BOTOX® slims down enlarged calf muscles

Now there’s hope for those with genetically large gastrocnemii (calf muscles) or those who have hypertrophied (grown-in muscle mass) calves from over-exertion (and from wearing high heels too often?) to have shapely legs.

Partial resection (portions are surgically removed) of the gastrocnemius muscle and selective cutting of the nerve supply to portions of the muscle have been successfully performed. And there are other procedures, like liposuction for the calves and use of fat-burning radiofrequency machines for calf fat removal. But procedures targeting the subcutaneous fat of the calves will not be effective for calf reduction when the enlargement is mainly muscular or the muscle tissues are causing the bulk.

In a study published in the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery journal, a noninvasive (nonsurgical) way to reduce calf muscle was being tested using Botox (Clostridium botulinum toxin type A), an FDA-approved drug that has been used for medical conditions and cosmetically to reduce wrinkles in the face. In the said research, Botox was injected into the medial head of the gastrocnemius muscle. A slight reduction was noticed of the medial calf a week after treatment, and atrophy became clearly visible within a month. The effect was maintained for six months after the injection. No functional disabilities or discomfort in gait and running were observed. The medial head, the most prominent calf muscle that also happens to be functionally redundant, most commonly forms a bulky mass at the inner part of the back of leg.

Botox has been used for its safe selective denervation (blocks nerve signals so that muscle fibers stop firing) of targeted muscles, which causes only temporary paralysis.