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Patient Information

Calf muscle stretching programme

https://kingstonhospital.nhs.uk/information/calf-muscle-stretching-programme

Tight calf muscles are linked to many painful foot and ankle conditions.

The following slow, gentle exercises help to improve the flexibility of the muscles and relieve pain if done regularly over a few months. You can include them when doing your daily activities and chores, such as when ironing, brushing your teeth, cooking etc.

Getting started

  • Stand with the front of your foot on something such as a thin paperback book. 
  • Keep your back muscles relaxed and posture straight. You should feel a gentle stretch, usually just under the knee. If the wedge is too high, you will lose balance and may strain your calf muscles or aggravate your knee joint.
  • Start by doing this for 30 seconds, once a day.
  • After a few days, start doing it twice a day and by the following week you should be doing it 3 times a day.
  • You should also gradually and slowly increase the amount of time you stand in this position until you’re doing it for 3 minutes at least 3 times a day.
Woman standing with front of feet on board, heels on floor

Next stage

  • Once this feels comfortable, slowly increase the height of your toes. For example, use a thick paperback book.
  • Keep your knees straight and pushed back, and stand tall. Try not to lean forward with your bottom sticking out.
  • When you increase the height, you should build up gradually again, starting with 30 seconds once a day and gradually increasing until you’re back to doing it for 3 minutes at least three times a day.
Woman standing with front of feet on higher board, heels on floor
Woman standing with front of feet on board, heels on floor, but over in the middle. Image has a cross to indicate what not to do
Picture of adjustable plastic incline board

Adjustable, plastic incline boards can be bought online.



Contacts

Physiotherapy 020 8934 2510 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm),
Khft.physioop@nhs.net

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For information accessibility please visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust
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Accessibility

Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 893 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For detailed information on accessibility at Kingston Hospital visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble (https://www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust).


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