Today, I will share three stretches to reduce calf pain and tightness.
This past weekend, my wife was out of town. The kids taught me the latest craze in their school: bottle flipping.
So, last weekend, we spent roughly two hours walking around the neighborhood trying to bottle flip on the different things we saw around the area. However, I don’t quite understand the point of bottle flipping, but it was great to spend a bunch of time with my kids doing something they enjoy.
Today, I wanted to answer a question from George, an avid ExercisesForInjuries subscriber:
“What are some exercises that help with a dull pain in my calf near my ankle?”
George says this past winter, he slipped and felt a pull in his calf area. He went to his doctor, who said it was not anything severe. He should stretch it out and then asked if I had some exercises to recommend.
George, you can do stretching and other things to help overcome your calf pain and tightness.
CLICK HERE to watch the YouTube video.
I got Donnalee to demonstrate the exercises.
1a. Foam Rolling Out the Calf Helps Your Calf Pain and Tightness.
You can use a 1-foot foam roller to reduce calf pain and tightness. Sit on the floor, flexing your right knee. Lift your left leg, placing your heel above the foam roller. Prop yourself up with your arms, roll below your knees, and roll back to the calf area. You will probably feel some sensitive areas.
Foam Rolling Out the Calf
We are working on decreasing the tension in the calf area. We are working on elongating the tissue, addressing overactive muscle fibers, and dealing with trigger points. This will elongate and decrease the tension so that there will be less pulling in the calf area.
1b. Foam Rolling Out the Calf (Rotating Legs Inward)
Same as above, but turn your leg inward and then roll through.
Foam Rolling Out the Calf (Rotating Legs Inward)
Turning the leg inward will target working more on the medial or inside part of the calf.
1c. Foam Rolling Out the Calf (Rotating Legs Outward)
Same as above, but turn the leg outward and then roll through.
Foam Rolling Out the Calf (Rotating Legs Outward)
Turning the leg outward will target working more on the lateral or outer part of the calf will ease your calf pain and tightness.
Perform one set of 5 reps in a smooth, controlled movement with the intensity of a massage. We do not want screaming pain because if you irritate the tissue, it will do the exact reverse. It will tighten up more and lead to more pain.
Alternative to foam roller: Medicine ball, soccer ball, or basketball
Rolling Out the Calf
2. Calf Stretch
In a standing position, take a big step forward with your toes pointing straight ahead. Most of your weight should be on the back foot, keeping your heel down to get a stretch in the calf area.
In this stretch, we target the calf area where you feel the stretch may differ depending on where you have tension or tightness.
To avoid calf pain and tightness, perform one set of 2 reps on each side, with a 20-second hold and intensity of a light stretch, alternating back and forth. Be sure to stretch the non-injured side as well to aid in prevention.
3. Heel Drops Reduces Calf Pain and Tightness
Use a step ― either a foam roller or the bottom step of the stairs. Place the balls of your feet on the step. Place your hands on the wall or railing for balance. With your ankles straight, drop your heels down.
This is a dynamic stretch to the calves.
Perform one set of 5 reps in a smooth, controlled movement, holding that bottom position for 2 seconds with the intensity of feeling a good stretch.
Give these exercises a go to overcome the dull pain in your calf, just above your ankles.
Rick Kaselj, MS
If you are looking for a fast, simple, safe, and effective program to eliminate stubborn knee pain and patellofemoral syndrome, click here to check out the Patellofemoral Syndrome Solution program!