Calf Pain or Strain Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

Calf Pain or Strain Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

Hey everybody it’s Doctor Super Jo and
Super Remy, and today we’re gonna show you some
stretches and exercises for a calf strain. I know! So let’s get started. So the first stretch is gonna be a calf stretch, when I stretch my calves, I like
to put a little roll or roll up a towel and put it right above the ankle, and
that’s just to make it so my heel doesn’t touch the floor, so I can have
some movement in there. Take a strap or if you don’t have a stretch strap, use a
belt or dog leash, something that has a loop is really nice, put it around the
ball of your foot. If you put it up on the toes, then it’s gonna not work very
well if you put it down too low, that’s not gonna work very well either, so try and
get it right there in the middle. Relax your leg, this is a stretch, so you
don’t want to pull your toes towards you with the muscles, you want to pull your
toes towards you with the strap, so just relax that leg and pull with the strap
until you feel a good stretch in the calf. Now if you have a strain, this might
be uncomfortable, so you just want to stretch until you feel a little bit of
tension, you don’t want this to be painful because you don’t want to you
know tear any of the muscle fibers even more, you just want to stretch it out
because what that does is that helps reset those fibers and lay them down
flat, so if you have a strain they’re all balled up and you want to get them nice
and flat, so that’s why you want to stretch it hold it for about 30 seconds
relax and do that 3 times, so just getting that nice stretch in there nice
and comfortable, a little bit of tension a little bit of pain is okay, but not a
whole lot of pain. After you stretch that out, then you’re gonna do some exercising.
Take a resistive band, make sure you know what the colors are, you probably want to
start off with the lightest color and the thera-band series the lightest color
is yellow then the next one is red, so if you don’t have this brand, another brand,
make sure it’s the lightest one to start off with because if you have that strain,
you don’t want to do a whole lot to start off with, if you start using the
resistive band and and you decide that that’s too much, and it’s painful and uncomfortable,
you can do the exercise without the band, and so we’re just going to be pushing
down like we’re pushing on a pedal, so that’s to get that calf exercising right
there, so I like again to wrap it around the ball of the foot. If you put it too
high it might come back and hit you, slip off your foot and hit you, so make
sure you’ve got it good and steady. Sometimes with the socks it slips a
little bit, so be careful, and then you’re just going to push down as far as you
can. See how it’s sliding a little bit, so I like to spread it out and that helps
get it a little bit, so push like you’re pushing on a pedal and then nice and
controlled come back, so when you’re going down, don’t just let it pop back up, try and control it because if you’re wiggling
like this when you’re doing it, that’s just a sign of some weakness and you
might not be ready for that resistive band or that heavier resistive band, and
if it feels too tight, you can always let the tension off a little bit and that
should help some as well, but you want it to be a pretty smooth controlled motion,
so just starting off with about ten of these and then seeing how it goes from
there, and then you can do two sets of ten ,three sets of ten, if you can get up
to doing twenty – twenty-five and it’s easy, then you can go up to the next
resist of resistive bands. So after you do that, you’re going to go into side
lying and exercise the muscles, now some people are like “why go into side lying if
it’s my calf?” But the calf muscles do a lot of work in certain ways, so getting
the exercise in a bunch of different ways is really good as well, so if it’s
the top leg, you’re going to go into a side lying position, take the bottom leg
and just bend it a little bit and try and keep your body in the straight line.
The top leg is going to be nice and straight, so if you pull up your toes
that helps lock everything out, now you’re probably going to feel that in
the calf a little bit, so if it’s a little bit uncomfortable that’s okay but
you don’t want it to be painful, so then what you’re getting here is when you
lift that leg, turn so that heel goes up a little bit, so that’s going to help
activate that calf, that’s going to work those abductors here because
at times when you have that strain the rest of the muscle is up in the hip kind
of take over, so you want to work those as well, you want to keep those
strong too, so lead with your heel and then kick back just a little bit, so
you’re going to go up and back this way, so it’s not up and forward because
that’s changing the muscles that you’re working. You’re going up and back, and so
you can see I’m not going super high, you don’t have to go really high, but really
try and keep everything locked out and lead with that heel.
So again just starting off with 10 to 15, if you get up to 20-25 and it’s easy, then you
can add a little ankle weight. So the next exercises are going to be standing
up. So now that you’re standing up, you’re gonna do a runner’s stretch for the calf.
For a runner’s stretch, you want to make sure you have something nice and sturdy
to hold on to, so like a sturdy chair, a counter top, or you can even do it
against the wall, just something that you can kind of lean into. Take the foot that
you want to stretch and put it back behind you. The front one, you want to
have that knee bent a little bit. Make sure both toes are pointed forward,
sometimes people want to kind of go out at an angle, but then that’s not really
stretching the calf, so make sure they’re pointed forward, and make sure that heel
is down, so if you’re coming up, again you’re not really stretching those calf
muscles, so make sure that heel is down. If you need to go back further a little
bit that that’s fine, and then keeping that heel down, bend this front knee and
go forward, so you’re just kind of leaning into it, and you should feel that
stretch right through the back of that leg in that calf area right there.
So holding this for thirty seconds, coming up, taking a little break, and then
doing that three times. So really getting that nice stretch in there, if you, if
this is too much, if you bring your foot up a little bit that won’t be quite as
much of a stretch, so if you’re back here and you can’t get that heel down, bring
it up just a little bit and then do that stretch. Then the next one is going to be
for the soleus muscle which sits underneath that calf muscle or that
gastroc, so same position but this time you’re gonna bend the back knee as well,
so the front knee bends and the back knee bends like this and then leaning
forward, so you can see it doesn’t have to be a big
bend, but it changes the stretch a lot. Some people feel it a little bit more in
the ankle, a little bit more in the front, but that’s getting that soleus muscle to
stretch it as well it’s equally important when you’ve got a calf strain
because they’re so close together, and they’re actually all kind of connected,
so bending that knee, keeping that heel down, and then leaning forward again
holding that stretch for 30 seconds, coming back up, straightening in
stretching it out a little bit, relaxing and then Bend those knees again, and
then bend forward into that stretch. Then for some exercises again to get
that calf working again, to get it stronger, if these are a little painful
you probably aren’t ready for them yet, go back down to doing the ones where
you’re sitting down on the floor because those aren’t as much weight on the calf
muscle or as much strengthening on the calf muscle, though when you’re ready for
these, again you’re gonna have something nice and sturdy to hold on to, a chair,
counter top, if you just need a little bit about it so you can do it next to
the wall and just kind of hold on to the wall. Put your feet about shoulder width
apart, and then just come up on your toes, but make sure it’s a nice slow
controlled motion, so you’re gonna come up on your toes, and then the most
important part for this one is the going down, this is the eccentric motion of
the calf, so we call them eccentric lowers, where you want to come down nice
and slow, and this is the controlling part of the muscle. The concentric
coming up, that’s easier for the muscle to do, you can use momentum a little bit,
but the slow eccentric coming down is really really important to help that
muscle heal, so you want to go nice and slow for these. This is not a fast motion
at all, nice and slow and controlled so again just starting off with about ten
of these if you can get to 20-25 and it’s easy, and it’s not hurting that calf, then
you can start doing it with one, but really make sure you’re controlling that
back down to get eccentric movement that’s almost more
important than the going up, so coming up nice and slow, coming back down the same
thing start off with ten, work your way up from there. The next one is going to
be a single leg stance or a balance series, so this is kind of working the
ankle, working the calf a little bit, it’s really important because these are the
smaller muscles those finer motor skill muscles, and they’re really important to
work as well while that calf is healing. So again something sturdy to hold on to,
that way you can work yourself up to it. Start off just holding on with both
hands and start off with 10 to 15 seconds, work your way up to a minute. If
that becomes easy, then just hold on with one hand,
same thing work your way up from there, and then that becomes easy, you can just
use a little finger for some balance as long you’re not pushing down on that
finger, just kind of holding it there, and then if that becomes easy, then doing it
without holding on at all, and so you can see that my ankle is moving a little bit,
my body is moving a little bit, that’s completely normal, that’s just those
muscles trying to find my center of gravity, and so if you’re if you’re
wiggling a little bit that’s okay. If you’re wiggling a lot and it’s painful,
then go ahead and hold back on because you’re probably not quite ready for not
holding on at all. Okay so the last couple ones are gonna be a little bit
more intense strengthening exercises, I’m gonna move the chair. You might not be
ready for these yet, so I wouldn’t try these the first time you see this video.
Make sure you do some stuff and you’re almost ready to get back to doing
regular things, and then you can try these exercises. So this one is going to
be a squat with a heel raise at the end, so it’s working on balance, it’s
working on strengthening, and it’s just working on the core in general, so it
really helps out with strengthening calf muscle, but again if you’re not quite
balanced with the other things, you’re not going to be ready for this yet
because you really want to do it without holding on, so if you need to hold on a
little bit at first that’s okay, but this is for again the higher level exercise
when you’re almost ready to get back to doing normal everyday things. So you’re
going to start with your feet about shoulder width apart. You’re going to go
into a squat and remember those squats are really
sticking that booty back, keeping those knees behind the toes, and keeping your
back straight coming down into that squat. So it’s not this, it’s coming down
with that booty back, and then when you come back up, you’re gonna come up on
your toes, so see if you come forward like that that’s okay as long as it’s
not painful, but really try and keep that balance. So I’m gonna do the full motion
and concentrate on it because if you can see it it’s a little tough to do, so
you’re coming down in that squat, coming back up, coming on those toes, and then as
you come down, come back into that squat. So you want it to be a pretty smooth
motion, and going up and down, so it’s not this, this, this, this, you want it to be
one controlled fluid motion. So coming down, coming up on your toes, down and
back, so again you can see this one’s a little bit tougher, you might want to
start off with just doing five and then working your way up from there. So the
last one, I don’t know what it’s really called, I call it sneaky lunges I think
it’s got a fun name, so it’s almost kind of the same concept except now you’re
doing it in a lunge, but you want to stay on your toes the whole time. So I always
tell my patients, you’re doing the sneaky lunge like if you’re sneaking up behind
somebody. You want to be really quiet on your toes. So get into that lunge
position, one foot front, one foot back, make sure you know the good technique so
upper body stays nice and straight the whole time,
back leg bends down, but the front knee doesn’t come in front of the toe, so if
you need to spread yourself out a little bit that’s fine.
So regular lunge, this, sneaky lunge, you’re up on your toes for the front leg
as well. So you’re coming down and you’re staying on your toes the whole time, so
down and up. Sneaky lunge. So you can once you master this, then you can actually
put it into some movement as well, so do a couple lunges forward, turn around and
come back. So those were your stretches and exercises for a calf strain. If you
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subscribe by clicking here. And remember be safe, have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.

36 thoughts on “Calf Pain or Strain Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

  1. Hey doc, I strained my calf running ,felt a small pop and was sore for 2 weeks and went away , 6 months later i feel mild pain still what does this mean?

  2. Hello Mam, I have started jogging from 3 days, and now my calf is in pain, i cannot sleep. What should i do, take some rest or continue jogging.. I cannot sleep in night

  3. I've had calf pain for no reason for a month and half with muscle spasms. Pain also on my thighs that moves around. No idea what's going on. Nothing helps. I'm getting an ultrasound today.

  4. Ma I use to go work with bicycle,one morning I couldn't raise my left leg to walk, I visited my Dr and I received medication and I got little bit relieve but I'm still having the pain on my left calf leg,what should I do?

  5. I have no pain even when I lift with my hurt calf. the problem is that it is bruised in the area. what do I do? continue stretches?

  6. Thank you for this Doc. I just went back to running again and I felt a little bit pain a day after I went running. Would definitely try this.

  7. Hi all, I've been trying to find an insole that, when I wear my high heeled boots, will stop that awful pain in the ball of my foot and ankle. I have tried gel insoles but they don't work. I really like my boots and I want to wear them for longer than an hour without having this pain in my feet. Any advice greatly appreciated.

  8. Dr Jo your explanation is very educational n clear. You also speak at a correct speed for viewers to understand well. Thanks.

  9. Hello..
    One question
    I have soleus rupture 9 mm. Am not feeling pain during Exercises but when I want to strech calf muscles, both of them, am feeling discomfort. IT is very important to do exercices and streches. Or exercies Are enough?! Thank you

  10. Hello dr jo, what does it mean if i have pain at my gastrocnemius muscle? Whenever i climb the stairs and also when i tip toe then i can feel the pain ( mainly when i tiptoe)…does it mean that i tore a muscle or does it mean smtg else?

  11. Thank you so much…… really helpful mam. So much pain I was going through now it's feel better…. thank you….

  12. I jogged for past 3 days have a pain in my calf now …I try this stretches for 30 mins slowly and get a relief from this pain..its very helpful for pain relief…thanks to Doctor Jo

  13. Hi, Doc! I was diagnosed with Acute gastrocnemius strain 2 weeks ago. I'm done with the medications (pain relievers and muscle relaxants). However, my left calf is too tight and I'm having problems sleeping because of some pain. What should I do?

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  15. After how many days u can apply slight stretch? After 10 or 15 days? Or straight away? And after how long u will be able to walk again after a calf strain 1 or 2nd degree?

  16. excellent..about covers all the recommended exercises…..Should this routine be done daily???…..1x a day??….or every other day?

  17. I was running about 15-18 miles per week training for a race. Once day I felt sudden pain and I thought it was a Charlie horse. However, I was limping for about a week and finally after 12 days walking normal. Doesn’t hurt while walking now. Is it possible for a Charlie horse to last that long? I’m guessing was a strain. How do I know if I’m ready to run again? Ty ty!

  18. I’m a competitive tap dancer and lately some of the jumps I’ve been doing have caused some strain, these have really helped out, thank you!

  19. Will this help for neural calf cramps/strain? I wish you were close to s. nj because I'd make an appt with you. You're the best PT on here.

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