Calve stretch step

Calf stretches for back pain are brilliant. This is my favourite calf stretch.

If you have back pain, especially low back pain this may be one of the best things you ever learn to eliminate or reduce and better manage it.

But don’t take my word for it.

Do this stretch many times a day for a few days and see if it helps. If it does, you’re onto something really useful, so make it a normal part of your life.

Hang on
Always hang on to something when you do this. It makes you much more stable so you can relax more and get a better stretch.

Stand with your heels lined up with the edge of the step. Slide your right foot back until 2/3 of your foot is off the step.

Don’t Bounce, Just Breathe.
Each time you breathe out put just a little bit more pressure on.

Hold this for 3-6 slow deep breaths. Push down a bit more on each outbreath. Then slowly let the pressure off.

Leg Straight
Take a deep breath and as you breathe out bend your left knee, keep your right leg straight and push your right heel down.

Start nice and light and slowly increase the pressure until you can feel the stretch. You should feel it just below the knee in your gastroc muscle.

Leg Bent
Then take a deep breath and as you breathe out bend both of your knees and push down on right heel again.

Deeper, Lower
You should feel it stretch deeper in and further down your calf. This is stretching soleus muscle. It also puts more pressure on the front of your ankle. Nice and easy does it. Increase the pressure until you can feel the stretch. 3-6 slow deep breaths, no bouncing. Slowly let the pressure off and repeat on the left leg. As with all stretching you always start and finish on the tighter side.

Right is Tight
Most peoples’ right calf is tighter than their left. So unless you’re sure it’s the left, start and finish on the right calf.

Do it Twice
When you stretch your calves, always do it once with the leg straight, (or almost), and once with the leg bent.

Straight Gastroc, Bent Soleus

Straight leg stretches gastroc, your upper calf and bent leg stretches soleus, the lower calf.

There are plenty of ways to stretch your calves but what they all have in common is they get you to dorsiflex your foot, that is, moving the top of your foot and your toes closer to your knee.

X 2
And always do it once with your leg straight, and once with your leg bent. This is important.
Do lots of them and see how much difference it makes to your pain and stiffness!