For many people, joint pain and muscle stiffness are a daily nuisance. Joints in the hands, wrists and feet get stiff and sometimes painful to move. Sometimes it’s hard to get up out of a chair or button a shirt. Or you might have a nagging lower back ache, or that shoulder that just won’t relax. The good news is that relief may come from something you may have never considered–massage.
Gastrocnemius translates to “stomach of leg”. It’s that bulge in your calf located in the back part of your lower leg. It runs from just above your knee to your heel crossing two joints (knee and ankle), ending in the calcaneal tendon (Achilles Tendon).
The technical function of the “gastroc”, along with it’s partner calf muscle the soleus, is plantar flexion–movement of the foot that flexes foot or toes downward the sole) and flexing the leg at the knee joint.
Because we use the gastroc muscle every time we walk, run, stand or jump, it’s working all the time. It’s also prone to tears, strains and inflammation. And, of course, muscle spasms commonly known as “cramps”.
Many factors can cause a cramp. Dehydration, overuse, poor conditioning, muscle fatigue, low levels of potassium, sodium and carbs to name a few.