Recommendations for calf muscle problems

I strained my right calf muscle about a month ago while running. I rested it for about 10 days and it felt pretty good, so I started running on it again. I’ve been running on it every other day for the last two weeks with just some mild soreness. It felt good and strong.

Running this morning I strained it again, and spent 45 minutes limping back to my car. I’m trying to figure out what I did wrong. Did I not give it sufficient time to heal the first time? Did I not stretch enough?

A couple of years ago while skiing I heard this loud pop (like a gunshot) and my leg buckled and I fell (calf muscle again). That was one of the weirdest sensations ever. I couldn’t put any weight on my leg and couldn’t ski down. I had to take an embarrassing ride down the slope in the ski patrol stretcher. I needed crutches for about a week and then slowly I could put weight on it again and started walking.

Anyone have any recommendations for calf muscle injuries? Coach Whitt Lord of the Calves isn’t returning my calls. It seems like I’m having a reoccurring problem with the same calf over a period of years (if that’s possible)

Stupid middle age man problems.

strained my calf muscle real bad May '19 just before a 20 mile backpacking trip and just after a half marathon. Figured it was due to repetitive stress.

I saw a PT up at the U Orthopaedic center and it was a huge help. He recommended some exercises and water jogging (water aerobics) as well as did deep tissue massage targeting the strain. It really helped speed up the healing process and I was able to run my next half in September '19.


thank you, its such a weird muscle. in my experience it seems to heal fairly quickly so you can walk with limited soreness after you strain it, but to put any long term stress or pounding on it it apparently takes weeks or months.

Sorry to hear about your calf troubles.

I was having severe cramping in those muscles about 8-10 years ago, to the point where I couldn’t exercise for several days. I played a lot of basketball at the time, and did jogging and bicycling on other days. I read online that some people found a solution in compression sleeves. I went ahead and purchased several pairs of those, the ones that you wear slightly below the knee and down to the ankle. After wearing those regularly for basketball, the sudden cramping essentially cleared up. Of course, at least at the beginning, I’d stopped my exercise if I felt any twinges, but the twinges eventually went away.

Also, at the time I really concentrated on stretching my calves before exercise. I think that helped. I also made it a point to supplement my diet with high potassium foods. One that I really like is the low sodium version of V8. They replace the NaCl with KCl, so if you enjoy the stuff, it’s great an hour or so before exercise.

Hope that helps!

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Just for some quick perspective, these problems started happening to me in my early 40s.

See, that’s what you get for going running. :wink:

I have had to slow my roll and can only do walks now. My knees and back are so destroyed from 30+ years of soccer that I simply can’t run any more. Being mid-40’s doesn’t help either.

Getting old sucks.

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The loud pop was probably you tearing one of your calf muscles away from the tendon that separates the main two muscles. I did that a few years ago and it felt like someone literally kicked me as hard as they could in the calf. Internal blood pooled in my foot and I couldn’t walk full extension for quite a while. Is the calf odd looking compared to before or the other calf? Mine is and to this day, it tightens much quicker than the other one when exercising. You could always get it surgically repaired but I felt it was too much effort compare to the benefit.

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In addition to potasium, magnesium can also help if it is cramping

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Yay tennis leg! I had it happen a few months ago. I’m making sure I stay stretched, but that’s about it. Reading this thread with interest…

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Continuing the discussion from Recommendations for calf muscle problems:

I had something similar a couple of years ago. It wasn’t a strain but a small thrombosis (blood clot) in my calf. I couldn’t run on it and it felt like a strain. Measure and compare your calves. If the injured calf is swollen then you should have it checked out.

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thank you all for the good info

Go see your doctor asap. It might be something else like a deep vein blood clot.

I’ve had issues with one of my calves pulling for YEARS. Seems like every year I stop for a month or two from December to February, and when I take it up again I’ll get maybe a mile in and BAM! I’m sidelined for a bit.

Second time it happened I was actually training to run the Ogden Marathon - but I kept pulling it and it never got better so I couldn’t run. I did go to their expo to pick up my $80 t-shirt and talked to a sports med doc while I was there - and this is what he told me.

First - for me, it was my soleus that I kept pulling - the smaller muscle underneath the big calf muscle (gastrocnemius). Depending on which it is for you will determine which exercises and stretches to do.

His biggest recommendation was to strengthen and lengthen the muscle by doing heel drops on stairs. Basically, you start up on your toes with your heel far enough back to hang over the drop and slowly lower your heel until it is below your toes. Then use your good leg to lift you to the right height and reset the injured leg and slowly lower it again.

Do sets of 12 - you’ll want to start with one set for the first couple of weeks while you’re healing (it helps to stretch while healing to get the muscle fibers to line up - but you are only doing the latent exercise of dropping your heal - don’t push up and put that strain on it) and then eventually build up to doing 3 sets of 12 with a break between each.

Once you’re to the point that you aren’t feeling pain and haven’t for a while - then you can further strengthen your calf by pushing yourself back up with the leg you are working on instead of the opposite one. So you’re going up and down.

If it’s your soleus that was injured, then do this with a bend in your knee. If it’s your gastro, then do it with your leg straight. I’ve injured my calf enough times that I do both to work on both muscles.

I actually ended up having an ultrasound on my calf at one point. The doc described calf muscles as being like spaghetti in the bag - the fibers are supposed to be all lined up the same direction. But I’d pulled mine enough that the scar tissue and repair made it more like a bowl of mixed up noodles. So he suggested also doing some scraping with a physical therapist. I did that for a bit - then bought my own tool to do it myself after a while. That definitely helped a ton as well.

Again - this is just for a muscle pull. Good luck with that! Nothing worse than wanting to be able to run and not being able to.

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