The soleus is a muscle of your calf. If it is tense or carries trigger points, it can cause various ailments and pains.
With a self-massage you can relieve tensions and trigger points and thus free yourself from pain triggered by this muscle.
On this page you will find exercises and instructions for such a self-massage.
Furthermore, I will explain which specific problems the muscle can cause, where it is located, which functions it performs, why it develops problems, and how you locate it.
Tensions and trigger points in the soleus can lead to pain in the calf, heel, sacroiliac joint and jaw.
Note that tension usually leads to local pain and sensitivity of pressure.
Trigger points, on the other hand, can refer pain to distant regions of the body. The pain zones of individual trigger points of the soleus are shown below.
This trigger point arises very rarely and can trigger pain at the sacroiliac joint and in the temporomandibular joint (not shown).
It’s located at the lower lateral portion of the soleus, just before it “merges” into the Achilles tendon.
This trigger point is located at the uppermost part of the muscle. It often triggers pain in the middle of the calf, which may extend into the hollow of the knee.
This is why it contributes to the following pains:
The trigger point X3 sits in the lowest part of the muscle, in the lateral area directly next to and above the Achilles tendon.
If it is active, it can trigger pain in the area of the Achilles tendon and of the heel. It thus contributes to the following ailments:
The pain described above (especially calf and heel pain) usually arises during exercise, namely during walking and standing. Overall walking uphill or downhill and climbing stairs often causes great problems.
The pain can be so severe that it is unbearable to stand and put any weight on your heels.
Trigger points in the soleus often lead to limited mobility in the ankle. This means that affected persons are no longer able to bend it (move toes towards shin).
Nevertheless, to sink down on one‘s knees requires exactly this mobility, otherwise compensation movements would occur.
Both can lead to more complaints.
Flexion at the knees with your heels up:
Many people push their knee joints far forward, which puts a heavy load on them. Especially if you don’t have a lot of musculature and are not able to control the movement properly.
Bending over with a round back:
When you bend over with a round back, your back muscles are heavily strained. At the same time, they cannot work properly, because they are in an extended position due to the round back.
This often overloads this muscle group, especially if you are not well trained.
The soleus contributes to the venous return (more about this see chapter 3. ). Trigger points in the superior part of the muscle can impair this function and subsequently lead to edema in the area of the ankle joint and calf.
The soleus extends down from both bones of the lower leg (tibia & fibula) its entire length, merges into the Achilles tendon and attaches onto the posterior surface of the heel.
This muscle has the following functions:
You perform a plantar flexion when you stand on your toes.
When walking and running, the soleus supports the toes when pushing off the ground. In addition, it controls and stabilizes the ankle joint during the stance phase by contracting eccentrically (tensioning while extending/stretching the muscle).
During supination, you move the inner edge of the foot upwards.
This function is very important when walking during the standing phase or when standing on one leg. Forces arise from the side which can push the ankle joint into a „valgum-position”. Supination prevents this and stabilizes the ankle joint.
Most people have never heard of this function.
Blood from the veins of the legs must be transported to the heart against gravity, which is why active pumping is necessary. This pumping work is largely done by muscles.
The blood of the veins from the calves is pumped by the soleus towards the heart. If there are trigger points in the muscle, this function can be impaired.
The blood then sinks, and liquids can accumulate in the area of the calf and ankle joint. This can lead to pain due to the increased pressure.
If the vein pump is not used for longer periods of time, fainting might occur, for example in young soldiers who must stand still and are not used to tense their calves again and again while standing in order to maintain blood flow.
Trigger points in the soleus are often, but not exclusively, activated by:
In the case of active overloads, the function of the muscle is “overused”.
Especially if you are not used to put stress on it, or if your muscles do not have enough time to adapt to the demands and if you don’t perform any balancing activities (stretching & massaging), trigger points develop.
If the muscle is exposed to cold for longer periods of time, especially after or before exercise, trigger points can get activated.
External forces can also lead to an activation of trigger points.
Satellite trigger points can arise in a muscle (here in the soleus) due to trigger points in other muscles.
In this case, it is possible that trigger points in the gluteus minimus lead to trigger points in the soleus.
Since the upper part of the muscle is covered by the gastrocnemius, you can only feel it in the lower third of the calf. And even there only along an area of about a few inches, before it merges with the Achilles tendon.
There are many massage options for this muscle. You can massage it with your knee, thumb, foam roller, massage ball or the Body Back Buddy.
As a massage technique, you can use all the techniques presented on this website, i.e. the …
Which massage device you choose, depends on the required intensity and under what circumstances you want to massage yourself.
On this page, I show you the massage with a foam roller. This is, for a beginning, sufficient for most of you.