Medial gastrocnemius and soleus fascial release – for big calves, inner arch pain, flat feet + more

All of you with smaller calves – can you tell everyone by commenting if this is even worthwhile for you?

I have big calves from my gymnast days (and Italian genes). The inside “meaty” portion of my calves – anatomically the medial gastrocnemius – can get especially facially restricted because it’s hard to get in here and release, so it’s often neglected.

Lately I was playing around with a several different tools trying to get at my inner calf – a softball (my knew favorite for OUTER calves!), a lacrosse ball (too small) and a foam roller (just right).

Why release your inner calf?

If you’re suffering with any of the follow you could benefit:

  • Tight/stiff calves
  • Flat feet (the inner calf fascia line can pull you into a flat foot position, in addition to your peroneal fascia and other areas, so this isn’t a one stop fix for flat feet but it might help!)
  • Medial knee pain
  • Inner arch pain, or plantar fasciitis / arch pain that’s more towards the inside of your foot than outer, and not to be confused with plantar fasciitis that is felt as HEEL pain
  • Low back pain – every once in a while, this inner calf line can pull enough at your pelvis that it can cause lower back pain. It’s NOT the first place I’d look to solve your pain, but if you’ve tried a lot of other things this can be a GREAT place to go next and see if you get relief!
  • Tension headaches – yep, sounds crazy I know but I’ve actually helped people in my private practice eliminate headaches and neck pain by releasing this area, in conjunction with other areas. That’s because there is one line of fascia that uninterrupted from the bottom of the foot through the calf, through the adductor, into the pelvic cavity and all the way up your spine to the top of your HEAD.

Try it and share your success stories below, you’ll inspire someone else to get to work and feel better too!

  • sherry says:

    thanks!! lots of lumps & clumps & yes more I work them the less pain. also have had tendon pain on outside of back of knee..get cramps in center hamstring area ..anything specific I can do besides continuing to roll & rub! Thanks agn!

  • Maria Franzén says:

    I don’t have big calves, my muscels are long and lean, those I have , ha, ha. but this technic was painful and feels as if it’s releasing some of the tightness in my calves. If I’m lucky it’ll do something about the other things you’ve mentioned, I have them all…

  • Neenu Dhillon says:

    Elisha I love watching your videos !IThey have helped me tremendously .IThank you sooooo much

  • Joyce Cacchione says:

    Thank you Elisha. I’m going to try this technique tomorrow morning. I have your build with monster calf muscles. I used to hate my legs but now I appreciate them for the power they give me to walk for miles or endure serious gym workouts. As a massage therapist I sometimes beat myself up for not always having the answers despite my searching. This technique is what I have been looking for as I have all the issues (minus the knee pain). I will comment again once I try this for a few days. Thanks for all your insight!

    • Me too on hating my body once, and now I embrace how strong I am 🙂 I’m so glad you’re excited about this one, and I look forward to hearing an update!

  • SL says:

    WOW just found your channel suffered from inner calf PAIN so SOoooooo long and this KILLED and worked!!! So thankful that you do what you do helping the rest of humanity who tales time to heal
    Thanx again! You’re excellent

    • Awesome! Welcome to my little world of fascia and pain solutions 🙂 So glad this worked for you! And yeah it totally KILLS when the fascia is unhealthy there (like it often is in mine because of my calf anatomy).

  • Nettie Vaughan says:

    OMG…finally! I think you’ve nailed my issue with these exercises. I’ve been living with the foot pain since last June in my left foot. I’ve gone to orthopedic Dr.’s, chiropractors, endless PT exercises and nothing was hitting it. I did this exercise for 5 minutes–yikes! It killed but I felt my calf getting looser and relaxing. I couldn’t figure out why my low back was hurting, then my knee, then the inside of my groin (pelvic area), I’ve even had headaches and thought it was due to the stress of it all. I haven’t been able to do my regular workout because any impact fires my feet up which leads to pain in all the other areas as well. I thank you so much for these exercises. I have a question…how often and for how long should I do the exercises?

    • Yay!! That’s crazy you have all the listed issues that this one area can contribute to. Most of the time a general rule is to do one body part (so one calf) with 3-4 spots, and spend about 30-40 seconds on each spot. If you do it slowly and deliberately, those 40 seconds COUNT.

  • Sigrid says:

    Hi Elisha,
    2 years ago I shattered my left ankle and spent a year learning to walk again. Despite lots of physical therapy, the foot pain continued as well as a small limp that put a strain on the interior of my right leg and knee. This month I had 8 screws and plate removed — which really helped — but my knees and back were still painfully out of wack. Then I found your website, and started following all your suggestions. It’s really been a miracle! No therapist ever talked about fascia (really?) Today’s offering was especially helpful. Day by day I am getting stronger and more confident I’ll be able to take long hikes again. Thank you for easing my pain and giving me back hope.
    P.S. What would you suggest for a recovering, tight achilles tendon and the extensor tendons and ligaments that run on the front of the foot? I live in Ecuador, so its hard to find a practitioner.

    • Wow, that’s amazing Sigrid! I’m so happy you’re gaining hope and easing that pain. Your body is amazing at recovering when you give it what it needs, and I love helping you discover all the tools and resources to do. that. My blog and the YouTube channel both have a search bar where you can type in “Achilles” and see all relevant posts. I have hundreds of blogs and videos to help you 🙂

  • Brenda Steele says:

    I don’t have a roller so I used the large body Kansa wand and found the clunk spot. Also doing cups over the area after rolling. Just started. Small changes seen after first treatment.

    • Great improvisation Brenda! The cool thing is when you know what fascia needs, you can find tools everywhere. I’ll use the back of a chair or a water bottle or even the car window for my triceps lol! Glad to hear you’re seeing changes already 🙂

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