Calf raises directly target your lower legs. You can perform this exercise with or without weights. Some people develop sore feet during and after calf raises. If you do, stop the exercise until you have assessed and treated the problem. A few different causes are possible. See your doctor if you have questions.
About Calf Raises
Calf raises are done sitting or standing by rising onto the balls of your feet. This forces your lower legs to engage, strengthening their muscles. A machine typically aids in sitting calf raises, applying weight to the knees to increase resistance to the muscles. You can do standing calf raises with your legs straight or bent, increasing the intensity by holding weights. Some varieties of standing calf raises are performed with the toes positioned on an elevated surface so the range of motion is wider.
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Possible Causes of Sore Feet
Performing calf raises with improper form can cause pain in areas the exercise is not intended to work, such as your feet. If you have not learned proper form, do so before attempting the exercise again. Aside from improper form, weak feet or a condition of the foot are likely causes. If the muscles and tendons of your feet are not used to exertion, they might strengthen along with the muscles of your lower leg. In this case, the soreness should feel like the burning sensation from a tough workout during the calf raises and a minor discomfort afterward. If you have a condition in your feet such as plantar fasciitis, you might experience pain and soreness throughout the exercise. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the bottom of your feet. Only a physician can definitively determine the reason your feet become sore from calf raises. Do not attempt to self-treat or self-assess the cause of your pain.
Caring for Sore Feet
Unless otherwise instructed by a physician, stop doing calf raises if you experience soreness or pain. Allow your feet to rest; do not exert yourself with strenuous activities such as running or skipping rope. If the soreness persists after the workout, try soaking your feet in cold or hot water. The direct cause of the pain typically determines which temperature extreme feels best. Massage and keeping your feet elevated can alleviate some of the pain as well. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can provide temporary relief. If the pain persists more than three days, see your doctor to ensure you have not sustained injury.
Alternatives to Calf Raises
If you are cleared by a physician to continue working out, other exercises help strengthen your lower legs. Sitting on a chair and performing calf raises with no added weight can gently strengthen your muscles. In addition, using a leg press machine and pushing the plate away only with your feet provides lower leg strengthening with tension on different areas of your legs and feet. Activities such as swimming, walking and jogging will strengthen your lower legs as well as the rest of your body.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.