Anyone who has made the transition into minimalist footwear is familiar with what we at Technically Running like to refer to as the “calf-ocalypse“. It is the sometimes intense soreness that occurs after a run during the earliest weeks of the transition period, when the tendons and muscles in the calves and ankles are just beginning to stretch out and strengthen to accommodate a new midfoot strike. Many people have asked, “What did you do to deal with the pain?”. Recently, the TR Crew’s answer, without falter, is “Stick it!”
“The Stick” is referred to by its maker, Intracell, as “A Toothbrush for Muscles”. Its purpose is to “roll knots out of muscles, providing myofascial release, and trigger point therapy”. At a very basic level, “The Stick” is nothing but a flexible plastic dowel rod with large beads wedged between two rubberized handles. Truth be told, it is something that we laughed at when we originally laid eyes on it at our local running store. Its simplistic design, and price tag of $35 (for the mid-size model), made us think that we could just as easily make one ourselves. That being said, the cost of the parts alone would likely run you very close to its full price, especially because a specialized plastic is used for the central rod, so we swallowed our pride and purchased one. Only after we bought it did we realize that we should have made this decision much earlier in our transition period, as “The Stick” probably would’ve eliminated or helped to lessen much of the soreness we experienced!
Simplicity (and our initial dismissal) aside, it is the best tool we have found for calming the terrible pains of “calf-ocalypse“. The best part about it is that you can stick it in a lot of places! It can be used to relieve discomfort of the calves, thighs, butt, back, neck, arms, and shoulders. Its multi-purpose use has been especially helpful for Meagan, the other half of the TR Crew, because she sometimes suffers from shoulder pain due to an old overuse injury. “The Stick” has proven to be particularly handy for soothing any muscle pain she is experiencing.
“The Stick” is available in several different versions, each varying in size, firmness, color, and price (ranging from $23 to $53). We went with “The Sprinter”, which is in between the travel and full size sticks and is the firmest of it’s size. According to their site, it is “the most versatile of all of the short sticks.” Every stick comes with a travel case, and an instruction manual, which explains the benefits of using “The Stick” and has tips and examples of where and how to use it. You can pick one up at TheStick.com, Amazon, or you may find it at a local running shop, like we did.