Runners take note!
Calf tightness and pain in runners of all levels is too common! (Especially girls and women, more about that later)
I worked at the finish line of this year's Sydney Costal Trek as part of the Health Space team. We provided massage and physio/chiro advice to hundreds of people who completed either a 30km or 60km course around Sydney's beautiful shores.
The most common thing that needed physio/chiro/massage attention was aching or tense calves!
Whether you're a weekend warrior or a marathon specialist chances are you've experienced tightness or aching in the calves after a long run.
The answer as to why often lies elsewhere in the biomechanical link between the ankle, knee and hip.
The mobility of the knee and the hip play a big role on the flexibility of the muscles that control ankle movement. Coming back as to why calf issues are more common in female runners, its because the anatomy of a female usually suggests wider hips, thus greater pressure on the knees. Thus strength and mobility can be hindered.
All this impacts on the function and stability of the ankle joint and in turn forces the calves to work harder.
Woah, that's a lot of factors and I've barely gone into specifics. A physio or chiro is expert at piecing all the biomechanical factors together to target specific muscles or joints that impact on all the others.
For general management of acute calf pain or tightness follow the Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation protocol and stretch out the calves. A foam roller or spikey ball is another great way to self-inflict some tough love and promote blood flow to the area.
Sam Mullany is a physio working at Rozelle and Kings Cross Clinics.
To book a consultation with Sam, call (02) 8354 1534