These pictures show a calf stretch on a rolled up mat that can be great for hamstring pain as well as the calves. The muscles of the calf lower leg attach onto the bones of the upper leg and the muscles of the upper leg attach onto the bones of the lower leg. The hamstrings and the calves pass right by each other and interact on their way to their respective connections. They are also intertwined through the fascial system that essentially wraps everything in our bodies together.
Very often people with hamstring pain don’t realize that the tightness or tone of the calf muscles (soleus & gastrocnemius) can have a outsized effect on the tone of the hamstring. A great deal of work on calf stretches is often necessary to get the hamstrings to start to lengthen and release from there habitual tightness and pain.
Tightness in these calf muscles are often accompanied by dysfunction in the peroneals, the muscles of the outer calf, that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. Very often our posture and walking patterns lead to these troubles in the lower leg. Habitual tucking of the pelvis leads to tight hamstrings which can lead to tight calves. Tucking the pelvis also leads to our feet turning out which forces us to walk on the outer foot, forgoeing the proper use of the peroneals.
We always need to stretch. But the most important thing we can do is learn how to change our movement patterns and standing habits so that the muscles that we stretch will stay stretch. It is hard to have one without the other.
This calf stretch is great for the calves as well has for hamstring tightness and hamstring pain. Give it a try and you might be amazed at just how tight your calves are.
Calf Stretch for Hamstring Pain
- Roll up a mat or blanket.
- Stand with your feet parallel, your heels on the floor and the balls of your feet as high up the roll as possible.
- Bend your knees softly and lift all ten toes. Keeping your knees aligned over your ankles, bow forward. Have support for your hands if necessary. (A block, or even a chair).
- Stay in this position for a minute or longer.
- Keeping the knees over the ankles try to bring weight to the inner foot. Lifting your toes will help keep your arches from collapsing.