Calf Stretching Routine
Stretching is an important aspect of any exercise routine. Stretching before and after exercise is commonly believed to reduce the chance of injury, decrease delayed onset muscle soreness and also increase the range of motion (rom) in joints.
When the calf muscle is tight it limits the amount of motion around the ankle, specifically dorsiflexion. To compensate for this decreased range of motion the foot is forced to pronate (roll in) in order to walk effectively. Pronation is the most common cause of foot pain, so by decreasing the amount that the foot pronates we decrease the amount of wear and tear on the foot and lower limb.
When starting a stretching routine, it is best to warm up the area that is to be stretched. This increased the blood flow to the area and also increased the temperature of the muscle. When muscles are warm they are more elastic and more accepting of a stretch.
Below is an example of a good calf stretching routine.
1 Warm Up – Calf Raises
Duration: 15 seconds
Raise and lower both legs on the edge of a ledge (stairs, gutter) together and repeat this 15 times. Each up and down motion should be performed in a controlled motion and take approximately 1 second for the up and 1 second for the down section. If you can’t perform 15 raises, start with 10 and then increase this as your strength increases.
You will feel a working / warming feeling in the calf muscles and increased warmth in this area.
2 – Calf Stretch
Lower one leg on the edge of a ledge and hold
Do Not: Bounce, rock or sway. The idea is to keep the tension on the muscle for the entire 15 seconds.
Avoiding Pain and Injury:
At around the 15 second mark of the stretch you will feel increased warmth in the calf muscle. This is normal, however stretching should never be painful. If you are painful the day following this routine, you have overstretched and you should cut down this routine.
Active Care Podiatry at Capalaba can help you to work through your calf tightness issues.