Are Tight Calves Causing Your Foot Pain?

One of the things I am learning in my journey to my best health possible is that what you think may be causing you symptoms (i.e. foot pain) may stem from a totally different area of the body. Often, when we experience heel and/or foot pain, it is stemming from tightness of our calf muscles, a condition called Gastrocnemius Equinus (GE).


The gastrocnemius muscle is a big calf muscle. Any exercise in which you raise your heels, putting weight on the ball of your foot, makes the muscle bigger and stronger and gives the leg a nicely toned and defined muscle (which is why many women love how their legs look when wearing high heels). The top of the muscle is attached to your femur, and the bottom of the muscle forms part of the Achilles tendon which attaches on the bone at the back of your foot.  The Achilles tendon is composed of two parts: the soleus, which is found only deep and behind the calf muscle and is almost never a problem, and the more superficial and bigger gastrocnemius muscle which is frequently a cause of pain and symptoms.

When you walk the gastrocnemius muscle contracts and lifts your heel off the ground which moves you forward. For many of us, this muscle is short or tight which can lead to problems including flat feet, bunions, metatarsalgia, hammertoes, sesamoiditis, plantar fasciitis (heel pain) and Achilles tendon inflammation, tendinitis, and even Achilles tendon rupture.


The most effective way to treat GE is with a regular stretching routine, particularly the wall stretch. Stand facing a wall with both feet together. Place your hands at shoulder height and width on the wall in front of you. Take a step forward with your right foot so that it is now only a few inches from the wall. Shift your weight onto your right leg and bend at the knee. Keeping both heels on the ground, lean your upper body slowly toward the wall until you feel a good stretch happening along the calf muscles of your left leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Return to your original position with both feet together. Repeat the stretch, this time putting your left leg forward. Do this exercise three times on each foot.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.