I can tell that Spring has arrived because I’m getting more and more questions on my forum about chronic calf pain. This is a major concern for athletes and can stop them in their tracks. I’ve found that while most people get calf pain from doing something that specifically causes a repetitive strain injury (RSI) to the calf muscles (driving a car is a major cause – more on that another time), with athletes there is a huge involvement for many muscles, including the quadriceps (thigh muscles) and a muscle that most people don’t even know about, the iliopsoas.
The reason these two muscles can cause such havoc is because they pull your pelvis down in the front (shortening the quads, which then causes more of a strain on the anterior pelvis) and up in the back (which presses the bone into the sciatic nerve). The sciatic nerve will then send an erratic message to the calf muscles, and you end up with chronic spasms.
If you go to https://www.julstromethod.com you can read all about repetitive strain injuries. I suggest you also read the sections titled “Muscles and Pain” and “What’s Happening Exactly.” Then go to the Muscle and Joint Pain forum and in the Announcements section, read the thread that starts with the words “Julstro Protocol.” This thread will explain all of the muscles that impact your pelvis, and then impact everything from your low back to your feet.
As you read through the information above, you’ll see a picture of a guy leaning backward over a kitchen sink. That’s the stretch for the iliopsoas, and I think it’s much better then the regular stretch where you lunge forward because it doesn’t cause on side to contract while the other side stretches.
Before you do this stretch, I suggest you use either the heel of your hand, your elbow, or a length of 1 1/2″ PVC pipe to press and slide down on your quads. Sliding is better then rolling because it goes much deeper into the muscle. If/when you find painful bumps, you are on a spasm and you just need to press out the lactic acid and release the knot in the fibers. Then you can safely stretch your iliopsoas and it will help to take the pressure off your sciatic nerve.
Wishing you well,
P.S. While you’re at https://www.julstromethod.com , subscribe to my free newsletter, Pain Free Living. This is a short newsletter that comes out twice a month and has excellent articles about repetitive strain injuries, self-treatments, and stretching.