Tight Calf Muscles
It’s never a good idea to ignore tightness in the calves. Many people have tight calf muscles, which can greatly affect your gait by limiting your foot and ankle’s range of motion. When your calf is tight, it pulls on your Achilles' tendon and creates tension on the plantar fascia. Tight calf muscles can also form bone spurs on back of the heel or on bottom of the heel.
Tight calf symptoms can actually be the culprit behind a number of other lower leg issues. Problems like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, knee pain and even hip and back pain can originate with tight calf muscles.
Tight Calf Muscles Symptoms
Symptoms include a gradual pulling or stretching sensation in the calf muscles. This discomfort can get worse while running or may improve while running only to tighten up later. Tight calf muscles are usually more painful first thing in the morning because the muscles in the foot and leg tighten overnight.
What Causes Tight Calf Muscles?
Many of us spend a lot of time every day sitting while we work, eat, drive, watch television or work on a computer. While you are seated, your knees are bent and are flexed at a 90 degree angle. In addition to your knees being bent, your feet are usually in a relaxed forward position. This is especially an issue for women who wear high heels because their feet are automatically pointed downward because of their high heels.
The position of your knees and feet while you’re sitting brings your calf muscles to a shortened position, which results in tight calf muscles. After sitting for years, you start to lose strength and flexibility in your tight calf muscles.
Tight Calf Muscle Treatment
Tight calf treatment should include gradual, controlled stretching. It is a good idea to engage in some form of daily stretches for tight calf muscles since your calves are used for so many daily physical activities. Daily stretching can prevent a whole range of lower limb injuries and increase range of motion in the ankles and feet.
For tight calf muscle treatment, wear shoes with good arch support and shock absorption. orthotic inserts and heel cups can be placed in your shoes to correct misalignments or bolster the support of your foot.