Lower limb tightness or Achilles pain? The culprit could be your Gastrocnemius. The Gastrocnemius are the outer muscles that make up the calf and achilles tendon. Consisting of two heads, medial and lateral, they originate from the lower posterior surface of the femur above the medial condyle and lateral condyle of the femur. Then insert into the posterior surface of the calcaneus via the achilles tendon. They are mainly used when walking and running.
It is the time of year where some of us dust off the running shoes or increase our amount of running. Which can often lead to problems in the lower limb and foot. A sudden increase in load commonly causes tightness through your calfs. Dysfunction of the gastrocs can lead to achilles tendonopathy, shin pain and glute pain.
Strengthening is usually as simple as doing calf raises. It is important to make sure your knee stays in line with your second toe as you progress through the exercise. You can view a great tutorial, by The Australian Ballet, for this strengthening exercise here.
Stretch – Lean against a wall with one leg back. Bend your front knee and keep your back one straight keeping your heels on the ground. The more you bend your front knee and lean forward the greater the stretch.
Self treatment for tightness through your gastrocnemius can be done through self massage, stretching, foam rolling and strengthening.
See the below video on how to self massage and foam roll your calfs.
Use the above information as a guide and always consult a Myotherapist or health professional for specific advice to you.