Muscles merge into tendons, and tendons attach to moveable bones. The system is beautifully designed, until there is a shortening of the muscle from a spasm or contraction. Repetitive strain injuries cause the shortened muscle to pull on the tendon, pulling it away from the bone and causing tendonitis. This is most clearly demonstrated in Achilles tendonitis, but may occur anywhere in the body.
The two muscles of the calf, “gastroc” (short for gastrocneimus) and soleus both merge into the Achilles tendon (see how they fit together). The tendon then inserts into the back of the heel. When the muscle contracts it pulls the heel up off the ground, allowing you to stand on your toes. The calf muscles must contract in order for you to push off with your toes as you take a step.
When either, or both, of these muscles are shortened by spasms, they continue pulling on the bone even when your foot is flat on the floor. You are straining the tendon, causing it to overstretch and become inflamed at the insertion, or even to tear from the bone. The pain becomes so severe that unless the two muscles are stretched you will not be able to walk without pain.
Frequently a person is given heel lifts to try to “bring the ground up to the heel”, however, it is more logical to release the spasms, stretch both muscles, and “bring your heel down to the floor”. Many people know how to do one of the calf stretches – the one that stretches the gastroc. However, most people don’t know how to stretch the soleus, as a result the calf is never fully stretched, and the painful cycle returns.
It is absolutely amazing! I had frozen shoulder for 20 years, low back pain for 50 years, and pain in my arch that was remnant of a sprained ankle I twisted in 1967. I had gone to every type of doctor and therapist imaginable and finally gave up, feeling that I needed to live with the pain forever. It is incredible, I’ve been doing the treatments that Julie teaches in the book, and consulting with her directly, and I can now move my arm normally and stand up straight! When Julie told me that the muscles of my leg were causing my long standing foot pain, I was surprised, but she was right. The pain is now gone, for the first time in almost 40 years! This is a book that is a MUST for anyone in pain!“