Your calf muscle is located on the back of your lower leg and is composed of two different muscles. Your SOLEUS is the smaller, flat muscle that lies under your GASTROCNEMIUS, which is the larger surface muscle. The gastrocnemius has two heads which create its diamond shape.
These two muscles merge at the base of the calf muscle, which then forms the ACHILLES TENDON which attaches on the base of your heel.
The calf operates during walking/running/jumping by pulling the heel up to allow forward movement. Calf tightness, strains and pains can occur from overuse of the calf, biomechanical deficiencies from your ankle/knee/hip and other soft tissues that cause an overload of stress, poor footwear, excess weight and excessive exercise. Here are some simple calf stretching exercises to perform to reduce tightness.
- Standing Calf Stretch
TIPS: Ensure both heels are flat on the ground and hold for 30 seconds. Perform 3 times in the morning and 3 times in the evening.
- Towel Stretch
TIPS: Keep your knee straight and wrap the towel around the ball of your foot for the best stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, 3 times in the morning and 3 times in the evening.
TIPS: Keep heel firmly on the ground and push through the heel to feel the stretch. Hold for 10-15 seconds, 3 times in the morning and 3 times in the evening.
- Standing Wall Stretch
TIPS: Bend back knee at 45 degrees and keep both heels firmly planted on the ground. Hold for 30 seconds, 3 times in the morning and 3 times in the evening.
- Foot-on-wall Stretch
TIPS: Push toes against the wall and keep heel firmly locked on the ground to feel the soleus stretch. Hold 20-30 seconds, 3 times in the morning and 3 times in the evening.
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