Calf Pain and Calf Cramps….What to do when the little belly is full and tight and causing you pain? I am again referring to “the little Belly” (see my previous posts on this and you’ll know I’m not referring to the separate stomach sections children say exist so they can have dessert after eating almost no dinner!). I am referring to your gastrocnemius (one of the calf muscles) when it is either swollen from working out or cramped up from running, driving, cycling and/or daily life.
The calf muscles (gastrocnemius, soleus) and their crazy strong connective tissue at the Achilles heel, need as much TLC as your lower back, shoulders, or neck. Being aware and taking care of the whole body, not just immediate problem areas, is part of Yoga Tune Up®’s overall philosophy of healing, strengthening and living better in your body.
As a cyclist, I tend to be hyperaware of this particular area, as it can cramp easily. Part of my own self-care routine of this muscle is to use my YTU® therapy balls, especially after a really long ride or a ride that involves climbing out of the saddle. This type of climbing requires pulling up on the pedals with one leg while pushing down with the other. The pulling up part is where the calves get really involved. A post-ride self massage increases blood flow back into the muscles, breaks up muscular scar tissue, aids in healing and frankly, just feels really good. The Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Ball Program: Lower Body Series CD provides some targeted calf massage routines and movements that provide relief and promote lower leg health. A couple of YTU® poses that target/stretch the calves are Sitting Seza with a Strap and Dandasana with Ankle Circles. Be sure to check out the video below for Calf Stretch against the Wall, which can also be found on the 10 Minute Quick Fix for Feet and Ankles video. Give that little a belly a break.
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