Suffering from tight calves that cramp and are constantly sore is not a pleasant experience. That’s why we’re here to teach you how to release tight calves so that you can obtain blissful relief!
Various causes of tight calves, like overuse, can result in painful symptoms like restrictive movement and cramping. Finding relief from tight calf muscles is obtainable through approaches like deep tissue work that target the fascia and muscles. But what method for releasing tight calves is the most effective?
Throughout this article, we will teach you why releasing tight calves is essential and how to proactively release tension in the calves with practical methods and tools.
What Causes Tight Calves?
Before going into the causes of tight calves, let’s discuss what " tightness " is in the muscles, in this case, the calves. When a person experiences tightness in muscles, they experience muscle rigidity, which translates to the inability to relax the muscles, which can result in cramping or pain. The tightness in the muscles is due to the muscle being unable to achieve its full range of motion resulting in a semi-contracted state where the muscle cannot lengthen or relax.
Tightness in the calves is, more often than not, caused by overuse of the muscles. This can be instigated by activities like running, playing sports, or exercising. Or even simply participating in a repetitive activity like running can cause the calves to tighten up. On the other hand, underusing the calves can also result in stiffness, or even standing up all day, as the muscles will acclimate to being in a lengthened position.
A less common reason for tight calves is deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This medical condition occurs when a blood clot, or thrombus, forms in the body's deep veins, usually in the legs. When this happens, the area of the clot can become painful, sore, or tight. Deep vein thrombosis is a severe medical condition as the clot can travel to the lungs.
Medications can have side effects that result in soreness, tightness, cramping, or pain in the muscles. Clonazepam and metformin are examples of such. There are also conditions like myopathy and neurologic disorders that can result in muscle stiffness as a side effect.
Why You Need to Learn How to Release Tight Calves
Releasing tight calves can benefit you in ultimately providing pain relief. However, not addressing tight calves can lead to serious repercussions. A study presented the negative effects calf tightness has on balance and gait ability, which can cause imbalances in the muscles, joints, and tendons in other parts of the body.
Not addressing tight calves can also continue to create mobility restrictions that can inhibit day-to-day activities and increase the risk of injury in the future. For example, when the calves are tight, it can restrict the range of motion in the ankles. These mobility issues can result in a balance shift to the front of the foot. This can lead to painful problems like nerve entrapment and bursitis, a painful inflammation in the bursa that acts as a cushion between bones and tendons.
By taking time to address your tight calves, you are reducing the risk of these issues caused by stiff calf muscles.
How to Release Tight Calves: Massage, Stretching, & Other Recovery Efforts
There are various effective methods to consider for releasing tight calves, including massages and stretching. To learn more about how to reduce tension in tight calves and gain pain relief, continue reading!
Start by Warming the Muscles Up
A practical method of reducing tightness in the calves, especially pre- or post-exercise, is warming the muscles up.
When the muscles are warm, they are more pliable and prone to increased flexibility. When the muscles are cold, it produces the opposite effect. This is why warming the muscles up is vital before exercising, as injury risk is significantly reduced since warm muscles are more in tune to adapting to load and stress.
To warm up the muscles before exercise, mobility work is the most efficient method as it warms up the muscles and the joints to prepare for dedicated forms of movement used during the training session. Some ways to warm up the muscles, in general, include using a heating pad, hot tub, or sauna, which can be used post-exercise to decrease muscle tension.
Deep Tissue Work to Eliminate Restrictions
The body's deeper tissues are the fascia, connective tissue that works as an internal structure for the body, and muscles. When these two tense up, painful issues like cramping, tightness, and soreness, ensue.
With deep tissue work, the tight fascia and muscles are addressed to relieve tension and improve circulation in the area. Some commonly used methods of deep tissue work can be achieved through deep tissue massages done by a massage therapist or with easy-to-use at-home tools like a lacrosse or tennis ball, foam rolling, and mobility stick. For learning how to release tight calves with massage work, pressure is needed to encourage the muscles to relax.
To work tight calves, you must apply pressure in the area. When you find more tender spots, increased pressure should be applied. These tender spots are the “problem” areas and need to be addressed to find relief.
You can place the foam roller underneath your calves in a seated position. Next, place your arms behind your back to lift your butt off the floor to apply added weight and pressure to the calves. Next, gently and slowly roll back and forth to release tension. This method can also be used with a lacrosse or tennis ball to apply pressure in different directions for added relief.
As calf tightness can often start from the feet, from issues like plantar fasciitis, using a lacrosse ball can be an applicable method to using deep tissue work to target this issue. Using the lacrosse or tennis ball, place it under the arch of your foot. Add desired pressure by driving your foot down into the ball as you roll back and forth, then side to side. This deep tissue work can be perfect for relieving pain associated with plantar fasciitis, which can result in calf tightness.
Follow Up With Strategic Stretching
For a strategic approach to stretching out tight calves, consider Castleflexx’s easy-to-use stretching equipment!
Perfect for stretching the lower and upper body, as well as performing active and passive forms of stretching, this versatile piece of stretching equipment is a must when addressing tight calves. Assisted stretching is beneficial in targeting the muscles for a deeper stretch that could otherwise not be obtained on your own. And this tool allows you to achieve these benefits, like an improved range of motion and joint health, without requiring another person’s help!
Using Castleflexx’s guided stretches, like the 10 Degree Stretch and 90 Degree Stretch, you can achieve relief from tight calf muscles. This stretching tool can be used anywhere thanks to its easy portability. This assisted stretching equipment can benefit you if you struggle with frequent tightness in the calves or other muscles.
Finish With Other Recovery Efforts - Like an Epsom Salt Bath or CBD
An Epsom salt bath and CBD are two other beneficial recovery efforts that can help reduce tightness in the calves.
Epsom salt breaks down into sulfate and magnesium when placed in hot water. When you take an Epsom salt bath, your body absorbs these minerals to relax muscles and reduce inflammation. To use Epsom salt for tight muscles, add two cups of Epsom salt to a standard-size bathtub. The water should be hot or warm so the Epsom salt can dissolve quickly into the water.
CBD is another great tool to target tight muscles. It functions as a natural muscle relaxer while also reducing stress, helping to reduce symptoms of muscle tightness like soreness and cramping. There are many ways to achieve the benefits of CBD, as it comes in many forms, like bath bombs, gummies, extracts, etc.
How Long Does it Take Calf Tightness to Go Away?
For some, relief from calf tightness can come immediately. However, for those that suffer from consistent muscle tightness, this may need to be frequently addressed with the various recommended methods, like assisted stretching and deep massage work, to release tension in the area.
There may be a lifestyle factor causing the tightness that needs to be addressed to eliminate the issue completely. If the lifestyle issue cannot be addressed, then adding efforts like stretching into your weekly routine to relieve tension in the calves will be required.
Final Thoughts on How to Release Tight Calves
Several effective methods for releasing tight calves include deep massage work, assisted stretching, and warming up the muscles. Castleflexx’s stretching equipment enables you to perform assisted stretching on your own to achieve a deeper stretch to relish the pain relief and benefits. This portable, easy-to-use stretching tool is perfect if you’re on the go and suffer from tight muscles. So you don’t have to suffer from tight, cramping, sore muscles.
Buy Castleflexx’s assisted stretching tool today to achieve relief from muscle tightness!