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3 Best Calf Pain Stretches & Exercises (Good for Leg Cramps)

Hi folks I’m Bob Schrupp physical therapist. Bob Heineck, physical therapist. We’re the most famous physical therapists on the internet, in our opinion of course Bob. Three best calf pain stretches and exercises. These are really for everybody: runners, walkers. There’s not really a person I know that should be stretching their calf muscles as you get older Brad, because they can tear it fairly easily. and Also You don’t want to have a lack of motion in that area. Right you want to be able to have dorsiflexion, be able to pull the toes up. Prevents falls as you get older. It’s a good overall…even if you want to lift correctly. If you don’t have enough motion in your ankles, when you lift you can’t bend down like this. All that change. Also if you’re getting night cramps in your calves I have people stretch before they go to bed. By the way if you are new to our channel please subscribe to us. We provide videos on how to stay healthy, fit, pain-free, and we upload everyday also please go over to Facebook and “like” us because Brad and I as children Were, I don’t know if we were hated, Now we’re turning thing around, and and we are giving away the biggest thing we’ve ever given away next week, so you want to make sure you’re on Facebook. That’s a teaser. There you go. Yes tease, and see it’s all coming back. Being teased when I was a kid. Let’s get the calf stretching Bob. All right. Okay the Achilles tendon right back here, right that’s that big tendon right the biggest tendon in your body, and there’s a reason for that Bob. Tell me the reason Brad. Because it accepts or goes through the most stress than any other tendon. I believe it. Because every time you take a step almost 100% of your weight is going through that tendon. Yeah, it’s brief, but every time you take that step there’s that period of time, or when you run, or you go up and down steps, that tendon, And that’s why it’s so big, the body adapts to the stress. The beauty of the body. It actually responds to stress by getting stronger and bigger. But you can still tear this tendon, can rupture it, so we want to keep that muscle keep loose, keep things flexible for those reasons as well, and this is just a little tidbit of information: Achilles, you know how the name Achilles tendon came to be. I bet you’re gonna tell me. From the Greek warrior and during the Trojan War, there’s movies on this, The one with Brad Pitt, right. But what happened is there are two stories. In the movie with Brad Pitt, he got an arrow through the Achilles tendon. And if your Achilles tendon does sever, is injured, you can’t walk. No you’re gonna be limping, It’s critical. So anyways whether it was a sword, a tendon or an arrow? Either way it was one of the two. Let’s go on to the stretches Bob. Boring our viewers. Let’s start off with the first stretch. Or do you want to talk about the two muscles? The two muscles actually. Let’s take a look at this leg So you really got to two muscles, I don’t know if you can see this I’m gonna go like this but right here, this muscle belly right here is the gas drive. Now that actually goes from the heel all the way up above the knee so that crosses the knee joint and that’s an important thing for a therapist or a Biomechanist to know. The other muscle is down in here. It’s deeper. It’s called the soleus. The reason it’s important to stretch both those muscles, you have to do two different types of stretches. Little variations, it’s just a slightly different, and so if you’re wondering why we’re having you do these stretches like with the knee straight and the knee bent, That’s why. We’re trying to get both of those. That’s right the gastroc and the soleus. The easiest way to stretch I think for this one, Bob, is go up to a wall. You don’t need any equipment. You just need a wall. Everybody’s got a wall. Hands on the wall and go back. I’m gonna stretch one leg at a time. So, Bob, can you point out a little bit here. He’s stretching this back one and the more he pulls forward like this, he keeps the heel on the ground. That’s the key part. He’s doing it the least straight right now. So he’s getting the gastroc soleus, both of them really. Now if he bends a knee, he’s more focused on the soleus. You can see his heel came up a little bit there, Your solareus must be a little tight there Brad. Yeah, it’s a little tight Bob. So I’m gonna do the other leg. As far as time on this, I do like to do a longer stretch, up to 30 seconds But you know if you want to do 3 10-second stretches on each that’s fine, too But you really want our stretches. I stretch this even longer Brad. Yeah, I just do it. It just seems like it takes a couple minutes before mine stretches out. But again you want to make sure you do both sides, otherwise you’re walking circles, swimming like a one-legged duck, right? Yeah, we’ll have no ducks allowed here. All right. Okay now the next thing I think this is my personal favorite way to stretch and most people kind of agree. I know Bob has some different.. No, I hear you in a sense because Brad gave me one of these. Brad made it for us. The incline board yeah. Now with this you put your foot on there, and you stand up, and I like to put all my weight. I need something to balance, so I can relax. I have this by the railing of my stairs. Yep, so now here. I’m doing the gastroc. I lean forward, I completely relax. I breathe normal. It’s always important to breathe isn’t it. Yep. Now, I’m gonna bend the knee and I can really feel it I think the stretch on here compared to the wall stretch is 50% better yeah, just it’s just a guess It conforms all away along the foot, so it makes it a comfortable stretch And I find it works much better with a shoe on than the shoe off. I always like that. It’s a reminder that when that board is sitting out there, it’s a reminder. It’s a visual cue. Now you can also do stairs. Oh right, but just wait Bob. There’s more. If you want to get an incline board, they’re not that expensive. You can get them for twenty, thirty dollars. You can make them. This is made out of one by six if you’re handy like that. You did a video on it. Right, the angle is important. This was 25 degrees. Now I find that with most of my patients about a 20 to 25 degree one you’re gonna be comfortable with, because I’ve bought them that are like 15 degrees They’re, no…They don’t do the job. They’re I wouldn’t say useless, but you won’t be happy with it. If you had really really tight calves, maybe but then you would have no place to go after you stretch them out Right if you’re a normal active person probably between 20 to 25 degrees because when you look online, as a matter of fact, I just put one on our favorite list Bob. If you go down below. On our Amazon list below Like that one? That one’s 23 degrees. It’s a solid one. They make them that are adjustable. They cost more. I really don’t like them. I think you’d be happy with a solid one, and they make them wide enough for two feet, which I think is not necessary. But I couldn’t find a narrow one to stretch one calf at a time I think is the best. I do too. You can do both on a wide one, but I think you’ll find it’s just not as comfortable. Now let’s talk about the steps. You can also stretch on the step. Do you want to bring it on over Brad? Yeah? Now you’re also going to need to hold on to something like the railings while you’re doing this. But you don’t have to spend any money, you can put your foot off the edge of this step like that and lean that down, and works out really well. Just don’t fall. Hey Bob I like this a lot. I personally feel uncomfortable on my foot so I usually don’t do it, but I can still use it this way. Don’t bounce. I usually start off by doing both, just to kind of warm them up, like this, and then I’ll go to the one. The nice thing I like about this is you can put some strengthening it in there. Oh yeah. Full range of motion. Yeah you can actually do heel raises and then go down like that and you can do one. So you’re getting a beefing up of the calf muscle. So stretch and strengthen is an option. Now we’re going to the yoga strap. With the yoga strap This strap is probably one of the most versatile, simple tools there is to assist with stretching and not just for the calf, but that’s what we’re gonna go over. It’s a nice long strap. It’s got nice handles. You don’t have to have good grip. The handles are offset which is what we like about them, because they’re easy to put your hands in there. Right there’s a tag. Yeah, it’s on the midpoint of the straps so that works out really nice. I do this every morning, and I use it for a hamstring stretch, but I always put the tag Right there at half foot so right here. It makes it really easy to grab and I can get that calf stretch that I’m looking for. You can do it in this long sitting position or you can do it in a sitting position over this way. Now this way obviously well It’s obvious to us, the soleus muscle is going to be the muscle that’s mostly getting the stretch here. And if you do it this way, then we get that calf, and you’ll feel the stretch more up here versus here. Again we’re gonna do the same time length, 10-30 seconds. It’s a nice stretch. I don’t even mind. You can get the hamstring involved with the – this is a bonus for you. You can actually do both at the same. Sure if you really like the good stretch. It’s a little uncomfortable for me. I like the varied others. Do you want to go into the bonus Brad? We have the best three, now we got a bonus here. We could do a little bit of foam roller. This is a Tom Brady, he’s an advocate of this. Right, Tom Brady, the quarterback, football, he won superbowls. He’s got a whole book on this, we’ve got that book in the list of favorites. He really believes in keeping the muscles pliable, less likely to be injured, so and Bob and I are big roller fans I use them on my patients. We both use them at home. I was just, again, I don’t do this on the calves every day, because I do the stretches, but when I start having problems, I do it. So if I’m getting some shin splints, I’ll actually do it on the front, but absolutely when I start feeling that now I’ll jump in and do it on the calf muscle. I’m going to just show them that shin splint one Bob, get on that shin muscle and work it. It works out really good for that. We like this particular foam roller. It’s by OPTP Say it with me now: O P T P It’s down below in our list too. It’s a softer roller. I just it’s my favorite roller Yeah, the quality is excellent, and it works well and what can you say. Alright remember, Brad and I can fix just about anything, except a broken heart. But we’re working on it yeah, and I think we’re gonna get down in the next 10 years. I doubt it. Thanks

9 thoughts on “3 Best Calf Pain Stretches & Exercises (Good for Leg Cramps)

  1. Hello Dr I am from India and last Saturday on 25th of Nov I met with an accident and I fall on my back immediately I felt intense pain just slight above my left butt I thought it's due to muscle strain but the pain haven't gone till now and whenever I am standing or sitting or laying down I am feeling pain in hip joint which is connected to spinal cord but after watching your videos I guess it's the si joint pain please help how to cure this pain it's killing me in day to day activities

  2. Hey guys, I don't know if y'all read the comments but if you do, I'd greatly appreciate it if y'all made a video on exercises someone with SMA (spinal muscular atrophy) could do at home in a wheelchair by their selves. I'm 18 years old with SMA type 2 and I could really use some exercises. Medicare doesn't provide for physical therapy anymore and I don't have enough money to pay for it myself.

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