July 14, 2024
Home » Muscle Cramps In The Calves? Might Be Trigger Point Pain


Various muscles help support the lower legs in the body and allow movement to the host. The lower extremities include the hips, pelvis, thighs, legs, knees, and feet. At the same time, the various muscles help provide support and stability to the upper body’s weight and incorporate mobility and movement for the entire body to go from one location to another. The legs have two sections connected with the knees; the upper portion has the hips and thigh muscles, while the lower legs have the calve muscles, shin muscles, and the Achilles tendon. The calve muscles have two groups of muscles, and when the calve intense exercises, or normal factors have overused muscles may potentially lead to muscle cramps associated with trigger points. Today’s article examines one of the calve muscles known as the gastrocnemius, how the calves are affected by trigger points and corrective actions to prevent muscle cramps in the calves. We refer patients to certified providers that incorporate various techniques in the lower body extremities, like lower leg and calve pain therapies correlating to trigger points, to aid many people dealing with pain symptoms along the gastrocnemius muscles, causing muscle cramps. We encourage and appreciate each patient by referring them to associated medical providers based on their diagnosis when it is appropriate. We understand that education is an excellent way when asking our providers intricated questions at the patient’s request and understanding. Dr. Alex Jimenez, D.C., only utilizes this information as an educational service. Disclaimer

What Are The Gastrocnemius Muscles?


Have you been dealing with walking from one place to another? Do your calves feel hard or tense with the slightest touch or movement? Or are you feeling excruciating pain in your calves that make it hard to move? These pain-like symptoms are indicators of trigger points associated with the calves affecting the gastrocnemius muscles. The calves are mostly referred to as the posterior portion of the lower legs responsible for the foot and ankle plantarflexion while also engaging in activities like running or jumping. The two muscles that make up the calves are the gastrocnemius and the soleus. The gastrocnemius is a complex, superficial muscle fundamental to good posture or walking. This muscle has a casual relationship with the lower body as it affects hip movement and the lumbar area of the spine. The gastrocnemius provides a round shape for the calves to form and narrows down to the ankles, where it forms a tendon.


How Are The Calves Affected By Trigger Point Pain?


Since the gastrocnemius provides the round shape to form the calves when the muscles have become overused or injured in a sports activity, it can cause the individual to have limited mobility. Studies reveal that a tear in the gastrocnemius muscles can implicate lower leg trauma and affect the muscle function to plantar flex the foot at the ankle joint and reduce flexion on the leg to the leg knee joint. When it comes to the development of trigger points along the gastrocnemius muscles that are affecting the calves, according to “Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction,” written by Dr. Janet Travell, M.D., the book states that latent trigger points along the gastrocnemius may cause individuals to complain about calf cramps on the legs, however, when the trigger points are active, the individual is aware of the calf pain and would complain about experiencing pain in the back of their knees. The book also mentioned that trigger points associated with the gastrocnemius muscle could be mistaken for other conditions like plantar foot pain or radiculopathy in the sacroiliac joints. When trigger points affect the calf muscles, it can lead to mobility issues and causes people to be unstable when walking. 


Trigger Point Of The Week: Gastrocnemius Muscle- Video

Have you been dealing with calf pain when walking for a short distance? Do your calf muscles ache or tense up when you put slight pressure when stepping down? Or do you feel that your calf muscles are hard when resting? Many of these issues affecting the calves are associated with trigger points affecting the gastrocnemius muscles. The gastrocnemius muscle is one of the muscles that make up the calves in the lower legs. This complex, superficial muscle provides a round shape to the calves and can become overused in various activities that can cause a person to have limited mobility. When the gastrocnemius muscle is overused, it can develop tiny nodules in the muscle fibers known as trigger points that mimic other conditions affecting leg mobility. The video above shows where this complex muscle is in the calves and where the trigger points are located in the muscle fibers. Trigger points along the affected muscle can cause referred pain while mimicking other conditions that can often confuse people about what they are feeling. All is not lost, however, as trigger points are treatable and can be managed through various treatments.

Corrective Actions To Prevent Muscle Cramps On The Calves


When the calf muscles like the gastrocnemius are causing symptoms of pain and muscle cramps due to trigger points, there are various treatments and corrective actions that can prevent muscle cramps from causing more issues in the legs and even help manage trigger points from re-forming in the muscle fibers. Some corrective actions that can help improve calve function are gently flexing the foot at the ankle joint to allow the calf muscles to tract and retract to reduce swelling and pain. Other correction actions that people should incorporate to prevent muscle cramping in the calves when they are sitting is to gently rock in a chair to reduce prolonged immobility to the calves and increase blood flow. Studies reveal that dry needling and other various treatments can help reduce muscle stiffness in the gastrocnemius and improve muscle strength in the calves.



The calves are part of the legs that allow plantarflexion at the ankle joint. Known as the gastrocnemius muscle, it makes up the calves’ round shape. The gastrocnemius muscle is complex and superficial as it forms a rounded shape at the calves and narrows down at the ankles. However, when the muscle has been through various activities and is constantly overstretched, it can affect a person’s walking mobility and develop tiny nodules known as trigger points. Trigger points in the gastrocnemius muscle can cause referred pain in the calve muscles and mimic conditions like plantar foot pain to the feet. Fortunately, various treatments and corrective actions can prevent referred pain from re-occurring in the calves and bring mobility back to the legs so a person can continue to their destination.



Albin, S R, et al. “The Effect of Dry Needling on Gastrocnemius Muscle Stiffness and Strength in Participants with Latent Trigger Points.” Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology : Official Journal of the International Society of Electrophysiological Kinesiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 9 Oct. 2020, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33075711/.

Binstead, Justin T, et al. “Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Calf.” In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL), StatPearls Publishing, 29 May 2022, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459362/.

Bordoni, Bruno, and Matthew Varacallo. “Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Gastrocnemius Muscle.” In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL), StatPearls Publishing, 26 Apr. 2022, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532946/.

Nsitem, Virginia. “Diagnosis and Rehabilitation of Gastrocnemius Muscle Tear: A Case Report.” The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3845475/.

Travell, J. G., et al. Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual: Vol. 2:the Lower Extremities. Williams & Wilkins, 1999.


General Disclaimer

Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Muscle Cramps In The Calves? Might Be Trigger Point Pain" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.


Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

Licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN*) in Florida
Florida License RN License # RN9617241 (Control No. 3558029)
Compact Status: Multi-State License: Authorized to Practice in 40 States*
Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card

Dr. Alex Jimenez

Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal Mobility, Posture Control, Deep Health Instruction, Integrative & Functional Medicine, Functional Fitness, Chronic Degenerative Disorder Treatment Protocols, and Structural Conditioning. We also integrate Wellness Nutrition, Wellness Detoxification Protocols, and Functional Medicine for chronic musculoskeletal disorders. In addition, we use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans," Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSH Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems.
Ultimately, I am here to serve my patients and community as a Chiropractor, passionately restoring functional life and facilitating living through increased mobility.

Purpose & Passions:
I am a Doctor of Chiropractic specializing in progressive, cutting-edge therapies and functional rehabilitation procedures focused on clinical physiology, total health, functional strength training, functional medicine, and complete conditioning. In addition, we focus on restoring normal body functions after neck, back, spinal and soft tissue injuries.

We use Specialized Chiropractic Protocols, Wellness Programs, Functional & Integrative Nutrition, Agility & Mobility Fitness Training, and Cross-Fit Rehabilitation Systems for all ages.

As an extension to dynamic rehabilitation, we offer our patients, disabled veterans, athletes, young and elder a diverse portfolio of strength equipment, high-performance exercises, and advanced agility treatment options. In addition, we have teamed up with the cities premier doctors, therapists, and trainers to provide high-level competitive athletes the options to push themselves to their highest abilities within our facilities.

We've been blessed to use our methods with thousands of El Pasoans over the last 3 decades allowing us to restore our patients' health and fitness while implementing researched non-surgical methods and functional wellness programs.

Our programs are natural and use the body's ability to achieve specific measured goals, rather than introducing harmful chemicals, controversial hormone replacement, unwanted surgeries, or addictive drugs. As a result, please live a functional life that is fulfilled with more energy, a positive attitude, better sleep, and less pain. Our goal is to ultimately empower our patients to maintain the healthiest way of living.

With a bit of work, we can achieve optimal health together, regardless of age, ability, or disability.

View all posts
Certified Functional Medicine Doctor El Paso