Ugh, calf tightness is a pain. I have not had a lot of luck with mine (both calves are tight but no cramping except occasionally the sole of my foot). I have had about 17 calf massages in the last 4 months along with daily stretching, hot packs, etc...
Partway into my massage sessions last fall, one ankle started inverting (rolling) all of the time and I had to wear a brace for a few weeks. Not sure yet if it was caused by the tightness making other muscles weak or not though. My new neuro thinks I have a lumbar spine radiculopathy.
I use a rolling pin too to smooth out the fascia a bit but find it more than a little painful and my quads are weak these days so lifting my leg up to stretch the muscle while using the rolling pin is just too complicated. :)
Even my measly 30 minute workout has 3 separate breaks dedicated just to calf stretching and I still have the tightness. I missed a massage last week (they are usually weekly) and yesterday's massage was painful and I am still sore today to the point my muscles are weak and my daily workout was only half what it should have been.
My physiatrist was very clear when I saw her in November and she said to stretch those muscles. Her tone was one she rarely uses and I got the distinct impression that it could be a major issue if I couldn't keep it under control.
You should touch base with your doc because cramping is likely to be caused by spasticity and would need to be treated accordingly. I have the brisk reflexes and the increased tone and the tightness has been ongoing since last summer.
The easiest stretch I have is to sit/stand and put the bottom of my toes against the wall/my desk so that the back of my heel is almost touching the floor. Then lean forward (as much as you can tolerate) 15-30 seconds. Repeat at least 6 times a day.
Good luck and keep us posted,
This does sound like spasticity, which is generally quite treatable. There are several meds on the market for this. Talk to your neuro.
Well, interestingly enough, I took some Gabapentin last night because my arm/hand were really flared up & after 2 sleepless nights, I needed some rest! When I woke this morning, my foot/ankle/calf were much better. The calf is still screaming with stairs, but general walking around isn't making me cringe.
Perhaps a coincidence, but an interesting observation anyway. I'm still stretching, Corrie!
Glad something could help! I was on 20 mg of Baclofen once a day when my tightness started. Not on it anymore but obviously the dose didn't touch it.
Interestingly, I had a massage appointment yesterday with my regular RMT (lately I have been going to students weekly because of a free clinic at a local massage therapy school).
I needed to pay for a "pro" to check out the calves because they have had over 24 treatments since Oct with little relief.
My RMT says that while the stretching is good it only works for the muscle and apparently my fascia is now a mess and it is not helped by stretching (or a muscle relaxant). She wants me to do foam rolling now (which I gotta say isn't easily done at the gym unless I bring my own and cart it around from machine to machine).
Not sure yet how to do this yet but wanted to share, in case the stretching only works so far for you as well.
Oh no!!! Be gentle with that tennis ball -- I have used it before for various knotted up muscles and sciatic nerve pain. It is a little tough to take. I am so sorry you are dealing with so much pain! So you think any of your workouts have aggravated these areas?
Have you tried cat and cow back stretches? I have had good success with these in the past for sciatic nerve/lower back pain. And it is waaaay more gentle than the tennis ball!
I think you deserve a nice, relaxing mani/pedi for all you've been going through. ((Hugs))
This pinched nerve my new neuro is calling "radiculopathy" started last fall. My ankle kept rolling on that side and my plantar flexors and evertors were both quite weak so I was prescribed an ankle brace for a couple of weeks and it sorted itself out.
Fast forward to my new neuro who did not think it was spastic inversion but rather an S1 radiculopathy in my lower back. If he hadn't used a safety pin to check my sensation I don't know if anyone would have made the connection. I literally have no feeling the outside of my foot or calf.
My tennis ball is never far thanks to my old pinched nerve around my shoulder blade. That was over a year ago and I still need the tennis ball a few times a week for that. Thankfully when I use it on my lower back it should only be excruciating for a few days (I hope).
Thanks for the stretches!!