Tight calf muscles may be the surprising culprit behind several discomforts like ankle, achilles, and forefoot pain, but using one of the best calf stretchers each day can really help. Whether you’re active and dealing with shin splints or someone with a desk job feeling muscle tightness, there's a calf stretcher that's just right for you.
There are a variety of calf stretcher types, which means you can find the right one for your budget, lifestyle, and stretching needs. Here’s a rundown on the benefits of different calf stretchers:
- Foam rollers: Foam rollers are a good place to start for calf stretching. Their entry point is affordable and they can be used for relieving tension in calves but are versatile enough to be used on other parts of the body. They’re typically round, though half-round foam rollers are especially helpful for stretching legs and feet. Keep in mind it’s best to work your way up to a firmer density to minimize the risk of injuries, and it may take some practice to get it right.
- Stretching straps: Calf-stretching straps are affordable, easy to use, versatile, and the most portable type of calf stretcher. Your own body weight controls the amount of tension in the stretch. You may see these referred to as "yoga straps," which is proof of their versatility — they're as equally great for stretching during yoga and pilates as they are for post-run stretches and physical therapy.
- Incline boards: Standing on an incline board can angle your feet to stretch your calves. The best ones have anti-slip surfaces and a high maximum weight capacity for safety, plus an adjustable incline for both light and deeper stretches. Wooden boards will last a long time, but those made of plastic or foam are relatively more affordable, lightweight, and some are even foldable for portability.
- Rockers: For deeper calf stretches, try a rocker. Like incline boards, you’ll step onto a rocker, but its curved bottom will require supporting yourself with a wall or chair and some practice. Be sure to choose one with an anti-slip surface for safe use. Anyone with larger feet will want to double check that the rocker can accommodate them.
With all this in mind, keep scrolling to find the best calf stretcher to bring you relief.
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