Anthony Marchand Bicycle Repair And Maintenance information And Tips

Self Massage: Calves
Anthony Marchand bicycle repair and maintenance information and tips.

The gastrocnemius originates from the lower end of the femur and attaches the the Achilles tendon which extends down to the heel; partially below that sits the soleus which attaches to the tibia and fibula and the lower end to the Achilles tendon. The main function of the gastrocnemius muscle is in lifting the body as in climbing and jumping as well as stabilizing the knee and ankle joint. The soleus is responsible for plantar flexion of the ankle (pushing down on the foot) propelling one forward to walk and run. Both are involved in cycling.

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Trigger Points can cause localized muscle pain, offer radiating out from the trigger point, as well as knee pain.
Symptoms includes:
  • Pain in the back of the calf radiating to the surrounding area.
  • Pain in the back of the heel.
  • Pain may even be seen it the sacroiliac area or back.
Genuine medical problems may exhibit similar symptoms such as thrombosis, phlebitis, stress fractures and tendon and ligament tears. Severe, prolonged or worsening pain should be an indication to see your medical specialist.

  • Over use in athletes caused usually associated with repetitive action as seen with cyclist or hikers can cause trigger point in many portions of the muscle.
  • Swimmers with toes pointed in flutter kick.
  • Inactivity or chairs that put pressure on the back of the calves.
  • Slipping as you walk or run on sand or gravel.
  • Poor ankle support while skiing or skating.
Treatment: You will usually feel pain in various portions of the muscle during massage as demonstrated in our video on Self Massage Calves.   The method locates trigger points (small painful knots of muscle about the size of a quarter which radiate pain to a wider area.
  • Warm the area using your palms as shown in our video.
  • Rub the muscle with the knuckle of your hand.
  • Raise the leg, surround the lower calf with both hands, thumbs forward, and move the let out ward (hand move toward the knee).
  • With your fingers support by the other hand, move your fingers along the line of the muscle upward toward the knee. Start on the lateral (outer edge)of the lower calf and upon reaching below the knee, repeat again by starting at the lower calf but more medially (inner). If you find a tender knot or trigger point, apply pressure as in the next step. You can also use a Thera Cane instead of your fingers.
  • Apply pressure to the trigger point (about a 7 out of 10) for 15 to 20 seconds. You can move the finger or Thera Cane in one direction (side to side for cross friction or up and down - but movement should be very minimal.
  • Identify other trigger points and repeat.
  • Be sure to ice the area when finished to prevent further inflammation.

Self Massage: Calves

The calve muscles consist of 5 muscle in the back of the lower leg. The larger muscles include the Gastrocnemius and Soleus:
Short intervals of treatment of individual trigger points repeated several times a day will have better effects then prolonged treatment.

Remember: Severe pain, pain that increases with treatment, recent injury or surgery require an evaluation by your medical specialist

  • The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. Clair Davies NCTMB with Amber Davies NCTMB, New Hampshire Publications Inc., 2004, ISBN-10-57224-375-9.
  • Baron's Anatomy and Physiology. I. Edward Alcamo, Ph.D. and Barbara Krumhardt, Ph.D., 2nd Edition, Baron's Educational Series, Inc., 2004, ISBN-13: 978-0-7641-1979-8.
  • Self Massage Lower Leg/Calf  From Dene Hickey: Self Massage to improve your flexibility. Massaging the calf's will repair the damage from cramps and help prevent cramping and restless legs.
  • Calf Knee Massage  From: SportsWebPT A great self massage technique using one knee to massage the opposite cafe to help decrease tightness and decrease soft tissue restrictions in the calf muscles.
  • Lower Calf  From: DIY Facial Health. A self-treatment guide for calf pain using a tennis ball.
  • Calf massage  From Caroline Jordan: Sore Calves from a hard run or GREAT balletone workout? Use a tennis ball to work out the kinks using this technique! Enjoy!
  • Gastroc/soleus mobilizations  From ATA videos this video demonstrates how to perform muscle mobilizations on the soleus muscle just below where it is exposed just below the gastrocs using a tennis ball.
  • Lower Leg & Calf Massage: Do It While You View It  From Rich Poley: Massage away muscle pain and soreness from your lower legs while while watching this soothing 3-minute video.