My grandson Martin is an excellent soccer player. Yesterday he mentioned that his calves hurt so I took a look and his right calf felt like stone, it was amazing that he hadn’t torn his Achilles tendon!
Your calf muscles originate at the back of your knee and then merge into your Achilles tendon. The AT then inserts into your heel and when your muscles contract they pull on the tendon and you lift your heel up off the ground, standing up on your toes. Anyone who runs a lot, drives long distances (pushing on the gas pedal is a movement caused by contracting your calf muscles), or climbs a lot of stairs, is prone to a repetitive strain injury of the calf muscles.
In Martin’s case, I was concerned that the combination of his muscles being incredibly contracted, and the fact that he’s in a growth stage of life so his bones are getting longer but the muscle is too tight to go with the growth, could cause either bone pain, severe straining of the muscles at the back of his knee (including tearing from the bone) or his Achilles tendon could tear.
In any case, tight calves in a youth is serious and not to be ignored. The treatment is so simple! Have your child lie down on his/her stomach and just squeeze her calves as if you were trying to soften cold/hard taffy. If you feel real thickness in the muscle (it won’t be flexible) then squeeze it and stay still for about 30-60 seconds. Be sure to stay within your child’s pain tolerance level because going too deep will cause him to stiffen the muscles even further.
If you have my book, Treat Yourself to Pain Free Living, you can adapt the self-treatments so you can help your child (or anyone else for that matter) by working on him/her. And, if your child is an athlete it is also wise to have him receive a professional massage occasionally so you can be sure that her muscles are flushed free of toxins and circulation is improved.
Have a great day,