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Prevea Health

How to Treat Calf Pain


Calf pain is a common issue for runners and athletes. The calf muscle is actually made up of two muscles called the gastrocnemius and soleus that lie over each other. Straining or tearing the muscles can create discomfort and hinder your running form. Calf pain can come on instantly or can gradually increase distance or intensity.  Either way, you need to take action to reduce your pain. Here are a few easy ways to reduce your calf pain:

Stretch Out Both Calf Muscles
To reduce your pain and increase your flexibility, you should stretch both your gastrocnemius and soleus muscles.

stretch out your gastrocnemiusTo stretch out your gastrocnemius, lean up against a wall with one foot back and one foot forward. Keep the back leg straight with the calf on the ground and bring your hip forward.  Hold for 15 seconds and repeat as needed.

stretch your soleusTo stretch your soleus, do the same stretch as the gastrocnemius, but bend the knee of the back leg slightly, while keeping your heel on the ground. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat as needed.

Drink Water
Drink water before, during and after your activity. Dehydration can be a possible cause for muscles cramps, aches and pulls. Rehydrate properly to reduce your chances of calf issues.

Heel Lift
Using gel heel cups/lifts can help reduce calf pain while exercising.  The heel cups/lifts will keep your calf in a stretch position while you run.

Stay on Flat Surfaces
If you are a runner, running on flat surfaces will reduce calf pain. Reduce your hill running for one to two weeks and stay away from crowned roads to reduce the possibility of inflammation.

If your calf pain persists, try icing your calves for 20 minutes and resting them for several days. If pain persists, contact your doctor for further care.