Tight calves can contribute to many injuries involving the foot, ankle, knee, and hip. For this reason, making sure that these muscles are flexible is a great way to help prevent and rehabilitate injuries. There are two major muscles on the back of our lower leg, and this is a good stretch for both of them. This calf stretch is also easy to perform and requires little to no equipment!
Who Should Use This Calf Stretch?
This exercise is good for anyone who thinks they might have tight calf muscles. But, in reality, stretching our calves can be good for everyone! For most people, long periods of our days are spent sedentary, resulting in these muscles becoming tight. It can also be good for individuals who are experiencing pain in their foot, ankle, knee, and/or hip. Tight calves can be one of the reasons we develop pain in these areas, such as in the case of plantar fasciitis
The only equipment needed for this stretch is a wall or stable surface in front of you. This surface should be at a height which allows you to stabilize yourself in a slightly forward leaning position.
- Stand approximately 2 feet from a wall or stable surface, slightly bent forward, with your hands supported on that surface.
- Take a comfortable step back with the leg you are stretching. In this position, you should be able to comfortably keep your heel on the ground with the leg straight.
- Keeping both feet on the floor, lean your body towards the surface, using your arms as support. You should feel a calf stretch below the back of your knee.
- Your hips should be facing the wall at all times. If you rotate your hips, you will take the tension off of your calves, and decrease the effectiveness of the stretch.
- Maintain this position for 30-60 seconds, take a break, and repeat.
Important Tip: The movement should feel like a “stretch” but should not be painful. As with any rehab exercises, it is important to be using them in the pain-free range. This means stopping when we feel pain, as we do not want to risk making the injury and pain any worse.
If this movement is too difficult, try stretching slightly less and/or ask your physiotherapist to show you a more basic modification. If it’s too easy, you may be ready to progress the exercise, or you may be performing it incorrectly. In both scenarios, it is important to consult with your physiotherapist before changing your exercise routine.
What To Expect
If this is your first time doing an exercise like this one, you may experience some soreness 24-48 hours after completing it for the first time. If that’s the case, take time to rest and consult your physiotherapist if it persists. As with all exercise, make
Stay safe and take care,
Owner of First Line Physiotherapy