Got Tight Calf/Ankles/Feet? Here’s your Troubleshoot! (part IV)

Aaaaaand were back again to continue our discussion on troubleshooting the foot/ankle/calf. But, before I begin, I was looking through some old posts that I had put up on the AG website, and I wanted to share a couple oldies but goodies that are similar to the topic on hand, only the focus was more solely on the foot. Some of the videos in there are very similar to the ones I’m putting up here, but using a different soft tissue implement. Here they are so you can check them out:

Do Your Feet Look Like This? (part I)
Do Your Feet Look Like This? (part II)

Finally, if you missed out on the previous posts in our current series, here they are:

Part I
Part II
Part III

Now that you’re all caught up, let’s talk about something that many individuals striving to get fit overlook doing, but are doing themselves a serious disservice as a result of this neglect: SMR, or Self Myofascial Release.

So, to keep this simple and effective, we’ll just go through each muscle group, post the video, and then talk about coaching cues for each one as needed.

Plantar Fascia:

I would venture to say that this is theleast pleasant area to work through, but also one of the most important, because this is where all the action begins when it comes to chain reaction biomechanics. When the foot strikes the ground, and ground reaction forces travel up the body, the bottom of your foot is the first stop. Keep in mind that when you do this, you will need the following:

– A lacrosse or golf ball
– A slow, deliberate tempo when you’re gliding your feet over those little “crunchies”, spending more time in any area that is significantly more tender


These muscle tissues tend to get beat up a lot of the time due to pronation compensation issues, and definitely provides a lot of relief as far as “opening up” the ankle into dorsiflexion/adduction/inversion goes. Same rules apply as with the plantar fascia… nice and slow, deliberate strokes up and down the side of the ankle, pausing at any tender spots and giving them the needed attention.

Tibialis Anterior/Front Calf:

If you’ve ever had shin splints before, you know the pain is awful. Doing soft tissue work for the anterior calf is a great way to provide relief for shin splints. Again, same rules apply.

Soleus/Gastroc/Back Calf

Now, I thought I had done a new video for this one, but I mistakenly left out the back calf. So, I found this one in the archives on my youtube channel. Same rules apply!

So there you have it, a quick and effective way to loosen up your foot/ankle/calf complex before you train. Keep in mind that you can substitute a foam roller, PVC pipe, or lacrosse ball for any of these… the idea is to find some type of object that you can tolerate “sinking” into without any muscle guarding.  That is a key point, as many people either consciously or subconsciously flex the muscle groups they are rolling.  The point is to create a parasympathetic response, and the only way to allow that to happen is to move slower, put less pressure on the area, and breath.   I typically suggest at LEAST 2 minutes for problem areas.



Leave a Comment