Which calf stretch devices are best?

Your calf muscles need to be loose enough for your ankles to perform a full range of motion, and taking care of your calves should be a top priority if you are an athlete. Calf stretch devices can give you the most impressive results if you need to regularly stretch out your calf muscles. The StrongTek Professional Slant Board is a superb device recommended for both injury prevention and recovery.

What to know before you buy a calf stretch device

Type of calf stretch device

There are four different kinds of calf stretch devices.

  • Foam rollers are cylindrical pieces of foam, like pool noodles, that you put on the floor and rest your outstretched legs over. You’ll feel a kneading of your muscles as you roll back and forth. These rollers are simple to use, lightweight and inexpensive, but they don’t offer a high level of intensity.
  • Calf stretcher straps are wrapped around the foot, or you slip the foot into the loop of the strap. Gently pull the straps to move your toes toward your shin. These straps are reasonably priced and portable, but they can be slightly abrasive on the skin.
  • Incline boards are small boards made of wood, but inexpensive models use foam or plastic. Standing on the incline forces your toes up and makes a sharp angle at your ankle to stretch out the calf muscles. They are simple to use but heavier than other kinds of devices.
  • Rockers look like curved pedals, and they’re usually made of durable plastic or wood. You must support yourself with a chair or wall when using one because they’re not very stable, and you can injure yourself while rocking deeply into a stretch. They are reasonably priced and usually more effective than other calf stretch devices.

How to use

It’s crucial to make sure you’re using the calf stretch device properly to get the most out of it. Before starting a new calf stretching routine, consult with your physical therapist or doctor to make sure it’s the right approach for you. 

Perform your stretches every day to see the best results, and dress comfortably for your stretching sessions. Wear shoes that won’t slide or slip around since a sudden jolt could damage your muscles. Slide gradually into the stretch until you feel tension rather than pain. If you feel any pain, stop using the device right away and speak to your physical therapist or doctor.

Size

Most calf stretch devices can fit any size of foot. The only devices that might cause an issue are straps with loops that are too small for bigger feet or rockers that are too tiny for bigger shoe sizes.

What to look for in a quality calf stretch device

Adjustable stretch

Some kinds of calf stretchers, such as foam rollers, work best for shallow stretches, while other devices, such as rockers, are meant to stretch deeply. However, some incline boards have multiple settings, allowing you to adjust the calf stretch to your specific needs.

Weight limit

Make sure the calf stretch device you’re thinking of buying is rated to handle your entire body weight. This should not be an issue for most devices, but some incline boards might not be able to support the weight of heavier individuals.

Slip resistance 

The last thing you need when you’re trying to recover from an injury is a rocker sliding across the floor after you step on it, causing you to reinjure yourself or fall. Make sure that the calf stretch device you purchase is slip resistant. Test out the device to be safe before putting your whole weight onto it.

How much you can expect to spend on a calf stretch device

Calf stretch devices range in price from about $5-$70. The most inexpensive devices go for $5-$15, while midrange devices cost about $15-$25. High-end devices vary in price from about $25-$50, and premium devices go for $50-$70.

Calf stretch device FAQ

What do your calf muscles do?

A. The calf muscle actually includes two muscles: the soleus muscle and the gastrocnemius muscle. These muscles let you stand still, jump, run or walk without falling over. They’re important for circulation since they drive blood back to the heart. You need fully functional, healthy calf muscles to live an active life.

What kinds of issues can tight calves cause?

A. Tight calf muscles can cause a number of issues since the calves are important for daily activities. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most painful and common issues. 

This medical condition can make it hard to get out of bed every morning out of fear of the sharp pain and discomfort that comes with the first step. Injured or tight calf muscles can also cause headaches, back pain, shin splints and achilles tendonitis.

How can stretching your calves benefit you?

A. Depending on your lifestyle or job, your calf muscles might contract for multiple hours at a time each day. Since your calf muscles are under such constant stress and strain, they might start to shorten if you don’t regularly and gently take them through the full range of motion. Daily calf stretching lets you live a full, pain-free and active life.

What’s the best calf stretch device to buy?

Top calf stretch device

StrongTek Professional Slant Board

StrongTek Professional Slant Board

What you need to know: This wooden slant board is secure, safe and stays in place while you stretch.

What you’ll love: Perfect for active people and athletes of all experience levels and ages, this tool is recommended by experts for both recovery and injury prevention. It is composed of premium hardwood that will last for years.

What you should consider: Because of its shape and weight, this device might be more difficult to transport than plastic and wooden rockers.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top calf stretch device for the money

ProStretch Blue Calf Stretcher

ProStretch Blue Calf Stretcher

What you need to know: With a slip-resistant bottom and a 250-pound weight limit, this rocker device helps relieve tightness and pain in your leg muscles.

What you’ll love: It is perfect for post-surgery recovery and runners, accommodates up to an adult men’s shoe size 13 and automatically holds your foot in the right position for stretching.

What you should consider: If you use this stretcher while barefoot, it will be uncomfortable. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

IdealStretch Hamstring Stretching Aid

IdealStretch Hamstring Stretching Aid

What you need to know: You stretch your calf while lying on your back with this tool, which removes the risk of back injuries or falling.

What you’ll love: This device features a lightweight steel frame with heavy-duty construction and comes in various heights. It also stretches your hamstrings and calves at the same time.

What you should consider: This tool is expensive but effective, and the handle is not designed well.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Alex Kilpatrick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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