Life

Pump those calf muscles!

August 30th, 2017 5:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Bent leg calf stretch - exactly the same procedure as the straight leg stretch, but bend your knee while keeping your back foot flat on the ground.

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Fitness with Paudie O’Donovan, Neuromuscualar Physical Therapist

HIGH up behind your knee lies a muscle that runs all the way down to your heel. It is called your gastrocnemius. 

This tough connective tissue is actually made up of two muscles. This muscle is more commonly known as your calf muscle and is the larger muscle forming the bulge visible beneath the skin. 

The gastrocnemius (or gastrocs) has two parts, or two heads, which together create a diamond shape muscle. Your soleus, or your walking muscle, is a smaller, flat muscle that lies underneath your gastrocs. 

They attach just behind the knee in the medial condyle of the femur and the lateral condyle of the femur and merge down into the Achilles’ tendon which inserts into the heel bone. During walking, running and jumping, the calf muscle pulls the heel up to allow forward movement.

A calf muscle strain happens when you stretch the calf muscle past its normal length resulting in tearing of the muscle fibres. Calf muscle strains can vary from mild to severe. 

A calf muscle strain is commonly called a pulled calf muscle. Pulling refers stretching the calf muscle beyond its limits. 

A calf muscle tear refers to tearing the fibres. More serious injuries may result in partial or complete rupture it the calf. To keep you gastrocs in good shape, you’ve got to use it. Walking and jogging are best. 

As a warm-up, we suggest two calf stretches below that will help in the maintenance of your calfs:

Stand facing a wall with your arms straight in front of you and your hands flat against the wall. Keep your right leg forward, foot flat on the floor, and extend your left leg straight back, placing your heel flat on the floor. Don’t bend your back knee. 

Lean into the wall until you feel the stretch in the calf of the straight leg. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides. 

Repeat twice for a total of three sets. Perform this stretch daily and up to three times a day if you are tight. 

Stand facing a wall with your arms straight in front of you and your hands flat against the wall. Keep your right leg forward, foot flat on the floor, and extend your left leg straight back, placing your heel flat on the floor. Don’t bend your back knee. 

Lean into the wall until you feel the stretch in the calf of the straight leg. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides. 

Repeat twice for a total of three sets. Again, perform this stretch daily and up to three times a day if you are tight. 

 

Paudie O’Donovan is a qualified neuromuscular physical therapist specialising in pain relief and improvement of mobility/flexibility.

He is masseur to the Cork senior football team and runs a sports injury clinic at Quarryvale, Coolnagrane, Skibbereen.

Fully registered with Laya and Aviva

Contact: 086-2339618 or follow him on Facebook

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