However, it can also indicate an underlying medical issue, including deep vein…, A pulled calf muscle can cause minor or severe pain in the calf, depending on the extent of the injury. There are some other potential causes of tight calves that are less common. Meanwhile, youve been training your calves three times a week and still only see minimal results. Because your calves are a smaller muscle group, you're not going to see tremendous growth from them (i.e. You’ll know you’re overdue for a new pair if they’re suddenly uncomfortable and the support has worn out.. Jaclyn Fulop, a licensed physical therapist and runner, says tight calf muscles are a common problem for runners, but often, the root cause is lower on the body. Lose calf fat. Static stretching is great for the calves and can be easily incorporated after your runs. So, here’s how you should perform this workout: Take your seat on the ground. Seated Hamstring Exercise: Sit at the edge of a chair and straighten one leg so that one heel is on the floor and the opposite foot’s toes are pointed up at the ceiling. Tightened calf muscles after exercising could indicate a problem that needs medical attention. Cramps are a typical cause of the calf muscles feeling tight. They’re likely telling you something. These exercises can help to get you moving normally, and safely, if you've a muscle or joint problem affecting your calf or ankle. Get Stronger: Farmer’s Walk on Toes. Tight calf muscles are common, even if you haven't had an injury or aren't very active. This simple but effective 10-minute workout will help you slim your legs just in a few weeks. However, they can indicate an underlying problem. Try going through the following exercises daily. Identifying and treating the underlying problem is best. Sometimes, a doctor might also recommend physical therapy. A calf muscle strain occurs when the muscle fibers in the calf tear either partially or … Stretching after exercise is important to improve mobility and prevent cramps or spasms. Any exercise in which you raise your heels, putting weight on the ball of your foot, makes the muscle bigger and stronger and gives the leg a nicely toned and defined muscle (which is why many women love how their legs look when wearing high heels). Calf strains can cause tightness, pain, and swelling in the back of the lower leg. Odds are most athletes do not put enough focus on stretching and flexibility. Feel the stretch all along the calf of your back leg. Last medically reviewed on February 12, 2018, You may have heard that testosterone supplements can help in the bedroom. What gives? Bouncing or stretching too fast may injure your muscles. So if you’ve identified low back or calf tightness as a problem for you, you’ll have to be smart about how you approach the problem. Tight calves can be loosened by stretching. For actress Angela Trimbur, connecting with other women who know what it’s like, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, has been invaluable. What Causes Dark Knuckles and How Can You Treat Them? After helping hundreds of runners over the years get on top of recurring tight calves, I have learnt that strength is more important than stretching or time spent on the foam roller. Stand near a wall or chair for balance. Working the calves is easy and does not require too much time. As a result, your foot, ankle, and knee may not function how they should. For instance, constricted hamstrings or hip flexors might also need to be loosened for lasting effect. When it occurs, you may hear or feel a pop in your calf muscle. Can a smile reduce the pain of an injection? Most cases of tight calf muscles respond well to home treatment with stretching or the RICE method. American Physical Therapy Association’s database, American Massage Therapy Association’s database. Some potential complications include: Regularly stretching before activities might help prevent tight calves or injury. You may not see results immediately, so ease up on the activities that are causing tightness and pain. Repeat the process on the bottom, mid and top part of your calf. Tight calves can be uncomfortable and cause difficulty walking. Calf problems - Muscle, bone and joint injuries | NHS inform You may need to slow down for a while or make a doctor’s appointment to rule out more serious conditions, like DVT. Place both hands on a wall in front of you, extend one leg behind you, and bend your front leg. We’ll show you ways to loosen up tight hamstrings, plus provide tips for preventing hamstring tightness and improving flexibility. If the calf muscle is not in good working order some conditions can occur such as: Calf Muscle Strain. Sit on a mat with your arms slightly behind you and your palms flat on the mat. A new patient with heel pain arrives at the clinic and complains of Plantar Fasciitis in both feet. Stretching is not always the best solution as it may only provide temporary relief and does not address the underlying problem. All rights reserved. A calf muscle strain is when you stretch the calf muscle past its normal position, which can cause tearing of muscle fibers. How many and how often. This move not only works your calves but also improves your cardiovascular fitness. Runners and other athletes know the agony of tight calf muscles. Stretching may feel uncomfortable at first, but it shouldn’t hurt. You're finished with your workout, but your calves tighten up. If your calves are chronically tight, you may want to try physical therapy. Ensure that your back is also straight. If the tightness is the result of a strain, overuse, or injury, other symptoms might include: If there is severe pain in the calves that gets worse under pressure, it is important to see a doctor immediately. More pain. Try ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or naproxen (Aleve). Over-the-counter pain medications may temporarily relieve any pain you have. When the Achilles tendon is inflamed, it can tighten and cause discomfort. The pain in the heel has been present for 6 months and is very noticeable in the early mornings, when the patient rises from bed. She is 45 years of age and reports recently gaining weight. STRETCH AND STRENGTHEN. The muscles may twitch slightly or feel warm from the inflammation. If there is severe pain that worsens under pressure, it could be a sign of a more severe injury. Is it okay to exercise with tight calves? Cramping can last anywhere from just a couple seconds to 15 minutes, or sometimes longer. Some sports are more likely than others to cause calf injury. Can Testosterone Supplements Improve Your Sex Drive? For this stretch, you'll need a step, a box, or the edge of a treadmill. Tiny micro-tears in the muscles cause them to go into spasm. You may even want to stretch twice a day to start. Many experts agree that adhering to a careful stretching regimen may be the surest way to keep calf muscles from getting tight. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is good for immediate treatment of muscle issues in the first 48 to 72 hours after you notice tightness and pain. If the calves are painful, it is better to rest for a few days or until the pain goes away. A cramp is where the muscle suddenly and involuntarily contracts without relaxing. Chronically tight hamstrings may feel like a leg problem but is usually a warning sign that there is a back problem. How to Loosen a Tight Calf Muscle. Straighten your leg and flex your toes. These exercises can help to get you moving normally, and safely, if you've a muscle or joint problem affecting your calf or ankle. What you need to execute this exercise is a resistance band. You may have a more serious condition, like DVT or tendonitis, that requires medical attention. Stretches can gradually lengthen muscles and increase blood flow. Bend your right leg and place your foot on the floor. MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. They pull the heel up when a person is walking, running, or standing. Muscle strain. But, muscle soreness can also show up a few days after a workout. The gastrocnemius is the main muscle you see when looking at someone’s calves — it will be thick and well-defined if it’s highly developed. To perform a calf raise: In most cases, medical treatment is not necessary for tight calf muscles. Exercising too vigorously can lead to the calf muscles contracting and abruptly lengthening, and this action produces calf strain. Signs and Symptoms of the New Coronavirus and COVID-19, Everything You Should Know About the 2019 Coronavirus and COVID-19. It is unclear why cramps occur, but some possible reasons include: Overusing the calf muscles can lead to tightness. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Straighten your arms and legs, and raise your hips into the air, forming an upside-down V with your body. Endurance runners are at particularly high risk of developing tight calves. Last medically reviewed on February 21, 2020, Calf muscle pain is often caused by overuse or a sports injury. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Calf muscle strains may take a long time to heal. Stretches for tight calves. Tight muscles may result from overuse or cramps, but several treatments and stretches can help. Hamstring stretch. Sometimes, tight calf muscles may be either the cause or the result of other tight muscles. By K. Aleisha Fetters , … Calf pain and tight calves can be due to a strain or tear in either of these muscles. Treatment is not necessary unless the overuse leads to an injury. Perform exercises such as bent-over dumbbell rows for back, pushups for chest, stability ball crunches for abs, triceps overhead press, barbell curls for biceps, squats for legs and lateral raises for shoulders. Heat can help alleviate muscle pain in the short term, but in the long term, you must take preventive steps such as exercising in the right shoes and knowing your limits. Runner’s stretch. Muscle soreness after exercise can be uncomfortable and disrupt a person’s fitness routine. Full leg stretches that do not necessarily isolate the calves may still have a positive effect. If you're getting a good workout from your exercise routine, you'll want to be a little sore afterwards. With a consistent routine of every other day, you can have toned, shaped calves in no time. To find a local physical therapist in the United States, try searching the American Physical Therapy Association’s database. This can sometimes lead to swelling in your calves, especially if you strain the muscles or injure them in some way. Without treatment, you may develop more serious complications, like: Contact your doctor if your tight calves don’t ease up after stretching and rest. Contact a doctor immediately in these cases. It can be okay to continue exercising if there is no limited range of motion, pain, or swelling, but it is important to note that continuing to exercise can increase the risk of injury. Pulled calf muscle: Symptoms and what to do, How to treat and prevent leg muscle cramps, stand facing a wall and stretch the arms out to place both hands flat against it, the leg closest to the wall should have a slight bend in the knee, the other leg should be straight with the foot flat on the ground, hold the position for about 30 seconds, pressing the heel of the straight leg into the floor, sit on the floor with a straight back and the legs out in front, using a towel or exercise band, loop it around the upper foot and toes on one of the legs, holding each side of the towel or band, gently pull the towel or band back, flexing the toes toward the body, hold the stretch for 30 seconds before releasing it and resting for 30 seconds, stand with the toes and front half of the feet on the edge of a sturdy stool or step, with the heels hanging back over the edge, lower back down so that the heels drop just below the balls of the feet. Lie down on a yoga mat, then push your body up so you’re on all fours. You may need a referral to see a physical therapist. Injuries might require some home treatment, such as stretches or RICE. Hamstring Curl: This exercise helps tight hamstrings by strengthening the muscle group while also assisting with internal and external knee rotations. A compression bandage may help keep bleeding and swelling under control. Perform each exercise for … Tight calf muscles cause more lower body pain and debility … The symptoms you’ll experience with tight calf muscles can vary depending on the cause. Glute foam roll. We include products we think are useful for our readers. Find out…. stretching before and after activity - can put a toll on your legs. Tight hamstrings and calves are common and can arise from many sources. Calf muscle pain is often caused by overuse or a sports injury. Foam Rolling. Your knees and elbows should be straight. Learn more about the causes, treatments, and natural…. In diabetes, calf or leg pain can be due to diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), to peripheral artery disease (PAD) or to deep vein thrombosis (DVT). See your doctor if you have the following symptoms in addition to tight calves: Stretching regularly may be your best bet for keeping your calf muscles loose and pain-free. Plantar Fasciitis History . Tight calves can be a sign of either overuse or mild injury. If you foam roll or get massages to “relax” the muscles then you might be looking at a real uphill battle. Keep reading for more information about the possible causes of tight calves and ways to treat or prevent them. A physical therapist can prescribe customized stretches, exercises, and … If your muscles are cramped, you may feel anything from slight discomfort to severe pain. How to Treat and Prevent Tight Hamstrings, How Actress Angela Trimbur Created an Online Community of Breast Cancer Survivors, sudden pain in the back of your calf or behind your knee, pain, especially when resistance is applied to the muscles, equinus, or limited range of motion in your ankle. If your calves are chronically tight, you may want to try physical therapy. Elevating the area can further help reduce swelling. People can avoid overworking the calf muscles by resting for sufficient periods between exercises that put a strain on these muscles. 1. Your heel should be off the step. This might not be the best idea. You probably know someone who has massive, sharply defined calf muscles, yet rarely exercises. Your doctor may refer you to a licensed therapist or, if you’re in the United States, you can search the American Massage Therapy Association’s database to find one near you. Exercise for a myriad of benefits, including weight loss and better circulation. Lose calves fat. Sore calves are a normal part of workouts like cycling, running and playing sports. Other non-serious causes of calf swelling are dehydration and high-intensity exercises. For example, it is best to include at least one rest day between leg strength training sessions at the gym. Whether you’re finally getting into the swing of an exercise routine or you're a seasoned athlete, experiencing a new ache or pain while exercising is a frustrating setback. Due to the high content of type II muscle fibers in the gastrocnemius, plyometric exercises cause your body to increase the number of gastrocnemius muscle fibers recruited. Just like the muscles in your body, your cardiovascular system needs to be exercised to stay strong. Understanding where your soreness stems from can help you decide whether to push it for another workout, or whether your body needs a break. It is a very common misconception that if hamstrings "feel" tight, they must be short and in need of stretching .The person will then proceed in stretching them, and wonder why they go on "feeling tight" despite their best efforts. If you have a bowel condition or are having bowel surgery, you may be asked to follow a low residue diet. Plus, how to choose and use CBD. Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional, Daniel Bubnis, M.S., NASM-CPT, NASE Level II-CSS, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Tight calves can also result from exercise and athletic training that hasn’t been sufficiently complemented with stretching and massaging to loosen the muscles. Activities like running and playing sports can be hard on your calf muscles. These video shows the whole movement so don't worry if you can't do it all. Eating a healthful, balanced diet and getting plenty of fluids will ensure that the calves and other muscles are getting enough nutrients to function properly. Tight calves are common and easy to manage. This can help lengthen the muscle fiber and possibly lessen the pain you’re experiencing. Because your calves are a smaller muscle group, you're not going to see tremendous growth from them (i.e. Switch legs, then alternate for a total of 3 repetitions. These symptoms could indicate a broken bone or severe muscle damage. You might be tempted to bite the bullet and slog through the rest of your day and hope for the best. Proper stretching before you exercise is an easy and fairly fast way to help prevent your calves from getting tight after a workout. A physical therapist can prescribe customized stretches, exercises, and other treatments to help with anything from pain to muscle imbalances. Marathon runners, triathletes, and older individuals who do lots of strenuous exercises may be at higher risk of developing tight calves or even muscle cramps. Best Calf Exercises. "I love using … You start by lying face down on the bench with the pads of the machine placed at the back of your legs below your calves. For a more advanced stretch, stand on a step. Calf Massage with Lacrosse Ball. All rights reserved. Unless you have some weight plates, bricks or someone to sit on your lap around when you train, these are simply not as effective as other variations, which is why they won’t be included in the final training program. It’s not just important to stretch your calves after a workout – you should do it every hour or two throughout the day if you sit a lot. This is sometimes referred to as a pulled calf muscle or a calf muscle tear. When you exercise with your legs, such as walking or using a leg machine, blood pumps to the ankles, calves and feet to help support the movement of the muscles used. Read on for why sore muscles happen plus some treatments…, © 2004-2020 Healthline Media UK Ltd, Brighton, UK, a Red Ventures Company. Calf and leg pain, foot, knee and hip pain, low back pain, upper back pain, neck pain and headaches. Step 2. When they are in spasm or contracted then blood cannot easily get into them. Performing some gentle exercises may help you find relief. In more severe cases, surgery is another option. Slimming down calves is tricky because it depends a lot on genetics, but I recommend determining if your calves size is due to muscle or fat. If it's a true spinal postural issue and not just a bad gym habit, exercises such as neck bridges can strengthen the neck musculature, along with exercises like the trap-3 raise for the lower traps and thoracic extensions with a foam roller. 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