Calf Stretches

Gastrocnemius Muscles

We will stretch both legs at the same time. This also helps to keep symmetry.

You will need a block. A piece of wood like a 2x4 on edge or a thick book works well for this.

Stand the 2x4 on edge about 4 inches away from the door jamb inside the doorway.

You MUST wear shoes for this stretch or you could damage your plantar (bottom) surface of your foot.

Place the balls of your feet on the block so that your feet face straight ahead.

Grasp onto the door frame molding with both hands.

Keeping the body straight from ankles to the top of the head; lean backwards from the ankles. This will take the stretch OFF the calves.

Now gradually pull yourself forwards. Move from the ankles keeping the body aligned straight from ankle to head. Relax down the back of the body, especially the buttocks and backs of the legs.

Stop pulling yourself forwards when you start to feel a gentle stretch in the calves. You should still be slightly leaning backwards. This is an important point. When you are slightly leaning backwards the nervous system tells the calves to relax. Beyond the vertical the calves will engage and try and stop you falling forwards.

Hold for a minute. Repeat 1-5 times a day.

When done try this test: when stopping the stretch, immediately (and I mean fast) take 3-5 fast walking steps. It should feel like you are "walking on the moon" or "on marshmallows". This is the best result. Your nervous system has to readjust to the new calf length. It does this super fast and if you hesitate you will miss the affect. If you feel pain then you stretched too hard and aggressively. If you felt nothing you may not have been stretching into the muscle enough or you were too slow in test walking.

Soleus described for the right side

Sit on a chair near the edge.

Keep your heel and foot flat on the ground.

Slide your foot backwards, underneath the chair. Keeping your heel on the ground as you slide the foot backwards under the chair. Picture your heel moving backwards and down.

Hold for 20-30 seconds. Then do the other side.

This should be a gentle stretch. If you feel pain then back the stretch off until it is pain-free; even if you don't feel a stretch now. Each time you perform an activity such as this measure how you are doing by how it feels, not how far you can go.

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