Runner’s Edge: Stretch Problem Calf in Different Directions

As a runner with chronic foot/leg pain, or as a massage therapist working on a client with this issue, you may need to be creative to find relief.

I’m going to address this article to the massage therapist, so if you are trying this on your own leg or foot, just keep that in mind.

First, try myofascial release (MFR) from the bottom of the foot all the way past the knee, deep stripping, petrassage and cross fiber friction.  Next, Stretch the effected area and do MFR and deep stripping again.  Go past each joint with your work, being mindful of the area behind the knee and the possible tender areas around the ankle.

If these techniques are not getting the job done, and the pain or tightness is still there, make sure you are stretching the effected area in different angles.  We were taught that the gastroc flexes the foot, but you must flex and move the foot in many angels to pinpoint the specific strand of the muscle that is feeling pain.

Usually, you must try several different angles of stretching to find the angle you need.

First, find the specific area that is bothersome. Hold your finger in the middle of the most painful or most tense area.  Have them flex their foot.  Have them push against your hand, with pressure on the big toe, little toe, side of their foot, etc, one at a time until you get the effected muscle to contract.

Once you find the problem spot, stretch it in the opposite direction, do MFR, compressions and deep stripping. You can also do ice massage and heat, which I discuss in another article, “Self-Care for Bruises,” and “Ice Massage”.

If you ever have any questions, email me and we can try to find a solution.

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