Many people suffer from tight calf muscles, due to the fact that these important muscles are constantly working to help us walk and stand effectively. If calf muscles aren’t kept loose, then a person is under increased risk of injury to their Achilles tendon or ankle.
It’s common for calf muscles to spasm, which causes what is known as a Charlie horse. This is when the calf muscle balls up tight and has trouble relaxing; needless to say, it is extremely painful. Keeping calf muscles healthy can reduce the risk of going through this phenomenon.
The calf muscles pull on many other muscles throughout the lower extremities. That’s why people who have tight calf muscles may later on tear a ligament or tendon. The ankle is heavily affected by the health of calf muscles, which is why it’s important to pay attention to their health so that there is no increased risk from walking or running.
Someone that has tightness will either experience pain from using their legs or will have their mobility reduced. The calf muscles are one of the most important parts of the leg, so it’s impossible to be fully functional when the calf muscles aren’t working. That’s why it’s so necessary to keep them healthy.
Luckily, these problems can be avoided by stretching those calf muscles with a few easy exercises. Anyone that is feeling serious pain in their legs or calf should go directly to a doctor or physical therapist. If someone tries to stretch too hard with an injured calf, then they run the risk of causing myriad injuries to the rest of their body.
Stretching calf muscles is easy to do no matter what age group or level of physical ability one has. Only a professional can heal complicated problems; however, those that are looking for an easy way to keep their calf muscles relaxed should try these stretches.
The Runner’s Stretch
- Stand 1′ away from a sturdy wall.
- Place one leg back, keeping both feet planted.
- Lean forward slowly until tension is felt in the back leg.
- Retain this pose for 30 seconds.
- Repeat on the other side.
The Seated Calf Stretch
- Sit on the ground and extend both legs forward.
- Try to grab each foot by leaning forward.
- Pull the feet until tension is felt.
- Repeat on the other side.
The Towel Calf Stretch
- Find a towel, cloth, or other kind of strap.
- Sit on the ground and extend both legs.
- Wrap the cloth or strap around one foot.
- Pull on the strap so that the feet are pulled.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat on the other leg.
It’s important to remember that any tension felt during stretching shouldn’t ever be painful. If any serious pain is felt where there should only be tension or slight discomfort, then it’s important to seek the advice from a doctor or physical therapist.
The best thing about these stretches is that they can be safely done every day. They require little to no equipment and are quick to perform. Since calf muscles are used frequently, it’s important to stretch them on a regular basis. It’s safe to do these stretches several times a day.
Anybody that has a history of injury in their calf muscles should be wary about performing these stretches. Similarly, overextending tight calf muscles can easily tear a muscle in the leg. People who have had an injury in their legs should carefully keep their calf muscles stretched in order to help alleviate their pain.