Rolling and Stretching for Tightness in the Lower Leg
Posted Oct 04 2010 12:00am
One of the most popular comments I hear from clients is that they find it hard to relieve tightness in the lower leg and bottom of the foot. This tends to be a widely neglected area in the strength and conditioning world because the calves and muscles of the foot are used constantly in training, life and sport.
To keep things simple, I want to show two easy drills that are targeted to relieving stress in the lower leg and foot.
First, a generalized rolling or massage works well to take away some of the tension so foam rolling, stick massage, or my favorite PVC pipe with yoga mat roll works well. I like to roll in the middle, lateral and medial sides of the calves for about 1 minute each then focus specifically on any tight spots with a tennis ball or lacrosse ball for a while until I am happy.
After the rolling, I will spend some time with a barbell on the bottom of the foot. With light pressure I roll back and forth on the bar for about a minute each foot until I begin to feel a blissful energy in the bottom of the foot. This helps to act as a generalized roll and then if necessary I will use my hands or a lacrosse ball to target any tight areas.
One word of caution..
People who have plantar fasciitis issues must tread softly as this much work can cause more pain for some people. One of my clients saw me working in this and then decided to try it themselves and couldn’t walk the next day. This is a rare case and it usually results in positive results, so try it for a short time, walk barefoot at home and use ice if you have chronic issues.
Otherwise, enjoy the wonderful feeling of open feet.