Calf Pain Stretches to Improve Walking for Breast Cancer Survivors
calf pain with walking
Marian Barnick

Marian Barnick

Registered Kinesiologist and Human Movement Specialist

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There may be a lot of reasons you’re getting calf pain with walking:

  • Poor ankle mobility
  • Potassium imbalance
  • Hormone therapy side effect
  • Compensation for balance problems
  • Problems with your knees
  • Improper walking biomechanics

As a breast cancer survivor, you have more contributing factors for calf pain.  And because of the recommendation for breast cancer survivors to start walking as soon as they’re able, it increases your calf pain with walking and increases the chances of developing or increasing your aches and pains. 

(More on this in a minute)

 

But for some good news.

 

What I can tell you is:

  • the more flexibility you have in the calf muscles
  • the more you work to increase your ankle mobility
  • the more you work to improve your knee range of motion
  • improving heel-toe alignment
  • developing a better walking stride
  • coordinating your movement patterns
  • working your core activation and better motor control

All these things will decrease your calf pain with walking.  And these are all things within your control, that you can work on to improve to help your calf tightness, your calf spasms, and the aches and pains you feel.

 

Having tight ankles is one of the biggest problems I’ve seen with patients who get calf pain with walking.  And I bet as you’re reading this, you’re wondering,  “Hmmmm…do I have tight ankles?”

 

You probably don’t know if your ankles are tight.  Because you’ve developed ways of compensating how you move to accommodate the tightness.

 

If you want a way to check your ankle mobility, grab your free copy of:

The Breast Cancer Guide to Pain-Free Walking

 

This Guide will explain exactly how to check your ankle mobility.

Just click the link here.

 

Breast Cancer Guide for Pain Free Walking

 

And this is how things start.  

 

The body finds a way to get around those problems.  Whether it’s tight ankles, range of motion issues in your hips, chemotherapy side effects like peripheral neuropathy that cause problems with balance. 

 

All of these are reasons you’re going to find a way to move away from the pain and find an easier way to get things done.

CALF PAIN STRETCHES

 

So how are you going to get back on track?

You’re going to stretch.

 

YES, stretching is your best friend when it comes to decreasing your calf pain. 

Stretching to improve mobility  is key to improve your symptoms.

 

Decreasing Calf Pain When Walking

 

Many people believe that it’s a good idea to do a couple stretches before starting out on a walk.  I’m not sure where this idea got started but it’s absolutely the wrong thing to do.

 

 

What you need to focus on is stretching for better mobility.  This happens after you warm up the body.

 

 

This is the best time for calf pain stretches.

 

 

 After you’ve increased the blood flow to the muscles and warmed up the ligaments and got the joints moving a bit.

 

 

Doing a few ankle circles or waving your arms from side to side will not help you improve joint mobility.  I want you to take your time, and to really improve your calf pain from walking you need to start with stretching for flexibility.

 

 

Your pain is a clue.  As a Kinesiologist and Rehabilitation Therapist I look to these clues to help me find a solution.  Let’s say you decide  to sign up for one of my classroom sessions.  Well, one of the first thing’s I’ll ask you is about your pain and where it is.

 

 

The other big clue for figuring out the best way to tackle your calf pain with walking is watching your gait pattern – this is, how you walk.

 

 

These are clues to how we can improve your symptoms.

 

 

And for over 25 years, I’ve been watching patients walk. Analyzing gait patterns and figuring out exactly what patients need to do in order to feel better, move better, and reach their goals.

 

 

So based on this experience, I’m going to tell you that there’s a pretty good chance you’ve got some of the issues I’ve mentioned above. And this is good news, because you can start right now and work on the problems.

 

 

 

Start with this exercise.  Start with the Hip Hinge Calf Stretch.

You can do this every day.

 

 

And you can ask for help.

 

 

Let me know how it’s going and what’s challenging you the most with this corrective exercise.

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