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What can physical therapists do for tight calf muscles and foot pain?

Have you ever considered that your tight calf muscles and foot pain may be linked? You really should, and physical therapists can help you understand why these two issues may be linked. 

Why are tight calf muscles and foot pain linked together? 

There are two muscles that make up your calves: the gastrocnemius muscle and the soleus muscle. Both of these muscles are heavily involved in the movement of your knees, ankles and feet. So much so that tight calf muscles commonly lead to various forms of foot pain. Some painful foot issues that tight calves can trigger include: 

  • Achilles tendinitis — The Achilles tendon attaches the calf muscles to your heel. Tightness in these muscles can lead to a strained Achilles tendon, which often triggers pain in the heel.  
  • Plantar fasciitis — Tight calf muscles can also alter running or walking mechanics, which can put more stress on the plantar fascia. This structure helps support the arch of your foot. When it becomes irritated, the condition is called plantar fasciitis. This issue commonly leads to pain in the foot arch and heel. 
  • Forefoot issues — Many forefoot issues may also be linked to stiff calf muscles. Why? They can cause the forefoot to be overloaded as you walk or run. This overloading can lead to painful forefoot conditions like metatarsalgia. 

How can physical therapists help with your tight calf muscles and foot pain? 

Physical therapists can help people treat shin pain, calf pain and foot pain. They may even be the ones who help track your foot pain back to tight calf muscles. A few of the ways that physical therapists can help if you have tight calf muscles and foot pain are: 

  1. Pinpointing the cause of your pain — A physical therapist is trained to find and address musculoskeletal conditions. This training can help them identify the ultimate source of your foot pain: tight calves. They can also help you learn about the specific foot issue or issues that your tight calves have triggered. 
  1. Treating your condition — Your physical therapists can help you treat the heart of your foot condition. One way they can do so is by helping improve the flexibility of your calf muscles. Soft tissue mobilization and therapeutic exercises are both ways that physical therapists can help improve your calf flexibility. 
  1. Helping to prevent future calf stiffness — If your calf muscles became stiff once, they could do so again. A physical therapist can help you prevent future calf muscle stiffness. They can start by evaluating how you walk and run; then, they can create a flexibility program that you can use regularly to ensure your calves stay supple. 

Tackle tight calf muscles and foot pain with help from Back in Motion

Experiencing tight calf muscles and foot pain? Our Back in Motion Physical Therapy clinicians know that these two issues often happen together. They can do a free screening to determine if tight calves are the underlying source of your foot pain. Next, our physical therapists can create a personalized treatment plan designed to boost your calf muscles’ flexibility and reduce calf and foot pain. 

Contact us today for more information about how we can help with your calf, ankle, or foot pain or to schedule your initial appointment.

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