The best calf massager
Massage can be an effective natural way to treat a variety of injuries. If you've suffered a calf or lower leg injury, the pain can be intense because you rely on your calf muscles every time you walk, run, or jump. A calf massager can help strengthen the muscles in your lower leg to reduce pain, boost circulation, and reduce scar tissue. Best of all, it's a one-time investment, which means you don't have to keep paying a massage therapist for treatments every time your injury flares up.
Our shopping guide is chock-full of tips to help you find the best calf massager for your physical therapy routine. We've even included some specific calf massager recommendations, like our top choice, the Fit King Leg Massager, which features two different massage modes and three different intensities to let you customize your massage.
Considerations when choosing calf massagers
Handheld massagers are versatile enough to be used on the legs as well as other areas of the body because you move it over the spot you want to treat by hand. It usually has a textured surface that you roll over your muscles or offers vibration to provide a deep tissue massage.
A wearable calf massager is a device that wraps around your legs. Some are longer than others, so they may cover the foot and thigh as well. These wearable massagers typically use air compression to massage the leg and are particularly effective if you're looking to improve circulation in your calves.
Step-in calf massagers usually resemble boots. The boots sit on a base that provides the massaging action, and you're usually able to massage your feet and calves separately if you prefer. Not everyone can find a step-in model that fits their legs comfortably, though, which can be a problem.
Massage style and intensity
Calf massagers typically provide a variety of massage styles and intensities, so you can customize your massage. Some might offer deep tissue, shiatsu, or other massage techniques, as well as low-, medium-, and high-intensity options to provide you with the relief you need.
Some calf massagers have a heat setting, so your muscles are warmed while they're massaged. Heat can help promote muscle relaxation, healing, and increased blood flow, which can boost the benefits you receive from your massage.
If you opt for a step-in calf massager, it helps to choose a model with an adjustable base. That will allow you to adjust the positioning of the bottom of the massager to ensure you're as comfortable as possible.
If you're fairly tall, you might find that a calf massager doesn't cover enough of your legs for an effective massage. Opt for a model that's taller than standard massagers, so you can be sure that you'll receive a complete massage.
You want to be sure that you can easily reach the controls for your calf massager, so you're able to adjust the settings when you want. Look for a massager with controls that are located on the front and near the top to avoid having to bend or stretch too much.
If a calf massager is particularly effective, it might relax you to the point where you doze off. To avoid worrying about the massager running for hours, opt for a model with an auto-shutoff feature that turns the unit off after a certain period of time.
If you're looking for a calf massager that you can take with you when you travel, choose a model that's lightweight for easy carrying. You can even find some massagers that fold and have a carrying handle, so they're even easier to take on the go.
Calf massagers can cost anywhere from $10 to more than $200. You'll usually pay $10 to $50 for handheld calf massagers, $50 to $100 for wearable massagers, and $100 to $200-plus for step-in massagers.
Q. What are some reasons that my calves might be sore if I haven't suffered an injury?
A. Your calves and legs can be sore for a variety of reasons, including rigorous exercise, poor circulation, varicose veins, standing for long periods, dehydration, inactivity, and the wrong shoes.
Q. What benefits can a calf massager have besides pain relief?
A. In addition to soothing calf pain, a massager can help reduce stress, promote relaxation, improve circulation in your legs, and help with your post-workout recovery.
Considerations when choosing calf massagers
Best of the best: Fit King's Leg Massager
Our take: A particularly effective calf massager if you're concerned with improving circulation in your legs.
What we like: Offers two massage modes and three massage intensities. Massager covers both the legs and feet, but you can massage each area separately. Is adjustable to fit calves all the way up to 28.5 inches with size extensions. Includes a mesh storage and travel bag.
What we dislike: Can be too large for small or thin legs, so the massage may not be as effective.
Best bang for your buck: Sportneer's Muscle Roller
Our take: A highly affordable manual tool for massaging your calves as well as other areas of the leg.
What we like: Features a beaded design to dig into pressure points in the calves when you roll it over the skin. Provides a large surface area, so you can cover more of the calf at once. Can be used for other areas of the body, such as the back, neck, and shoulders. Lightweight compact design is ideal for travel or the gym.
What we dislike: Some people find the beaded surface to be too hard for tight muscles. Can cause hand and arm fatigue.
Choice 3: Naipo's Leg Compression Massager
Our take: An excellent high-quality massager for the lower leg and foot that works both sides at the same time.
What we like: Features a single continuous one-piece construction, so it's easy to step in and out of. Offers a more consistent massage than other models that use airbags. Boasts a foldable design to help with storage and travel. Provides heat therapy, too.
What we dislike: Larger than many other airbag calf massagers, so it requires more room. Pricier than other models, too.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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