Today I want to talk about your lower leg muscles and caring for them. You may wonder why, when you have discomfort at the knee or just above the knee, your coach suggests to roll out your calves or your hamstrings. Muscle and fascial discomfort isn’t just about the point of pain. You also need to consider the origin and insertion points of the muscle. The origin is the fixed or more fixed location and the insertion is the location of what the muscle is moving. The gastrocnemius muscle (calf) originates on the femur and attaches to the heel, moving the foot. To effectively relieve pain, the muscle needs to be stretched and worked from end to end.
Knowing these attachment points is useful in determining just what the pain is from, as well. When someone says, “I have pain at my heel,” much of the time we can follow the muscles back up and find a corresponding sore spot at the other end. The peroneal (fibularis) tendons are famous for this. That usually sounds like this: “My Achilles hurts.”
The other end of the peroneus longus muscle runs up the side of the leg and the outer aspect of the knee will be sore. It also attaches under the foot and can mimic plantar fasciitis. Its buddy, the peroneus brevis is in about the same place but attaches at the pinky toe. Might want to check there, too.
When addressing the lower leg muscles, we have to assess not only where the pain is, but where it emanates, what else might be tight, and what is causing the imbalance in the musculature. Was is double unders, did you run a 5k, or was it box jumps that did you in? Each movement uses different muscles and we can figure out which one to roll.
Yet another reason to log your workouts…..
Anyway, the Rubbit does an amazing job of getting deep into the tissue. We have one and you should use it. I strongly suggest you get one for yourself and haul your hiney to mobility class with Chris!
The next time something hurts, first think about what you’ve been doing, then think about the muscle that did that movement. Then roll it, stretch it, or otherwise mobilize and fix it!
Rucker loves the Rubbit.