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Nagging Calf and Shin Pain?

| June 3, 2014 | Reply

Running

After yesterday’s run,  as I was stretching and then icing my aching body, I started thinking… oh how I wished my physio was my neighbour so she could do some trigger point release on my shins and calves!  However, I was fortunate enough that when I got to work today I had an amazing group of physiotherapists that I could see for some extra help and advice.  So for the regular everyday person that is wondering what to do while waiting to decide to see their physio, I am going to give you some tips on how to relieve those sore calves and shins!  This in no way replaces your need for your physiotherapist…it just may help you until you can make the time to go see . 

First and foremost your runners and possibly your orthotics too, that have been sitting in your closet for most of the winter, may likely need to be replaced.  If your runners are starting to show uneven wear patterns, or the treads are wearing down then it is time to replace them.  Also if you do have orthotics and they are older than two years or you have put lots of kilometers on them then they too should be replaced.  This is important because they create the foundation for your feet, knees, hips and back along with all the muscles, cartilage and tissue associated with them.   When your shoes are not flat on the bottom or your foot naturally pronates/supinates (turns in or out) this increases stress on different muscles in your ankles, calves and knees.  Since some muscles will be required to work harder than others they will fatigue quicker and in return cause other muscles to over compensate leading to tightness and pain. 

calf stretch2
 Gastroc Sretch
calf stretch
Soleus Stretch
calf release
Calf Release
Peroneal release
Peroneal Release

What happens if you have your new running shoes (and orthotics if needed), and after your walk/jog/run, your calves and shins are still sore.  One option is calf stretches.  Your calves are made up of two different muscles: your Soleus is the deep one and your Gastroc is the outer one that you can actually see.  There are two different stretches that you can do.  They are similar but they will target the different muscles.  For your Gastrocs: stand in front of a wall with one leg forward and one back.  Keeping your back leg straight and your heel on the ground, slowly lean forwards bending your front knee.  For your Soleus: stand in front of a step or a box with one leg slightly forward and your toes up on the face of the stairs or box(keeping your foot flat).  Slowly bend your knees so your lead foot is over toes.  For both stretches, when you feel the stretch stop and hold it for 15-30 seconds.  As the intensity of the stretch decreases, lean forward more to increase the stretch.

Another option that you have is to use a tennis ball or another firm type of ball and use it as a trigger point release.  Start by sitting on the floor with your legs out in front of you.  For your calf release, place the ball underneath your calf and slowly roll your leg up and down on the ball.  Stop at tight portions of calf to allow for release.    As odd as it may sound, for pain in your ankle you will need to do a peroneal release (side of your calf).  This will require you to slightly roll to the side from the seated position you were in for the calf release.  Take the same ball and roll up and down the outside of your calf muscles, stopping on tight portions to allow for release.   Your anterior tibialis is the muscle causing the pain in your shins.  This muscle starts on the lateral (outside) part of your knee, runs down the middle of your shin (between the two bones) and then into your foot.   In a seated position with your knee bent and your foot on the floor take the tennis ball and roll it down the front of your shin.  Just like with the calves stop when you feel a sore spot and continue to apply pressure until you feel it release. 

Not finding relief from the pain even with the exercises? Call Capilano at your convenience! We have a variety of treatment options for nagging leg pain cause by jogging, power walking, or running around the soccer field.  In addition to basic physiotherapy, chiropractic, or therapeutic sports massage, two other innovative options are Graston Technique or Intra-Muscular Stimulation (IMS).  These are two different methods to help relax those overly tight and painful muscles.

Call 780-466-1104 to book an appointment and get back to the things you love!

 

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Category: Active Living, Graston Technique Therapy, Intra-Muscular Stimulation (IMS), Physiotherapy

About the Author ()

I am Capilano Rehab Centre’s Community Care Coordinator. I have been with Capilano Rehab for 9 years primarily as a Physio Assistant, but also as a Receptionist. I have a Physical Education Degree from the University of Alberta, which I will eventually use when my two young children are grown up. In the mean time I am enjoying helping people in the Community through my role as Community Care Coordinator and bringing awareness to how a Physiotherapist can help you get back to the activities you love the most!

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