding the area of pain.
While the TENS unit electrode pads are placed over the calf it is also a good idea to use an ice pack. It is safe to place an ice pack on top of the electrode pads. This will also help in reducing the pain and inflammation.
Experiment with the electrode pad placement
There is no “this is the exact location on your calf to place the pads”. Everyone reacts to electrical stimulation differently and some trial and error will go a long way in finding the optimal spot to place the electrode pads.
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Why should you trust me?
I have extensively used TENS units for neck, shoulder, back and knee issues and became familiar with TENS therapy through countless visits to my chiropractor and physical therapist’s office.
Having spent many hours researching and reading how TENS therapy can alleviate pain, I consider myself knowledgeable in the use of TENS units and have used them regularly to help manage pain over the years.
Many of my recommendations are from firsthand experience/use and hopefully my information can be a benefit to you.
Want to know where else a TENS unit can be placed? Check out my TENS placement guide for how to use one for-
Helpful tips for using a TENS unit
Here are some good rule of thumb, common sense tips for using your TENS unit.
- Always wipe the skin where the electrode pads will be placed. This will remove any oils or dirt which will keep the pads sticky and you will be able to get multiple uses out of them.
- Use the piece of plastic that the electrode pads come with and stick them back on it. This will keep dust and dirt off and maintain their stickiness.
- Never place a TENS pad directly over your heart, spine, eyes, mouth or carotid artery. I know its common sense but I will state it anyway.
- Never place the pads over broken or irritated skin.
- Always make sure the TENS device is turned off prior to placing the pads.
- If you are going to move the electrode pads to another body part make sure you turn the device off first.
- Experiment with different setting and modes. Sometimes it will take some trial and error to find the right mode or setting to get the most out of your TENS unit.
Thank you for reading,