2022 Mr. Olympia’s third-place finisher, Nick Walker, tore his hamstring and injured his calf during his prep for the 2023 Mr. Olympia contest — he announced his withdrawal the week of the competition. Despite his withdrawal, Walker still attended as a spectator to see Derek Lunsford claim the Sandow trophy and become the first two-division Olympia champion.
Walker’s focus has shifted toward his recovery. He stated in his injury announcement that he intends to heal and return to the Olympia stage. On Nov. 14, 2023, Walker shared his rehab strategy in a video published on his YouTube channel. Check it out below:
Nick Walker’s Hamstring Rehab
Walker ventured to Fixed By KG Recovery Lounge to the treatment he’s receiving for his calf and hamstring. Walker’s physical therapist, Karen Garrett, was impressed with the lack of swelling in Walker’s leg and pleased with the speed it seemed to be healing. The bruising makes the injury appear much worse than it actually is. Walker actually injured both of his legs — his left sustained a partial tear, and his right endured a grade-one strain.
Garrett realigned and adjusted Walker’s legs on a massage table while discussing whether pulsed electromagnetic field/frequency (PEMF) therapy would reduce inflammation. Garrett believes it certainly would. PEMF is administered through an infrared mat with compression. It stimulates the calf, improving circulation and flushing out inflammation. The mat also pumps fluid into the joints, helping to heal damaged cells.
According to BioMed Research International, “evidence suggests that frequencies higher than 100 Hz…and chronic exposure more than 10 days would be more effective in establishing a cellular response.” (1)
Following PEMF, Garrett applied cupping therapy local to the region of Walker’s injury. Cupping creates a vacuum where the skin rises and reddens while the blood vessels expand, creating more room for fluid and blood to the injured area. Garrett continued the session with scraping — using an instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) tool to break up tissue adhesions and further reduce swelling in Walker’s lower legs.
Scraping “can facilitate weightlifting ability, reduce the RPE, and inhibit muscle injury by promoting recovery from fatigue caused by normal weightlifting training,” per the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. (2) A deep tissue massage on Walker’s right calf and some red light therapy closed the session.
Reasons for Physical Therapy
Garrett performed the healing modalities for Walker’s legs for three main reasons:
Removal of scar tissue/pain
At the time of this article’s publication, Walker expects to heal in time to compete during the 2024 Olympia qualification period and return to the Mr. Olympia stage.
Featured image: @nick_walker39 on Instagram
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