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Running Calf Injury

Causes of Calf Muscle Pain and its Treatment

JUN 29 2008

Calf injury is a common problem that occurs during running. Runners and other athletes that seriously compete and train on a regular basis suffer from this injury in the course of their career or hobby.

Tears in the calf muscle can keep a runner from training and competing for a minimum of 1 month. Muscle inflammations on the other hand may handicap the runner for 2 weeks or less.

The calf is found at the back of your lower leg and the muscle is actually further composed of 3 muscles. Pains may run from faint to severe and may be felt abruptly, frequently, to non stop. Main causes of calf pain and injuries are insufficient or poorly executed warm up reps (for stretching and body preparation) and warm down reps (cool down period after training and competing). Other causes of calf muscle strain, pain, and injury would be overtraining, poor training method, misuse, abuse, and lack of sufficient rests in between workouts. Abrupt increases in miles run will definitely cause strain and injuries.

Foot and arch problems also cause calf injuries. Overpronation is a condition in which oneís feet roll inward during running. This is not a normal running condition. Undue stress is caused and the calf muscles and tendons suffer. If you overpronate, purchase proper running shoes, one that will help prevent your feet from rolling inward. Motion control shoes may be prescribed in severe cases. Get a recommendation from an experienced trainer or ask an overpronating runner (like yourself) regarding proper shoe gear. Orthotics would greatly help as they give added support to the feet and arches. Make sure cushions and insoles are sufficient (not too much). Make sure to maintain flexibility during the run.

Injuries vary and may range from mild to serious. Not all injuries require rest or cessation of training. Athletes may continue with their regimen. However, serious injuries demand the attention of an experienced doctor. In event of injury, have your leg and calf assessed and diagnosed. If you can continue with your runs, then do so. It is advisable however, that you lessen mileage during the recovery period. Also, avoid uneven terrains at least until your calf is in better condition. Adjust your running time and spend more time warming up and cooling down. Focus on helpful stretching exercises before each run. Be sure to rest the moment you feel unusual and alarming pain on your calves.

Pain relievers (analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications), ice packs, hot compress, massages, and physical therapy greatly help with the healing process. In serious instances, surgery will be required. Seek proper diagnosis and follow the doctorís recommendation. Make sure you stay sufficiently hydrated at all times. Lack of fluids causes calf strains and injuries. Drink lots of water and pamper your body with fruits and natural fruit juices. Nourish your body well by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. Donít forget to take in the right amounts of calcium, minerals, and magnesium. Ask the experts on what multivitamins and minerals to take.

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COMMENT

Name: Alan

I have been running for 30 years. I was always a heel striker and recently I have been attempting to change my running style to running of the balls of my feet. My first time out I ran a few miles and after the second mile my calfskin began to hurt. after the pain lasted a week and then went away. Now every time I run after 3 miles or less the pain kicks in . I feel more efficient running off the balls of my feet but can't seem to avoid the damage to my calf

Name: Joy

Been running for 20 yrs, ran my 1st 1/2 marathon on Mothers Day! Keep up with my runs & signed up to do another 1/2 in October. While 3 miles in a 6 miler, my calf "seized up" and had to call hubby to pick me up. Ice, stretching, rest for 2 weeks, tried to run again - same thing - after 2 miles. That was almost a month ago - been doing eliptical & walking treadmill at gym but going CRAZY not running. What else can I do, still have soreness, noticable when I do squats on the injured calf. Have great shoes, orthodics all that stuff already. Desperate for advice - MD next step. Need to get back running!

Name: Jackie Windt

51 years young. Been exercising as long. 3 years ago my calf felt a funny while jogging. It felt like someone put his finger on my calf and pressed lightly. I completed my run. The following day after about 200 meter the finger came back. This time my calf cramped up completely so that I had to walk back home. Three years later just as I think I am becoming fit, BAM it is back.

Name: David

Just like Alan, I tried to change my running style from a flat foot strike to a front foot strike. After 2 miles my claves started to tighten and cramp up. Had to walk a mile back home in pain. Two days later my legs feel a little easier but I'm resorting to my old style. It may be less efficient but at least I can run.

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