Calf Stretching Exercises

By Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC

Las Vegas Informer

Stretch your calf muscles to decrease muscle tension, increase flexibility and reduce injury risk. Target the calf muscles to help prevent the occurrence of Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis and strained calf muscles.

Anatomy: The calf muscles consist of the gastrocnemius, soleus and plantaris. The gastrocnemius and soleus attach to the heel via the Achilles tendon. The calf muscles flex to perform an ankle motion called plantar flexion. During plantar flexion the front of the foot and ankle are pulled downward. Flexion of the calf muscles when standing raises us on to our tiptoes.

Stretching: Proper stretching technique is necessary for maximum results. Exhale and ease into a comfortable stretch. Hold it for thirty to sixty seconds. Execute two to four repetitions of each stretch with each leg. If a specific stretch elicits pain or symptoms, immediately forgo that particular stretch and proceed to another. Perform static stretches before and after running to increase flexibility and decrease muscle tension.

Here are three basic calf stretches.

Step Stretch: Stand up straight with the balls of your feet on a step or curb. Hold on to a railing or solid structure for support. Exhale and slowly let your heels drop until you feel a comfortable stretch. Attempt to curl your heels toward the step. The step stretch can be performed single leg or double leg. Shift your weight throughout the forefoot for each repetition to target the entire calf.

Standing Calf Stretch: Stand up straight with one leg forward and one leg back. Place both hands on a sturdy surface in front of you. Keep your back heel on the ground. Exhale and shift forward from the hips. Do not bend forward at the waist. Slide slowly into a comfortable stretch.

Calf Stretching Device: Several u-shaped calf stretching devices exist. Hold on to a sturdy structure. Stand up straight and place your foot on the stretching device. Exhale and stretch your feet backward until you feel a comfortable stretch in your calf. During each repetition focus your body weight at a slightly different area of your foot. This guarantees all the calf muscle fibers are stretched. Wear shoes to make this stretch more comfortable.

Do several dynamic motions for the calves before performing static calf stretches. Dynamic calf motions are heel walking, toe walking, bouncing on the balls of your feet, and rocking back and forth between your heels and forefoot.

Conclusion: Carry out calf stretches with diligence. Strong flexible calf muscles propel us forward while running, walking and jumping. Reduce muscle tension in your calf to increase range of motion, maximize performance and lower injury risk.

Dr_Donald_A_Ozello_thumb_medium150_Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is the owner and treating doctor at Championship Chiropractic. 6445 S. Tenaya Way, Suite #120, Las Vegas, NV 89113.  His web address is www.ChampionshipChiropractic.com. He can be contacted at (702) 286-9040 and DrO@ChampionshipChiropractic.com.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello’s mission is to educate and inspire others to live healthier, fitter, more functional lives.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC proudly handles Standard Process Supplements and Foot Levelers Orthotics.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC writes a weekly health, fitness and nutrition column for the Las Vegas Informer. His is published in OnFitness MagazineLiveStrong.ComSpineUniverse.com and EHow.com . He has educational health, fitness and nutritional videos on Informer TV and Livestrong.com.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is an award-winning public speaker. He has spoken to numerous groups on the importance of health, fitness, exercise, ergonomics, nutrition and injury prevention.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is a fitness enthusiast. Functional kettlebell training, running and bike riding are his favorite types of exercise.

Before pursuing his career in Chiropractic, Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Bremerton, SSN 698.

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One Response to Calf Stretching Exercises

  1. Poor posture and improper upper body mechanics created by strength imbalances lead to shoulder impingement by restricting the supraspinatus tendon’s narrow passageway. If the internal rotator muscles of the shoulder (pectoralis major, subscapularis and latissimus dorsi) are overpowering the rotator cuff and the scapular retractor muscles, the shoulders will be rolled forward into bad posture. This poor position, along with forward carriage of the head, was named upper cross syndrome by functional anatomy expert Dr. Vladimir Janda. Upper cross syndrome leads to many upper body conditions, including shoulder impingement.

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