SIMPLE STRETCHES AND SELF MASSAGE TIPS FOR THE LOWER LEG
By Mark Kelly
These tips are especially helpful for those individuals that have regularly tightness or pain in the lower legs.
The gastrocnemius muscles or “calves” are the big muscles in the lower leg. To stretch them you can follow any of the following tips:
#1 Stand on a raised hard surface, in this example I am using a hard massage ball. With the foot of the leg you intend stretching flat on the floor. Lean forward slightly while keeping the leg you are stretching straight.
#2 Lean against a wall, in the same posture you would take if you were trying to push a car. The leg you are stretching should be straight with that foot flat on the floor, the other leg bent with your body weight over that leg.
#3 Sit with your legs straight out in front of you resting on a foam roller. You can roll back and forth or simply sit with the roller under one spot for a few minutes, then move the roller slightly and allow the leg to rest in the new position for a few minutes until you have moved the roller up and down the length of the muscle. If you find a spot that feels particularly tight or painful spend a little extra time on it.
For slightly increased pressure cross one leg over the other.
The “Achilles” refers to the lower part of the lower leg below the “calves”. There are several muscles in this area the biggest of which is the soleus. To stretch this part of the leg follow these tips:
#4 Follow the instructions in #1 and #2 but instead of keeping your leg straight, bend it slightly.
The Tibialis Anterior is the main muscle on the front of the lower leg. The easiest way to work on this muscle is using your hands.
#5 Simply applying pressure to different points along the muscle will release any tightness or pain in this muscle, remember to spend more time on the tight or painful spots.
#6 Starting as close to the ankle as possible feel for the edge of the tibia bone. While applying pressure slide your thumb towards your knee, follow this pattern a few times, you may feel a spot about a palm below your knee that is more sensitive or painful than the rest, this is normal.
The feet should be treated everyday. You should be able to easily self massage your feet, if you have the verbal skills you could talk someone into doing this for you, alternatively if you have a ball follow these tips:
#7 With comfortable pressure, roll the ball under your foot in lines from the ball of the foot to the heal and back. Making circles with the ball is another option.
#8 Stand with the ball under one spot of the foot and simply allow your body weight to shift over to that foot till you reach a pressure you are comfortable with. After 20sec to a minute move the ball to another spot and repeat the process.
If you have any further questions about the lower leg feel free to contact us or speak to your therapist at your next visit.