HomeHealth articlesstretching exercisesWhat Are the Stretching Techniques for the Soleus Muscle in Physiotherapy?

Stretching Techniques for the Soleus Muscle in Physiotherapy

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Soleus muscles play a key role in ankle movement. The article below briefly details stretching techniques that help in their strains.

Medically reviewed by

Mohammed Wajid

Published At September 5, 2023
Reviewed AtSeptember 5, 2023


The soleus muscle is a strong, large muscle that may be found in the calf area of the leg. It is one of the muscles that move the ankle and is very important for walking and keeping a straight posture. The soleus muscle constitutes the calf muscle group along with the gastrocnemius muscle. The soleus muscle's main job is plantarflexion, or helping to flex the foot downward. Walking, running, jumping, and tiptoeing all require this movement. In contrast to the gastrocnemius, the soleus is more commonly used for tasks that call for endurance than explosive strength.

What Are the Common Injuries With Soleus Muscles?

The soleus muscle is particularly prone to harm during activities that require the calf muscles to be used repeatedly or forcefully. The following are a few frequent soleus muscle injuries:

  • Soleus Strain: A strain is a term for when muscle fibers are torn or overextended. Athletes frequently get soleus strains, especially runners and jumpers. Rapid acceleration or deceleration, poor stretching, or overuse without enough rest can all lead to these ailments.

  • Tendonitis: The tendon inflammation, the fibrous tissue that connects muscles to bones, is referred to as tendonitis. This can happen in the soleus muscle's Achilles tendon, which is where it is connected to the heel bone. Achilles tendinitis can develop as a result of overuse or repetitive motions.

  • Compartment Syndrome: Excessive swelling or bleeding within the calf muscle compartment may occasionally cause increased pressure, which is known as compartment syndrome. When blood vessels and nerves are compressed, it can result in discomfort, numbness, and, in extreme situations, tissue damage.

  • Stress Fractures: Although they more frequently affect the bones, stress, fractures can also affect the lower leg bones. Repetitive stress on the soleus and other calf muscles can cause these fractures.

  • Calf Cramps: The soleus muscle in the calf experiences abrupt, involuntary contractions. They may be brought on by electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, muscle weariness, or insufficient pre-exercise warm-up.

  • Contusions: Direct impact or stress to the calf region can result in contusions, also known as bruises, in the soleus muscle.

  • Tendon Tears: The soleus tendon may partially or totally rupture in extreme strain or tendonitis situations, resulting in excruciating pain and reduced function.

What Are the Stretching Techniques for the Soleus Muscle in Physiotherapy?

A crucial component of physical treatment, especially for those with tight or hyperactive calf muscles, is soleus muscle stretching. Here are some efficient stretching methods for the soleus muscle that are frequently applied in physiotherapy:

  • Stretching the Gastrocnemius-soleus (Wall Stretch): Put both of the hands at shoulder height against the wall as stand facing it. Knee bowed, step forward with one foot. Keep the second leg straight and the heel level on the ground as they extend it backward. Bend the front knee while maintaining a straight rear leg by leaning forward. The calf of the back leg should stretch out. After holding the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, switch legs.

  • Raising Calf with Eccentric Focus: With both feet on the balls, stand on the edge of a step or other stable elevated surface. Lift the heels as high as can by standing up on the toes. Now shift the weight on one foot and gradually bring the heel of the other foot down to the step level. The calf of the lowered leg will feel stretched. After a brief period of holding the stretch, switch legs. This activity should be repeated multiple times.

  • Bent Knee and Soleus Stretch: With both legs extended straight in front of an individual, sit on the ground or a mat. The foot should be level on the ground with one knee bent. Flex the foot of the other leg while keeping it straight (bring the toes towards the body). Reaching towards the foot of the straight leg while bending gently forward. The lower calf of the straight leg should feel stretched. After holding the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, switch legs.

  • Soleus Stretch While Sitting: Sit on a bench or chair with a one-foot level on the ground. Overlap the knee of the leg that is lying with the opposing ankle. To feel a stretch in the calf of the crossed leg, gently press down on the crossed knee. After holding the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, switch legs.

  • Squat Position Against the Wall: Lay back against the wall completely. Completely prostrate oneself. Without allowing the heels to lift off the ground, move the heels as close to the wall as one can. In order to put extra pressure on the tops of the feet, lean forward with the entire body. For at least 30 seconds, hold.

  • Eccentric Concentrations: Take a seat on a chair with the knees 90 degrees bent. Put the heels off the edge of a step and the forefoot on top of it. Suspend a large weight over the knee. Till one experiences a significant calf muscle stretch, gradually lower the heels. Returning to the neutral position, raise the heels. Make ten repetitions.

  • Toe Tap: Even though it is not strictly a stretch, doing this will extend the Soleus muscle and strengthen it. This will enable this muscle to become more flexible. Holding onto a stationary object will help to stand straight. Throughout this exercise, keep the knee of the leg that is on the ground in line with the toes. Tap the toe as far forward as they can with the reach. Maintain the heel on the ground. Go back to the beginning place. 20 repetitions are needed.

  • Lying Down Soleus Stretch: This stretch is performed by lying on the ground. The knee should bend towards the chest. Hold onto the forefoot's sole. Draw the foot firmly in the direction. For at least 30 seconds, hold.


Football players need strong calf muscles, especially the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, although the advantages of soleus stretching are rarely discussed. In comparison to the no-stretching control, both regular and soleus stretching conditions result in better ankle range of motion, maximum plantarflexion strength, dynamic balance, and speed performances. The normal stretching program could be improved by including soleus exercises to increase ankle flexibility, maximum plantarflexion strength, and curved running speed. As tolerated, gradually increase the stretch's vigor, but never to the point of discomfort. Use these stretches frequently as part of the physiotherapy regimen to increase flexibility and lessen soleus muscle strain. Consult a physiotherapist if an individual has any prior injuries or medical issues.

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Mohammed Wajid
Mohammed Wajid



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