We’ve had quite a few calf injuries in runners attending the clinic recently and it’s inspired this latest article on correct technique for calf stretching. Usually, if a patient is asked to demonstrate a calf stretch they will immediately demonstrate the first stretch pictured below.
This stretch involves pressing against a wall with your front leg bent and back leg straight, and leaning your body forward until you feel a stretch in the calf of your back leg. It is a widely known stretch and is effective at stretching the gastrocnemius, the major muscle of the calf.
However in order to stretch the second muscle of the calf – the soleus, we need to also perform the second stretch demonstrated below. This stretch involves pressing against a wall with one foot in front of the other and your knees bent, dropping your hips down towards the ground, and bending your back knee further, until you feel a stretch. You must keep the heel of your back leg down and feet pointing forwards. This stretch is sometimes overlooked and often leads to calf tightness, particularly in toe runners.
Each stretch should be performed in order to comprehensively stretch both muscles of the calf. We recommend stretching three times and holding each stretch for 30 seconds.