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   OZ (2015-12-14 15:02:06, Hit : 8911, Vote : 92)
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   Causes of big calves - Fat vs Muscular calves
Causes of big calves - Fat vs Muscular calves


"Are my big calves caused by fat or muscle ?"

Many patients ask me this.
To answer this question, we should know about the causes of big calves.



"What is the cause of my big calves"
The answer is simple.
"Big muscle"
Fat under skin in calf is not so big and doesn't make big calves.
That's the reason why liposuction in calf can't make noticeable difference.

"Then, what is the cause of my big calf muscle(Gastrocnemius and Soleus)?"
Both muscle and fat play roles in big muscle.
That means genetic, exercise, getting weight and getting fatty can be the causes of big muscle.

1. Congenital (Genetic)

In most of cases of big calves, genetic plays a major role.
If you find someone with big calves in your parents and siblings, your big calves are genetic.
If the cause of big calf is genetic, there isn’t much that you can do to minimize your calf muscle except calf reduction surgery

One of my patients sent me a picture of her family.
As you can see, all the members in her family had big calves.


Not only bulky calf muscle but also long calf muscle and short Achilles tendon also makes the calf look big and short.
Asians usually have long calf muscle, short Achilles tendon, and short calf.
In this patients, any exercise can't be helpful.


Partial resection of Gastrocnemius muscle can remove the lower portion of Gastrocnemius more and can make calf look straighter, longer, and slimmer.


2. Acquired

These acquired causes of big calf can be controlled a little bit.

1) Muscle gain

Any resistance exercise can make calf muscle bigger.
This includes stepping exercise, jumping exercise, climbing exercise, high resistance/ incline walking.



Low resistance exercise such as slow but long distance running, walking in flat terrain, swimming can be a powerful tool to slim down calf by making lean muscle and by losing weight and fat.



Gait also may affect calf muscle.
Walking on front feet like ballet dancer may lead to building-up of the calf muscles.
If the muscle at the front of your lower leg (tibialis anterior, which have the opposite function to calf muscles) is weak/ over-stretched, it can make calf muscle bigger by overcompensation.
Walking on heels first and strengthening of tibialis anterior can balance calf muscles.



Shortening of Achilles tendon can make muscle longer and can make calf look bigger.
Stretching of Achilles tendon, Yoga, and Pilates can lengthen Achilles tendon and thus making calf muscle shorter.


This is the easiest calf stretching exercise which can be done at anywhere.

Even if proper exercise, proper walking, and stretching can’t make calf noticeably slimmer, it can prevent too much muscle build up.

2) Fat gain

Fat is accumulated not only under skin but also inside of muscle.
Weight loss can make calf thinner, but usually, calf and thigh tend to be the last places that fat shifts from when losing weight and the first places that fat accumulates when gaining weight.
If you need to lose fat around your calf muscles, you can only do so by generalized fat loss through diet and cardio.
You cannot do exercises that will reduce the fat around the calf muscles alone.
There is no such thing as spot reduction.

A little bit of superficial fat(under skin) can be removed by liposuction, but deep fat(inside of muscle) can be removed only by muscle resection.
Liposuction on calf can make irregularity so often and disclose the outline of underlying muscle which makes it look more masculine because superficial fat in calf is very thin.
So, liposuction is not recommended in calf usually (It is only recommended by doctors who can’t reduce calf muscle).
It can be recommended only when fat thickness in calf is more than 2 cm (extremely fatty person).
In most of cases, muscle resection is the only way to remove deep fat in calf and to reduce calf.


Because she had fatty calf, the outline of calf muscle is not so noticeable.
But she had big calves and protruding Gatrocnemius muscle>
Partial resection of Gastrocnemius muscle made her calf slimmer, smoother, and straighter.




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