An important part of the body, the calves are often considered the “second heart” because they are essential for venous return. Their size (or on the contrary, lack of volume) and also their shape can give women and men complexes.

They are made up of three muscles, which give them a smaller or larger appearance: the soleus and the gastrocnemius (inner and outer).

In addition to genetics and lifestyle, which help to give them an esthetic appearance, several factors can be responsible for calves that are “all fat” or “all muscle”:

  • Being overweight: depending on the person, more or less fat can be stored in the calves.
  • Water retention, which makes the calf swell. In general, this phenomenon also occurs with cellulite.
  • Venous insufficiency can also accentuate the curved shape of the calves and the feeling of heavy legs is worsened by spending long periods standing up or sitting down, as well as by heat.
  • High-impact sports help to boost muscle growth in the calf (tennis, combat sports, sprinting, etc.).

Large calves – caused by excess fat, water retention or poor blood circulation – often come with thick ankles and, in some cases, hypertrophy of the knees: the leg lacks overall definition and is referred to as a “tree trunk”. Men, in comparison, tend to want to increase the size of their calves to give their legs a more masculine, muscular and toned appearance.

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