Today we are looking at the Calf muscles. Yes we have 2 muscles that make up the calf. The deepest is the Soleus. It originates from the upper, posterior surfaces of the Tibia and Fibula (lower leg bones)
The Gastrocnemius lays on top, forming the prominent contour of the calf and originates from the lower posterior surface of the Femur. (Thigh Bone)
Both the Soleus and Gastrocnemius insert on to the Calcaneus (Heel bone) via the Calcaneal Tendon (Achilles) which is a fusion of both Soleus and Gastrocnemius tendons. *Fact* This is the thickest and strongest Tendon in the body.
The action of both muscles is to Plantar flex (point) the foot at the ankle joint; Rising onto your toes. The Gastrocnemius also assists in flexing (bending) the knee.
Constant wearing of high heels can cause these muscles to shorten which can effect postural integrity. Also explosive jumping or landing badly can rupture Calcaneal Tendon at its junction with the muscle belly.
🎾To massage the calf muscles, use a ball or a foam roller. When you find a sore or tight spot, hold the position of the ball or roller and flex and point the foot to ease it off.
See Video 1.
🧘🏽♀️To stretch, find a ledge or a step and hang your heel down off the step. Turn the foot in and out, keeping hips facing the front, to stretch the lateral and medial parts of the muscles. Bend the knee of the calf you are stretching to target the Soleus muscle. A straight leg targets the Gastrocnemius.
See Picture 2.
💪🏼To strengthen, place a ball or something sturdy between the heels, and squeezing the heels together, rise up on to the balls of the feet. By doing this you are preventing the heels and foot from wobbling out of alignment.
See Video 3.