Foot pain with tight calves: Treatment

Foot pain, Leg pain, Muscle information, Neuromuscular therapy, Stretching (Active Isolated method) / Monday, April 27th, 2009

Neuromuscular Therapy treatment  for foot pain involves releasing the tension and Trigger Points in the calf muscles and then keeping them stretched to prevent shortening. 

gastroc-trps1Flushing comes first to clear accumulated wastes that cause pain from the calf and increase blood flow to bring nutrients, oxygen and healing cells to the muscles. Compression of the muscle bellies of the two heads of the gastrocnemius muscle and examination for Trigger Points and tight areas (ischemia) comes second. The TrP that refers to the arch of the foot is in the upper part of the medial head. Treatment of TrPs with sustained pressure encourages release of tension and reduces hyperactivity and referred pain. Treatment of the tendons behind the knee and above the heel addresses local irritation.

soleus-trpsDeeper work on the underlying soleus muscle addresses the Trigger Point that refers to the heel. It lies in the area of the achilles tendon.

Softening the achilles tendon with manual work and stretching it will decrease tension in both the gastroc and soleus muscles to which it attaches. The stretches will be more effective if you hold them for only two seconds and repeat ten times. The soleus is a powerful pump, sometimes called the second heart. It pumps fluids that accumulate in the lower leg, ankle and foot from the effects of gravity. Active Isolated Stretching increases its action.

long-toe-flexor-trptibpost-trpThere are two other muscles that may need to be treated lying deeper between the two bones of the lower leg. Neuromuscular Therapists are trained to get at portions of the tibialis posterior and the long toe flexors. Stretching will help.

Pain can easily come back if the foot is in position where the toe is pointed for a long time (plantar flexion) like at night in bed, or overloaded while in that position, like walking in heels or jogging. Release of the Trigger Points on the inside part of the calf can bring immediate relief. Stretching by bringing the foot toward the knee with a towel or strap while in both straight leg and bent leg positions will lengthen the muscles and increase blood flow. You may be surprised at how much treating and stretching tight calves can relieve pain in the foot.