calf massage

Calf Massage: 5 Best Techniques for Sore Lower Legs

Calf Massage: 5 Best Techniques for Sore Lower Legs

Whether you’ve been training for a 5K or just started a new walking routine, calf pain is an unfortunate — and common — occurrence. When you have sore calves, you can expect nearly every step you take throughout the day to come with a zap of discomfort. But here’s the good news: A simple calf massage could bring you some relief.

Below, discover five of the best ways to give yourself a calf massage at home (and what to know before getting started.)

Preparing for Calf Massage: What to Know

When your calves are tight for long periods of time, they can form trigger points (or small sections of muscle fibers that become tense and painful.) Fortunately, massage can help break up these fibers, ease soreness, and support your overall leg health.

With that being said, there are specific times when it’s best to avoid leg massage. Before starting, talk to a doctor if:

  • You have a fresh muscle strain, tear, or another injury.
  • You notice any signs of deep vein thrombosis.
  • You have any other medical condition that you aren’t sure about.

How to Self-Massage Calf Muscles: 5 Ways

Note: Before trying massage, check with a physician about the source and possible treatments for your calf pain. This post is meant for general information and is not a substitute for one-on-one medical care.

Research has shown that massage can help you relieve soreness, boost blood flow, and even improve your range of motion. And yes — if you’re dealing with sore calves, you can reap these benefits at home. 

Here are five ways how:

1. Using Your Hands 

If you don’t own any massage equipment, no worries. A simple hands-on calf massage can work wonders for pain and tension. 

Here are the steps to get started:

  • With the help of massage oil, gently warm up your calf muscles using long, light strokes. 
  • Use your knuckles to slowly massage the muscle, starting just behind your shinbone and working towards the back of the leg. Focus on slow, deep movements here.
  • Then, use your knuckles to massage the back of the calf, kneading the muscles forward this time. 
  • Now, use your knuckles to massage the outside calf muscles lengthwise. 
  • Repeat these steps for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Foam Rolling

Not only can foam rolling bring relaxation to your calf muscles, but it can also ease tension in the connective tissue around them. Here are three simple steps for a foam rolling calf massage:

  • Sitting on the floor, place a foam roller underneath your calf muscles.
  • Use your hands and opposite foot to lift and support your body. Then, roll your calf back and forth, taking time to focus on especially sore spots.
  • Repeat for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. 

3. Massage or Tennis Ball

If you don’t have a foam roller, a tennis ball or a massage ball can be the next best thing. You can use a similar technique to the one mentioned above to massage your calves. Simply:

  • Sit somewhere comfortable and flat, and place the ball under the meaty part of your calf.
  • Then, gently move your body side-to-side, forward, and backward to roll your muscles over the ball.
  • Repeat for a few minutes or until you feel relief.

4. Massage Gun

A massage gun is a popular tool that uses bursts of powerful pressure to break up muscle tension. If you’ve got one on hand, here’s how to use it for sore calves:

  • First, start by attaching the airiest and lightest head your massage gun came with. (Don’t worry — you can move to a smaller attachment later on.)
  • Sit in a chair with your legs extended. Then, cross the leg you want to work on over the other, so you have better access to the muscles.
  • Turn on your massage gun to a low setting. 
  • Slowly glide your device over the largest muscles of your lower leg for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • If you float over a tense spot or trigger point, you can hold the massager in place for longer.
  • Repeat for up to two minutes.

5. Foot and Calf Massager

Although you might not expect it, a well-designed foot massager isn’t just for sore feet — it can work its magic on your calf muscles, too. For example, the MedMassager Foot Massager Plus is one physician-trusted device that doubles as a tool that can massage your lower legs.

Here’s how to use it for calf pain relief:

  • Turn the device on to a light-pressure setting.
  • Place it at a 45-degree angle to your body, and rest your calves on top of the massage surface.
  • Allow your legs to warm up to the massage for one to two minutes.
  • Afterward, turn up the pressure to your desired intensity.
  • Allow the device to massage your legs for up to 10 minutes. If need be, you can repeat this process several times per day.

The Takeaway on Home Calf Massage

Dealing with sore calf muscles can be troublesome and downright painful. Fortunately, there are various home massage options that can offer you some relief. You can:

  • Use your hands and knuckles to knead out muscle tension
  • Use manual massage tools like foam rollers or tennis balls
  • Try an electric massager, such as a massage gun or foot massager

For daily therapeutic massage, check out MedMassager’s full range of physician-trusted tools here. Or, learn more about using the MedMassager Foot Massager Plus for sore calves today.

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