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Let’s talk gastoc

When looking for possible causes of poor posture, you need to start from the bottom and work your way up. One common cause for poor posture are tight calf muscles.

Having tight calves will change your gait and your muscles will work differently to compensate for the tightness of the calves. This will cause a chain reaction all the way up the body that will lead to bad posture.

Anatomy of a muscle

The Gastrocnemius (gastroc) has two heads that both originate on the back of the lower part of the femur and run together to form the Achilles tendon, which attaches to the heel. The gastroc points the foot and since it crosses the knee, helps to bend the knee.

Causes of tightness

The gastroc may become tight from long periods of inactivity or from long-distance running. High heels can cause your calf muscles to shorten over time as you are always walking as if you were on your toes.

Symptoms of tightness

  • Cramping in the muscle belly

  • Pain in the Achilles tendon

  • Pain in the muscles on the front of the lower leg

  • Pain in the arch of the foot

Tightness test

  • Sit on the floor facing the wall with your knees straight and the bottom of your feet against a wall

  • Pull your toes back towards your knees as far as they will go

  • You should be able to lift your toes off the wall 10 to 20 degrees

The fix

  1. 1. Step onto a stair or a couple of thick books with your right foot

  2. Position the foot so that the pad of the foot touches the surface, and the arch and heel are in the air

  3. Relax your calf by letting your heel drop down and hold 10 seconds

  4. Resist by using your calf muscle to raise your body 1 to 2 inches and hold for 5 seconds

  5. Relax the calf to a new stretch point by letting the heel drop down and hold 10 seconds

  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 three more times

Perform this stretch everyday to see improvement in flexibility, gait, and posture.


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