Here is another post from the draft folder of EFI.
It targets runners but it is applicable to anyone that does calf stretching.
I just wrapped up the Injury Free Running course, and one great little point came up during the class.
We had a student, we assessed her running by observing her running. Then we looked at her range of motion, functional strength, and core strength.
Then we started implemented the corrective exercise program.
When we were doing the gastroc stretch, what we found was when we initially did the gastroc stretch she didn’t feel the stretch at all. Even though the results of her assessment showed it was tight.
A lot of times I end up seeing this with clients.
You see this with many people that stretch their calf, especially runners. Many times the toe out is a common compensation strategy in order for the ankle to get greater range of motion in dorsiflexion. With this compensation, the runner avoids the part of the calf that needs to be stretched (the lateral head of the calf).
They’ll do the gastroc stretch that they usually do, and they won’t end up feeling any kind of stretch.
The first thing I do to correct them is to make sure that that back foot is pointing straight ahead.
Another way that I can intensify the stretch and focus more on the lateral gastroc is if I get them to bring the heel out. That ends up focusing more on that lateral gastrocs, and they oftentimes will get a better calf stretch. For many people the lateral calf/gastrocs is tight and needs to be stretched.
There you go, give that a go.
The first step is to correct the client and move the foot so the toe is straight ahead. After this correction, you get feedback from you client to see if this changes the stretch. If there still is not a stretch, you can move the foot in by rotating at the hip. That will make the stretch more effective.
A program that I put together to balance out the body to help with running is called Corrective Exercises for Running Injury-free. You can check it out here.
Rick Kaselj, MS