Inside Calf Pain and Foot Mobility with Athletes and everyday people

There is a connection between pain in the inner calf and lack of flexibility of the foot.

A lot of the time, there is a description of pain travelling up the inside of the calf and can exist during the day, during activity and/or after activity. With my work, I am always dealing with the pain locally but need to figure out why the muscles are so tight. There is a lot of stress put on the calves as it is, but I find myself focusing on returning the surrounding joints to normal function. A lot of time, the joints that make up the inside of the foot are the culprits. I notice that the Calcaneus at the back, has been pulled in slightly and the inner arch of the foot (between the big toe and the heel has become rigid and unable to flatten to the degree that it needs to. What this does is turns the foot into a rigid platform, as opposed to a moving multi-joint foot. This has to make the calves work super hard during anything from walking to running to biking and anything in between. My treatment often includes release of the calf muscle, realigning the Calcaneus (heel bone) and remobilizing the middle inside joints of the foot. I teach the client a way to maintain mobility of the joints as well at home so they experience a long lasting effect. There is a simple method to maintaining flexibility of the midfoot joints and to keep the Plantar Fascia (of Plantar Fasciitis fame) at the bottom of the foot in a flexible position. Very often as well, is that underneath the calves are muscles that attach to the underside of the foot and involved in curling the toes. In most cases, they have lost their flexibility and are pulling too hard where they begin, which is on the back/inside of the lower leg bone, and is best described as shin splints. If the shin splints are relatively recent, are a manageable condition.

There is also consideration that the gluteus muscles may not be firing during push off, that can also make the calves work too hard as well. I confirm that the hip can extend properly (which is what the Gluteus muscles do) and teach them to fire the hip muscles properly from very focused exercises to including the firing during whatever function they are doing.

Identifying the issues, treatment and homecare for the patient will be the focus to get them back to function but as I always say, half of their success will be what I do and the other half will be their understanding and maintaining the progress that we make and their commitment to their exercises and homecare. In most cases the person will have to reduce any unnecessary repetitive activity for a short period of time, while the initial treatments and rehabilitation are in process but able to return slowly to original activity as symptoms reduce and normal biomechanics are in place.

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