Calf Muscle Exercises for Acquired Calf Shortening
Wed,Mar 16, 2016 at 03:28PM by Carla Mullins
Acquired calf shortening and the need for calf muscle exercises
What is acquired calf shortening?
Acquired Calf Shortening (ACF) is a condition most common in women who regularly wear heels higher than 2.5 cm. ACF is also seen in people who have congenital short soleus and achilles tendon. There are simple calf muscles exercises that can provide relief and longer term benefits.
The shortening of the calf muscles increases the mechanical loading parameters on the mid-foot (known as secondary unlocking). People with secondary unlocking cannot get their heels down when they a pike or a squat; and if they overstretch their calf, have regular acupuncture or overly stress their tendons, the achilles tendon can be ruptured.
Anatomy of the calf muscle
The triceps surae is a pair of muscles located at the calf – the two-headed gastrocnemius and the soleus. These muscles both insert into the calcaneus, the bone of the heel of the human foot, and form the major part of the muscle of the posterior leg, commonly known as the calf muscle.
Four simple calf muscle exercises
Clients with ACF are constantly looking for stretches to release their calf muscles, which never quite remain stretched out. Rather than endlessly stretching the calf muscles, you might find that you need to encourage the client to:
// Moderate their footwear (good luck with that one…)
// Work the calf muscles through toe exercises such as the toe lift with the theraband (click here to download toe lift exercise sheet)
// Use a small support (such as a folded mat under the heels) that stretches/decreases the shortness of their calf muscles when doing standing exercises
// Roll a pinky ball under the feet and up the inside of the leg (which helps to release through the tibialis posterior tendon and muscle)
Carla Mullins is co-director and co-owner of Body Organics, a multidisciplinary health and body movement practice with 3 studios in Brisbane. Carla is a Level 4 Professional Practitioner with the APMA and has also studied pilates with PITC as well as Polestar. She also has a LLB (QUT), M. Soc Sc & Policy (UNSW), Diploma Pilates Professional Practice (PITC), Gyrotonic Level 1, CoreAlign Level 1, 2 and 3 and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.