Calf strain

lescand lescand

Hi, I'm nearly 50 and have just taken up running for the first time in 30 years.

I decided to take my training really slowly, but pulled my calf two weeks ago on a short 2 mile run.

I rested it for a week but as soon as I ran less than half a mile (after a good warm up) it went again.

Again, a week on it feels ok, do you think the best thing to do would be to give it another week, or do some light running (or even brisk walking) on my newly bought treadmill?


Any advise gratefully appreciated



Minerva Minerva


I had to take a four week break from running when I injured my calf muscle. The best way I found to get back into it, was to continue walking as much as possible and do some cycling. That used the leg but didn't put as much strain on it as it pounding on the ground.

When I restarted running I was very careful to warm up properly and do some specific calf muscle stretches at the end of my session. I also went back a couple of weeks in my training programme and  took things very easy. Better to feel that you could have done more, than overdo it and regret it again.

Are you following a plan? The couch to 5k plans are really good for people just starting out, as they build you up really gradually. Provided you stick to them it's quite hard to overdo things as it tells you what you should be running.

Best thing to do is to just take things much easier than you think you need to and listen to your body. Good luck!

Westie Westie

Posted in reply to Minerva

Hi There, I'm always getting calf strains and they're doing my head in!

My last strain happened on Christmas Day and I still can't run.

I totally agree with Minerva. You need to start gentley stretching the muscle 3 days after the injury. Stretch, stretch and more stretching. I would totally avoid running until you have absolutely no pain from the calf whilst walking. If I were you, I'd do heaps of brisk walking and any other cross-training that does not aggrevate the injury. Then, slowly re-introduce the running; but remember, any pain: stop!

I hope things begin to ease soon.

slabhappy slabhappy

Posted in reply to Westie

All the above. I have had the same and, like Westie says, cycling should be ok and keep your aerobic fitness going. Try a set of calf-guards. I wore them as remedial treatment and for all runs till my calf healed. I would still use them on longer runs.

Fitterinforties Fitterinforties

Posted in reply to slabhappy

Hi, All the above and I also suffered with calf strain when I started running again. I first brought a Neo G Medical grade calf support (Amazon) and this was like magic, no further pain since.  These days I wear 2XU calf guards which are really good and I wear them weather training or in a race.



lescand lescand

Posted in reply to Fitterinforties

Thank you all so much, I have in the last week been out on three "speed walks" that is walking as fast as I can, I did two 3 mile walks in 40 minutes, then tonight I did 5 miles in an hour and my calf feels good.

I will continue to stretch it my calf muscle

I am going on holiday next week for my 50th, so will start again from scratch when I get back.

Once again thanks all.


Redjpd Redjpd

Posted in reply to lescand

Try going for some 'medicinal' runs as you start your rehab. Walk a mile then run for a few hundred yards - stop if you feel any pain - repeat until you have done 4-5 miles. If you get through this take a recovery day then repeat process slowly increasing the amount of running. You should also massage your calf to break down any scar tissue from your original injury.

lescand lescand

Posted in reply to Redjpd

I'm now at my wits end, I have done all of the above, I even bought a treadmill for if the weather is too bad to go out.

I went out tonight and within half a mile it had strained again, this means another at least two weeks behind schedule.

I was planning to run the Preston Guild marathon in October, but at this rate will still not have got above 5 miles.

Honest I wasting my time? :-(

JustMe JustMe

Posted in reply to lescand

Might be worth your while to find out if it is a structural issue causing this. I picked up a knee injury through which i thought was slipping but it turns out it is from my lower back/pelvis, unstable hip & very weak hamstring. I also thought that I stuffed up my calve but that apparently is also due to the above.

Not saying yours is the same but if it happens repeatedly, you have to look for the actual cause.

Good luck

Westie Westie

Posted in reply to JustMe

Lescand, we seem to be in very much the same position: please don't give up, you're not wasting your time. I think my calf strains are related to the muscle becoming heavily fatigued and then tearing. In addition, I think I have a tendancy to run in an underhydrated state. My new approach is to make sure I'm hydrated, and also to introduce some walking breaks into my running to allow the calf musles some recovery time. I'm looking into this running approach at the moment:

All the best

lescand lescand

Posted in reply to Westie

Thanks for replies folks.

Maybe the walking thing should be at the start, as (although I do plenty of stretching etc) I do go straight into a fast jog, down a hill.

It has happened now twice that within a hundred metres on the flat the calf goes.

This recent time I was wearing a calf support as well!

The annoying thing is that I haven't even got as far as the boring long runs yet, my mind is so enthusiastic, but my calf lets me down.

I will rest it for a further two weeks with plenty of stretching.



Posted in reply to lescand

Just a thought.....are you making sure your muscles are fully warmed up before you stretch?  Stretching cold muscles can do more harm than good.

lescand lescand

Posted in reply to SJD

That's a good point, thank you.

I must admit I thought that stretching was the thing to do before warming up.

I'm letting it rest for another week before trying anything else.


Bazza1 Bazza1

Posted in reply to lescand

I too am off running at the moment because of a calf strain experienced 4 1/2 weeks ago. I tried running again after two weeks off but after 5 mins on treadmill it went again. I decided to see the doctor who recommended me to a sports massage therapist. I've had two sessions so far and the calf feels good. She has also put some tape on to increase blood supply. Its two weeks since I last did any running but am back cycling and cross training on a light resistance. I was also told to use an ice pack on the to reduce any swelling for 10 minutes after any exercise.

The other thig you could try is getting a foam roller which will help massage the affected area.

BTW - Calf supports whilst running don't do any good (not any bad either) its more a psychological effect, so my doc tells me. Also, stretching should be at the end and not the begnning of a run.

Jimmy Ash Jimmy Ash


Hi, I suffered from calf problems when I started back running. I was advised to invest in a foam roller which I did and haven't looked back. I foam roll my legs before and after a run and have had no problems.