Most people think that calf or Achilles pain is simply part of the transition process from running in shoes to running barefoot, that the cause is previous underuse, and that the solution is to get stronger. If, when you land, you reach out with your foot (overstriding), you use your calf and Achilles to decelerate. This entry was posted in Barefoot Running, Barefoot Running Tips and tagged achilles pain, transition to barefoot. What is unique about these trigger points is that they don’t have to be actively producing pain to cause big problems. The gastrocnemius is the largest of the calf muscles, and “largely” contributes to the shape of the calf region on the back of the lower leg. The diagram above also shows the referred pain patterns associated with the gastrocnemius trigger points.
The lower medial trigger point is the only gastrocnemius trigger point that has an extended pain referral pattern. The upper medial and upper lateral trigger points refer pain locally to the back of the knee. Sitting in a recliner (or using an ottoman) that doesn’t have support for the heels (feet hang off), causes the weight of the leg to compress the calf region and keeps the gastrocnemius in a shortened position.
Sleeping on the back or stomach with the feet planter flexed (toes pointed) is a frequent cause of these trigger points (and calf cramps) especially if the muscle is chilled by a fan overnight. Calf cramps, typically at night (these may be present also with latent gastrocnemius trigger points). Nocturnal Calf Cramps: Trigger points in the gastrocnemius muscle may not be the sole cause of calf cramps at night.
S1 Radiculopathy: The pain associated with compression of the S1 nerve, namely posterior thigh and calf pain, may be mimicked by the posterior knee and calf pain produced by the gastrocnemius trigger points.
Thrombophlebitis: The calf pain associated with deep vein thrombosis can be very similar to that produced by active gastrocnemius (and soleus) trigger points, though other symptoms (such as redness of the skin in the lower leg) are not produced by trigger point activity. Posterior Compartment Syndrome: A serious condition of the calf region marked by diffuse pain and swelling. Intermittent Claudication: This is a disease that causes cramping in the calf and is thought to be caused by an obstruction in the arteries that prevents proper blood flow to the muscles of the calf.

I can find no scientific or clinical reason why releasing these (often latent) calf trigger points should have such a profound systemic effect on the body, but trust me it’s real. Click on the image below to use our Trigger Point Locator video on YouTube to learn about the trigger points that are causing a specific pain. Flat feet occur when the arch of the foot becomes flattened and the entirety of the sole comes into contact with the floor during weight bearing activities such as standing or walking. There are several factors other than aging and injury that increase the risk of developing flat feet. The most common method of diagnosis is a physical examination by a doctor, though most cases of flat foot are easily observable, however, many healthcare professionals will also be interested in observing the deeper mechanics of the feet.
If the patient remains pain-free then steps are not usually taken to correct flat feet, as it is a relatively harmless condition unless it interferes with quality of life. It sometimes happens that people with flat feet also have a markedly short Achilles tendon, so stretching exercise often help reduce the pain, as does proper foot wear. Regardless of the preferred treatment method when discomfort is especially acute most doctors recommend using the RICE method to alleviate or reduce pain symptoms.
While surgery is never performed for the sole purpose of correcting flat feet it may be introduced as a way to treat an associated problem such as tear or rupture to a related tendon. Again, the solution isn’t to hit the weight room and improve your calf raise strength. Latent trigger points in this muscle are frequently responsible for seriously painful calf cramps.
It is the most superficial of the calf muscles, with the soleus and tibialis posterior muscles lying deep to it.
Its pain tends to cover the whole of the calf region and will concentrate strongly in the instep region of the foot. Additionally, the S1 radiculopathy pain may actually cause trigger point activity in this muscle (and other muscles) which might persist after the radiculopathy (or any lumbar radiculopathy) has been surgically decompressed (also known as post-laminectomy pain). Trigger point activity in the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles can be a mediator of the calf pain and cramping associated with this condition. If a client comes to me in a really stressed-out state, the first thing I do is work the calf trigger points (gastrocnemius and soleus muscles).  Once their calf muscles are relaxed, their whole body becomes more relaxed and their breathing becomes slower and deeper.

People have no idea how much tension they carry in their calf muscles until you release it. In some cases the arches fail to fully develop during childhood but this condition can also develop after an injury or from overuse as well as the aging process in general.
Stiffness in one or both feet is also a common complaint, and many sufferers find that their shoes wear unevenly. These risks include obesity, family history, rheumatoid arthritis, pregnancy, nervous system diseases such as muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy, diabetes and tarsal coalition (unusual fusion of the bones in the feet). X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, and MRI’s may be used to gather more information about the structure of the feet and any underlying factors that may be contributing to the problem.
Flat feet can cause secondary problems in some patients and it is these secondary problems that may require surgical intervention and not the initial occurrence of flat foot. When these trigger points are active, they refer pain to the back of knee, calf, and instep of the foot regions. Other factors that may contribute to this disorder include diabetes, lumbar nerve compression (radiculopathy), hemodialysis, Parkinson’s disease, and side-effects from drugs (such as lithium, cimetidine, and phenothiazines). People with flat feet are also at higher risk for developing Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, hammertoe, plantar fasciitis, arthritis in the ankles and feet, and posterior tibial tendonitis.
Patients may also be advised to lose weight in order to reduce pressure on the arches of the feet. Yes, leaning forward, and using gravity also works in uphills, even the stepest ones, but there are also used the lower leg muscles much more than running on flat.
Call me crazy, but sometimes I think every case of myofascial pain (from headaches to foot pain) has it’s origin in the calf muscles.

Gel cushion for high heels
Foot pain between balls of feet
Category: Superfeet

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