The best calf stretcher should be both effective and simple to use. Vive’s foot rocker fulfills both of these requirements. The device requires no assembly and is easy and safe to use. Plus, it comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee. Keep reading to learn more about the full range of calf stretchers and find the best option for you.
Tight calf muscles can cause Achilles tendon tears, plantar fasciitis, sprains, and other conditions. Luckily, stretching your calves with a calf stretcher can help. Usually made from plastic or wood, calf stretches are both highly practical and portable. Keep reading to learn more about the best calf stretchers on the market, and give your calves the TLC they deserve.
Our Top Picks
The Eight Best Calf Stretchers
Best Choice: Foot Rocker by Vive
Designed to target lower leg muscles and tendons, this calf stretcher features a raised heel plate lock to keep the foot securely in place, as well as a mid-foot gap for ankle strengthening. The non-slip rubber grips ensure that the device stays in place during use. Plus, it comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
- Non-slip grips
- Heel plate lock
- Mid-foot gap
- Targets the lower leg
- 60-day money back guarantee
- Fits most foot sizes
- Ergonomically designed
- Can be used to strengthen the ankles
- Increases flexibility
- Can be unstable
- Not suitable for very large feet
Top Performance: Incline Board and Calf Stretcher by StrongTek
Recommended by physical therapists, this wooden incline board is both stable and suitable for all ages. It has five angle positions to vary the intensity and comes with non-slip safety treads. Made from Lauan hardwood plywood, it is durable and comes with a side handle for easy portability.
- Made from hardwood plywood
- 5 angle positions
- Non-slip treads
- Side handle
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Recommended by physical therapists
- Portable and durable
- Supports up to 350 lbs
- More expensive than most other foot stretchers
- The non-slip strips can come off
Can’t Count Out: Optimal Foot Rocker by North American Health
This one-size-fits-most foot rocker gently stretches the foot to increase flexibility, improve blood circulation, and alleviate discomfort. Made from plastic, it was developed by sports professionals so you can rest assured that you are getting a device that will stand the test of time. Take it anywhere, with a lightweight and portable design.
- Made from plastic
- Increases flexibility
- Developed by sports professionals
- Lightweight and portable
- Gentle on the feet
- Stretches the foot
- Simple and effective
- Increases blood flow
- Too small to fit large feet
- Not as comfortable as some other foot stretchers
The Other Calf Stretchers We Reviewed
Original Calf Stretcher by ProStretch
Made in the USA, this foot rocker features rubber strips along the bottom for additional stability during use. It is sturdy, lightweight, and highly portable so you can take it with you on trips or to the office. While this product is backed by a one year warranty, it does not come with a return policy.Buy on Amazon
Foot and Leg Stretcher by OPTP
Designed to help treat plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and heel spurs, this calf stretcher is made from comfortable polylaminate and webbing. Plus it cradles the foot and comes with strap loops for a customized stretch. On the downside, this calf stretcher requires some level of upper body strength to use.Buy on Amazon
Portable Slant Board by StrongTek
A lightweight alternative to wooden incline boards, this adjustable plastic calf stretcher is portable enough for impromptu stretching sessions on the go. It comes with a textured surface and rubber lips to keep your foot securely in place.
Plus, it is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. Unfortunately, this calf stretcher is not as durable as its wooden counterparts.Buy on Amazon
Adjustable Calf Stretcher by ProStretch
This US-made foot rocker comes with a removable toe lift and an adjustable heel rest to let you deepen your stretch as you become more flexible. Suitable for large and small feet, it can support up to 300 pounds in body weight. This product comes with a one year warranty. Unfortunately, some reviewers have reported that the toe lift and heel rest fall out during use.Buy on Amazon
Professional Wooden Incline Board by Rolling With It
Ideal for stretching tight calves and hamstrings, this incline board is fully foldable for easy portability. It is made from sturdy plywood with a birch wood veneer and comes with a non-skid surface to keep it securely in place during use.
It also features four angle options and a quick-adjust locking system. Plus, it comes with a handy travel bag. On the downside, this product is more expensive than most other calf stretchers.Buy on Amazon
What Causes Tight Calf Muscles
The two calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) are used every time you walk. When these muscles become too tight, you may experience pain in the back of your lower leg. Here are the most common causes of tight calf muscles.
Calf discomfort can be caused by muscle strain. This, in turn, is usually caused by strenuous workouts or new exercise regimens that involves activities such as running, biking, or swimming. While muscle strain is characterized by pain and limited range of motion, overuse can also cause muscle cramps.
The Achilles tendon connect the calf muscles to the heels. Achilles tendonitis is caused by overuse of the Achilles tendon. The symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include calf pain, inflammation, and limited movement when flexing the feet.
Sciatica is caused by an irritation of the sciatic nerve, which runs down the legs from the lower back. The sciatic nerve controls the lower leg and the back of the knees. The most common symptoms of sciatica include pain in the lower back that stretches down to the calves.
Often a side effect of diabetes, peripheral neuropathy causes nerve damage in the legs, feet, arms, and hands. Some of the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include sharp pain or numbness, muscle cramps or weakness, and even loss of balance.
Calf Muscle Exercises
Whether due to overextension or sedentary lifestyle, tight calf muscles can affect your mobility and increase the risk of conditions such as Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. Luckily, calf exercises can loosen your muscles. Here is a list of simple stretching exercises to help you regain your flexibility.
Calf Stretch With a Resistance Band
Sit on the floor with your back straight and your legs extended in front of you. Loop a resistance band—you can also use a yoga strap or a rolled up towel—around one foot. Holding both sides of the band, pull your toes toward your shin. Repeat this move on the other side.
Stand with the balls of your feet on a step or the edge of a treadmill, keeping your heels in the air. Drop one heel while bending your other leg. Keep it is this position for a few seconds or pedal it up and down a few times. Repeat this exercise on the other side.
Lunging Calf Stretch
This exercise requires no equipment, so it can be easily done anywhere. Stand beside a wall or, if you are away from a wall, place your hands on your hips for balance. Place your right or left hand on the wall for support and step back with one foot, bending your front leg. Press your back heel down into the floor until you feel a stretch. Repeat on the other side.
Stand with your feet a hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell, or a full water bottle, in each hand. Engage your core and keep your shoulders down. Lift your heels and walk forward on your toes. This exercise is not only great for stretching the calf muscles, but it can do wonders for your balance.
Weighing All the Factors
Taking everything into account, Vive’s foot rocker is the perfect choice for stretching tight calf muscles. Featuring a raised heel platform and non-slip rubber grips, this calf stretcher is not only stable but also keeps the foot securely in place during workouts. StrongTek’s incline board and calf stretcher and North American Health’s optimal foot rocker are also great choices for loosening tight calf muscles.