If you have ever been to see a physio for ankle or foot problems you may have experienced the dreaded calf massage, or even some acupuncture needles in your calf. Calf massage can be uncomfortable and often painful. Patients often ask me….. why are my calves so tight??
Well, the answer is not as straightforward as you may have hoped. There are a number of different reasons why your calves could be tight.
For the ladies out there, wearing high heels on a regular basis places your calves in a prolonged shortened position which can cause them to tighten.
The calf muscles are one of the major muscle groups used for walking. If you do alot of walking to and from work, or as part of your exercise routine, it may cause your calves to tighten.
The same goes for running, perhaps even more so, as the calf muscles function to stabilise the ankle and absorb shock when your foot hits the ground as well as push the heel back off the ground again to propel you forward. The calves can also be tight from running if they are overworking to compensate for weaker muscles higher up near the hips such as the gluteals (buttock muscles), or weakness in the ligaments that support the ankle.
Tension in the nerves could be another reason for the sensation of recurrent calf tightness. For more information on this see my previous post on neural or nerve tension.
Whatever the reason may be, the answer to calf tightness is regular stretching! You can also use the foam roller to massage the calf muscles which will help to relieve the tight spots.
If you still feel like you can’t get rid of your calf tightness make an appointment with your Bend + Mend Physio to work out if the tightness you feel is actually from the muscle itself or another underlying cause that needs to be addressed!