Many people have tight calves for various reasons: Poor gait mechanics, wearing raised heals, bad posture, or simply from their genetics. This results in a lack of ankle mobility. Dorsiflexion, which is the motion when the toes are brought closer to the shin, will be limited with tight calves and can cause a number of problems.
Those who stretch consistently typically stretch their calves, but they often forget one very important stretch: The soleus stretch.
The two muscles of the calf are the gastrocnemius and the soleus. While other muscles do exist around the back of the lower leg and knee, these are the two that we most concerned with.
The soleus is the dominant muscle being used when pointing your foot in a bent knee position.
We need to stretch our calves not only with a straight leg, but also with a bent knee. People often do the straight leg calf stretch which stretches the gastrocnemius, but they almost always forget to include the bent knee version which then places the stretch on the soleus.
Learn how to stretch the soleus muscle.
Why you should stretch your soleus.
So why does the soleus get tight? Well, it could be many reasons. Here are just a few possibilities:
These activities can result in a tight soleus which can then be felt as knee, ankle, or foot pain. Many people will have no idea that it is their soleus causing the issue. Of course there are thousands of reasons people have pain in the knee, lower leg, ankle, or foot. You may want to try stretching the soleus to see if it is in fact tight and possibly the cause or contributor of your pain. Think about the last activities you have been performing and if they seem similar to the ones described above, consider the possibility of a tight soleus muscle and stretch it.
Personal trainer serving Palo Alto, Los Altos, Mountain View. Breakthrough Personal training. Calf stretch, soleus stretch.
Jerry Yuhara, CPT, CES, CMT #75123
299 California Ave, Suite 120
Palo Alto, CA 94306
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