Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

Runners and other athletes know the agony of tight calf muscles. They can restrict your performance and cause significant pain when you walk or exercise. Tight calves may result from overuse, giving you a signal that you've been overdoing it with your workouts. They can also indicate that you need to stretch more. Heat can help alleviate muscle pain in the short term, but in the long term, you must take preventive steps such as exercising in the right shoes and knowing your limits.

Warm a few drops of massage oil in your hands and give yourself a calf massage. When you come to a particularly tight point, hold the pressure on that spot until you feel it start to relax.

Soak in a warm bath. Get the water as hot as you can stand it, toss in a handful of Epsom salts, and rest in the tub until the muscle starts to loosen.

Roll your calf on a hard foam roller. Sit with your legs extended in front of you and drape your tight calf over the horizontal roller. Lift yourself up on your hands and gently roll from the back of your knee to your Achilles tendon and back again.

Put a heating pad set to low heat over your calf for 15 or 20 minutes.

Perform calf stretches. Stand on the edge of a step and allow your heels to hang off the edge. Slowly raise yourself up to your toes, then let your heels come down again and hang slightly below the edge of the step.

Rest your hands on a wall with your arms extended in front of you. Take a lunge position with your legs. Switch legs until you feel your calf start to loosen.