Why Does it Hurt to Massage My Calves?

There are two main muscles in calves, gastrocnemius and soleus. Every massage has a different technique, but its objective is the same; they are meant to reduce pain and improve recovery.

Why do your calves hurt to massage? It usually means that they are over contracted and sore if it hurts. Tight calves can lead to more significant problems if the pain isn’t relieved in time.

If the two calf muscles lock up, you may experience tendonitis in the knee or ankle.

That is not all, and you may experience sensitivity in your calves due to the following reasons:

  • Release of chronic muscle tension
  • Poor massage technique
  • Damaged tissue
  • Inflammation in the calf area
  • Unusual exercise

Calf massage can be a refreshing experience if done right. Massage techniques and strokes heat the muscles relieving tightness and improving elasticity simultaneously.

A relaxing calf massage helps the body produce positive hormones like Serotonin and Dopamine.

Hence, a calf massage relieves physical pain and puts you in a good mood.

Can Massage Loosen my Calf Muscles?

Yes, a calf massage is an efficient and effective way to loosen tight muscles. There are plenty of reasons behind contracted calf muscles.

It can be your hectic work cycle, extensive workouts, or merely wearing heels for a long time period. In such cases, metabolic waste builds up, which causes muscular fatigue.

The techniques involved in a calf massage help increase blood circulation to the muscles. The circulated blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the fatigued and over-contracted muscle.

In addition, regulated blood circulation increases energy levels and decreases the built-up metabolic waste.

Calf massages significantly help loosen tight muscles, but that depends on the masseuse. A professional masseuse focuses the pressure points to relieve the knots in the muscles.

Such a calf massage regulates circulation, relaxes muscles, separates, and loosens muscle fibers to release any kind of built-up strain.

Is it Good to Massage Your Calves?

Massages are great to increase blood circulation; they also provide mental and physical relaxation. Hence, massaging your calves is beneficial as they result in healthy muscles.

Following are the benefits of a calf massage:

Improved circulation

As explained above, the obvious benefit of massaging your calves is improved blood circulation. With regulated blood circulation, your calf muscles can get rid of the metabolic waste materials quickly, preventing quick exhaustion in the future.

An improved blood flow has many benefits; one of them is the prevention of muscle deterioration. Muscles keep receiving the right amount of oxygen and nutrients that are necessary.

Simultaneously, this can prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), which is a painful condition and can also turn fatal.

Reduction in Pain

If you have experienced an injury or feel some tension in your calves, you can go for a calf massage. A gentle calf massage tends to help with the pain.

With the strokes of the massage, you can feel your muscles loosening and the tension releasing.

Getting help from an actual massage therapist can be the most relaxing experience ever. Professionals are well-aware of the pressure points that need to be focused on in each massage.

Even if someone has been facing muscle pains for extended periods, a therapist can help relieve the pain by performing a trigger-point massage.

Enhanced Flexibility

As the muscles loosen, they are able to move without restraining like habitual. Many people tend to have issues with their calf muscles tightening up when they become cramped and stiff in certain situations.

Massaging calves would help with any kind of pain you might be undergoing and help your muscles increase flexibility for upcoming years.

The temperature of the muscles increases during the massage, which leads to a rise in elasticity, adding up the stretching and relaxing of tissues which helps raise flexibility.

The increased flow of oxygen, nutrients, and healthy circulation leads to a strong and flexible calf, resulting in a wider range of movement, preventing future injury, and a better recovery rate

Reduction in Scar Tissue

It’s likely for you to experience pain, burning, and swelling in the area of injury after a tear occurs in the skin or calf muscle is wounded. Your body attempts to heal your wound by putting scar tissue down, especially if the injury is left untreated.

With no treatment, this process is performed unmethodically and in a rush, resulting in your scar tissue attaching to surrounding fascia and muscle, creating “myofascial” adhesions.

In conclusion, the muscle’s range of movements is limited, and your nerves and capillaries are affected.

A massage therapist can skillfully reduce scar tissue adhesion using different techniques by hand, which helps lessen pain and regain motion of a certain muscle that was restricted.

When isn’t Calf Massage Beneficial?

Calves don’t get much attention when it comes to massages. However, the scenario changes when they start to hurt.

Having healthy calf muscles is necessary for standing, walking, running, and other exercises like lifting. While calf massages help relieve tension in most cases, there are times when you should avoid a calf massage.

Open wound or Injury

If you have an injury involving the calf muscles or anywhere on your lower leg, you need to avoid calf massages. It is not wise to put pressure on the area as it can end up opening the wound again, hindering the recovery process.

It would be best to give the injury time to heal before you go in for a massage. This rule applies to all body parts.

Never go for a massage if you have an open wound, fresh injury, or tissue damage, as it can make the situation a lot worse than it is.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Blood clotting causes Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). One may experience inflammation in the affected area and deep shooting pains in this situation.

Since a massage helps blood circulation, it can loosen the blood clot into the bloodstream, leading to serious problems.

If you don’t have the conditions mentioned above, you are good to go for a calf massage. It would be an amazing experience.

Anyone can benefit from a calf massage, especially athletes and gym freaks who go through tough exercises on a daily basis.

Techniques used in a Calf Massage

Every massage has a different technique based on the results that are needed. The most common methods are:

  • Skin rolling
  • Hacking
  • Effleurage
  • Lymphatic drainage
  • Kneading

If you are willing to give yourself a calf massage, you must learn some of the simple techniques. Find a comfortable spot and make sure you have body oil.

Sit on the floor and start by stroking your calf muscles. Begin above your ankle and work your way up over the calf muscle.

Repeat this action till it feels warm. If you don’t experience any pain during this procedure, you can increase the amount of applied pressure.

Skin Rolling

Skin rolling is a basic technique used in most body massages. It involves slightly raising the skin to roll between the fingers and thumbs.

The two main objectives behind skin rolling are pain relief and loosening tight muscles. With repeated movements, the body’s temperature rises, resulting in the release of fascia and muscle tightness.


Hacking is another technique used by massage therapists to relax muscles. This technique involves the use of the hand’s middle part and side. The pressure and speed for this technique vary; they usually depend on the type of problem being faced or one’s personal preference.


Effleurage is another effective technique for a calf massage. It involves massaging with flat hands and fingers. Of course, the pressure applied varies depending on the desired result. The repeated strokes warm up the lower leg, improving the tissue’s elasticity.

Final Thoughts

It is quite normal to experience a little pain during a calf massage, especially when you have tight muscles or knots. However, if the pain isn’t bearable, you must consult your doctor before going in for a massage.

Now it is time to hear from you:

Did you ever go for a calf massage?

Did you have a different experience?

Please share your experience with us in the comments below.

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