A Little Help From My Friends

Happy National Running Day!  Oh boy do I love running and although I am taking a few days off to mend my foot I did get to watch our car do a color run yesterday…aka the car wash.


Oh does it ever pay to have great friends.  For some reason my Achilles is not a big fan of my flying.  Every time I board a plane it decides to swell up and ache.  The 7 mile run on Sunday probably didn’t help, but I was feeling so good!

When I woke up on Monday I could barely put any weight on my foot and when I went out to run errands I soon realized it wasn’t going to happen.  I desperately texted my friend who is a physical therapist and I couldn’t believe the response I got.  “I don’t want you walking around I am going to come by after work.”

Do you hear that?  It was angels singing down from heaven.  What an awesome guy.


He showed up and quickly diagnosed the problem.  “I can’t believe how much tension you are holding in your calves!”  With that he went to town massaging (although it didn’t feel like a “massage”) and kneading my tight calves.

I like to pride myself on having a rather high pain tolerance.  But I was gritting my teeth, grabbing anything in sight and doing a bit of painful moaning.  Meanwhile my husband sat nearby in the kitchen.  At one point he tried making a joke about the situation and I made a not so nice comment back to him with a few choice words.  Between my husband in the kitchen, me on the floor, and my friend digging his elbow into my calves I am pretty certain it was quite a sight.  If the neighbor was home I am sure he thinks some very strange things go on over here.

My friend guesses that the neighbors probably thought some sort of exorcism was going on in our place.  Hey if that’s what it takes to heal this foot, exorcise away!

So what does a girl/or guy do when your calves are super tight?  Thanks to Phil I have a few great exercises (that’s with an “e”) for you.

First you need to get friendly with the wall.  Keep your rear foot as close to the other as you need and bend your knee as much as possible to deepen the stretch.


Spend a few seconds as the stairs.  Allow your feet to sag below the step.  Rise back up using your stronger leg and then slowly sag back down.  Don’t bounce.  You don’t want to allow the stretch reflex to happen which counteracts any benefit you get from stretching.

Finally, spend some time with The Stick.  This guy is so painful.  I left mine back at our summer house so I found a nice travel sized version called the Tiger Tail.  I guess most people go away with travel sized shampoo and we runners take our pain inflicting implements with us on the road.

Phil finished my legs off with this rather sexy Rock Tape.  I made sure to match my shorts before I headed out for a walk.


In the meantime I am enjoying my walks around the city.  New York is a great place to wander and there is always something fun and new to see.  Last night I was sick of being inside so I took off on a walk in the rain.  The rain soon stopped and I had a lovely walk.  I was really pleased to see how many people got out and did their runs and walks in the rain.  Way to go!  Running in the rain is one of my favorites.  Don’t let it stop you from getting that workout in.


Anyone else have annoying tightness in their calves?  Care to share some of your favorite (painful) remedies?

29 thoughts on “A Little Help From My Friends

  1. My left calf has been particularly tight lately. I try to remember to stretch them really well after every run, and foam roll when I have time. I also have a little handheld massager thing I like to use. I think it’s intended for backs, but hey, whatever works, right?

  2. Definitely a stellar PT, that is for sure. I’ve dealt with calf tightness and strain before, and rolling, gentle stretching, and working on my ankle mobility and hamstring tightness have helped for me. Good luck!

  3. Ugh! My calves are pretty much permanently tight as rocks. I’m used to it by now, but when my last PT decided she’d “massage” them at each appointment, it was all I could do to not reflexively smack her arms away while tears ran down my face. I think the way I walk makes them tighten up. I try to stretch them as often as I remember (and it’s not hard since anytime I try to stretch *other* parts of my legs, my calves feel the burn too), but other than occasional gentle massages from my angel of a husband, I just grin (?) and bear it. I hope yours start feeling better!

  4. Currently have tightness and am learning from people like you about what I should do, lol! Buying ice packs tonight and bought compression sleeves with a gift card last week 🙂

  5. I am very familiar with that wall stretch following my PT appointments for my tendon! Yoga definitely helps too. Bound angle and eagle really helped me when I was having issues. (Eagle was totally uncomfortable, but really helped work it out!) Also I love that you said your car did a Color Run. That’s my daughter’s favorite part of going through the car wash. 🙂

  6. I have tight calves and a history of achilles pain resulting from them too! I’ve actually been dealing with it this week. Sometimes if I feel that I can’t get in deep enough with my foam roller, I’ll use the opposite knee to dig into my calves. If you sit on the edge of the couch and cross one leg over the other so one calf is infront of the other knee, you can dig in pretty well. And I stretch them out on the stairs daily.
    That’s so nice that your friend came to the rescue!!

  7. Does the tape help much? Just wondering, because I too am plagued with tight calves and that is the one thing you listed that I have never tried! (the Stick is AWFUL, BTW, but helpful-awful)…

  8. I’ve had pretty tight and knotty calves lately – and the foam roller seems to be working for me. I don’t think a PT would want to be friends with me – I’d probably text or call them every week about whatever pain or niggle I was freaking out about! Hope you’re feeling better!

  9. For my problematic achilles, when it’s tight and depending on how tight and b*tching either just touch toes, elevate it sleeping and see the osteopath or the usual, massage, yoga and foam roller. I hope yours starts behaving it’s self soon!

  10. Yes, I get annoying tightness in my calves and do the same thing as you do…prescribed by my foot doctor (I’ve had problems with plantar fasciitis in the past). I also really, really need to invest in a good foam roller!

  11. ugh, tight calves suck! When my calves are really tight I usually sub a tennis ball for my normal foam roller, it’s way more painful but effective.

  12. Ha! I get by with a little help from my friends.
    Love the rocktape matching outfit! I use Yoga and foam rolling to work out my calves, but they dont’ always do the best job. I think one of those hand held rollers would work much better.

  13. OMG that sounds incredibly painful! I didn’t know my calves had knots in them until the night before my last half marathon. My boyfriend was rolling me out with the stick roller and found them in my calves. I started freaking out and thinking they would cramp up during my race. So I had him spend extra time on them, probably causing our hotel neighbors to call the cops. I literally had to have my face in the pillow haha.

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