Calf Lengthening Exercises
The main function of the calf muscles is to flex the feet downward. This is known as “plantar flexion,” and you see this movement when you run or walk. After repetitive use of the calf muscles, they have a tendency to become tight. This can not only compromise your sport performance, but it can also increase your chances of developing plantar fasciitis–a condition that causes extreme heel pin. To help lengthen your calf muscles, there are several exercises you can do.
A wall stretch is done with one foot at a time. Place your right foot on the wall at an angle with your heel on the floor. Your left foot should be about 2 feet away from the wall. Bend both knees slightly, lean forward and place your hands on the wall. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and switch your feet.
A staggered stance stretch focuses more on the soleus which is the bottom part of your calf muscle. Stand facing a wall with your left foot forward and your right foot behind you. Bend both knees slightly, lean forward as you place your hands on the wall at chest height. Feel the stretch in the lower calf muscle of your right leg. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and switch sides. To focus more on your upper calf area, keep your back leg straight while executing this stretch.
A step stretch can be done with an actual stair step or a solid stationary object. Stand on the step with your heels hanging over the edge. Shift your weight to your right side and lower your right heel downward. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and switch sides. Grab on to a stationary object for balance if you need to.
A towel stretch can be executed from a seated position on the floor. Sit with your back straight and your legs out straight in front of you. Wrap the towel around the balls of your right foot and pull back until you feel a nice stretch on your calf muscle. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and switch feet.
A downward facing dog is a yoga pose that can stretch your calves and hamstrings at the same time. Lie on your stomach with your hands directly under your shoulders. Lift your hips up in the air and walk your hands backward as you push your weight onto your heels. Straighten your legs and hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Your body should be bent in a 90-degree angle when you are in the correct position. Try to get your feet flat on the floor when you push back. If you cannot, then just go as far as it is comfortable.
- Running Debate: Where Your Foot Should Strike (fitsugar.com)
- Calf Raises 3 Ways (fitsugar.com)
- 4 Important Exercises Every High-Heel Wearer Should Do (fitsugar.com)
- Barefoot running- calf stretching, Post 4 (atyoursenses.com)
- Plantar Fasciitis by Dr. Mark Cucuzzella (rhvillegas.wordpress.com)