Soleus Trigger Points - Self Treat Foot Pain
The soleus muscle is a calf muscle connecting at the top to the tibia and fibula and at the bottom to the heel bone via the Achilles tendon.
The lower half of this muscle is visible just beneath the skin while the upper part is hidden under the gastrocnemeus. Like the peroneus muscle a small portion of the population has an additional attachment head connecting behind the Achilles tendon. This muscle is responsible for any movements of pushing off with your feet. Running, walking, jumping and climbing are all activities that rely heavily on these muscles and can cause trigger points with over use.
Conditions and Differential Diagnoses:
Night cramps and pain
Leg pain after exercise
Posterior compartment syndrome
Soleus trigger points refer pain to the calf, back or side of the ankle and the heel. It is often the cause of pain mistaken for plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Sometimes heel spurs are present and are not causing pain, which makes checking the calf muscles very important.
These muscles can also cause pain and spasms in the lower back and has even been linked to pain referred to the jaw. The effects of lower leg trigger points are widespread. The calf muscles help pump blood and fluid from the feet supporting healthy function all around. Malfunction of this pump increases ones risk of phlebitis, anterior compartment syndrome, varicose veins and other circulatory problems.
The calf muscles have a big job and can be overloaded easily when challenged with an injury or excessive running. Especially on uneven ground. Hard soled shoes like dress shoes or boots cause uneasy footing which can stress the soleus. Boots also put extra pressure on the back of the leg, restricting blood flow.
Similarly, chairs and recliners pressing on the back of the legs promote dysfunction. High-heeled shoes are a magnet for lower leg trigger points because they keep the muscle in a shortened state and create an unbalanced footing.
You can feel this muscle contract when you point your toes. The lower half of your leg, below the gastrocnemeus is the part you are looking for.
The red region indicates the likely pain pattern location you will experience from these muscles. The green circles are the trigger point location . This is where you need to massage in order to relieve the pain. Check out the trigger point page for details regarding treatment tips and techniques.
The Theracane Massager, hand tools or your opposite knee can be used to treat the calf muscles. Use gravity by resting your lower calf on the tool or your opposite knee while reclining. Use short strokes to work on and eliminate the trigger points in the calf muscles. You will likely find some immediate relief as well as continued relief as you apply the treatment over days and weeks. You can prevent the pains associated with these muscles by gradually increasing your exercise program. Regularly massaging your calf muscles to prevent overload is another great strategy.
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