Persistent calf injuries

Depressed first-time poster. I have had persistent reoccurring injuries in both calves going back over 2 years now. It is the same spot that keeps getting injured, alternatively in both calves... Right in the middle of the calf where the soleus inserts into the <span>gastrocnemius.
I have had 30 - 40 physio sessions at this stage (with 2 different practices) and I recently underwent a 2 month rehab program with nightly exercises (calf raises, hopping on one leg etc).
On 2 occasions now, the same calf has torn, in the physios office, during the final standing jump tests that were supposed to be the final test before getting back on a running program. I really feel like I am at the end of the road. There is talk about maybe getting a MRI done but, other than probably showing scar tissue on both calves, I don't really see how that is going to benefit me. 
This post is kinda a last resort to see if anyone out there has been in a similar position and/or has any thoughts or ideas of what I could possibly try next. I really feel that I've exhausted the physio route.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I am 48 years old but carrying no excess body fat. 
Many thanks 
James </span>

Best Answer


  • Just had a very quick scan of that there and all I can say is wow! I will definitely take the time to read through everything in it. Thank you for taking the time to post this. 
  • I had similar issues, sudden out of the blue calf strains, one leg after another. Always the same place, deep inside the soleus  muscle. Nothing really bad, but enough to stop me running for 2-3 weeks at a time. The solution for me was exactly as everyone says - increase cadence and strengthening the glutes and core. I also started wearing shoe insoles to support my high arches. I increased my cadence from 160-165 to around 175 on a steady jog, and around 180 at anything faster than 5min/km pace, increasing to 190 at 4min/km. Unfortunately there is no easy fix, the glute/core strengthening takes months of daily work and there are no shortcuts. I found it easier to do a bedtime routine involving hip hitches and calf raises on the stairs, plus lots of planks and glute bridges. It’s not fun, and it doesn’t feel at the time to be doing any good, but 2 years later I’m running faster than ever and no more calf strains. That said, I’m now suffering with a peroneal muscle/tendon problem, but I think I’ve just found the next weakest link as a result of running faster/harder.
  • Hey Neil, many thanks for your response. I very much agree with your ideas around glutes/hips/core strengthening...the sports injury specialist I am currently seeing has me on hamstring/quad/glute strengthening program as he feels it could be linked to the calves being overloaded. That is the first time I have had any advice in relation to cadence...I will be sure to mention that at my next appointment. In the meantime, I would highly recommend the blog above, kindly provided by raywood, for all things calf-related.
    Thanks again...
  • I posted about this very problem a few years ago on here. For 11 years I suffered with calf pulls. I saw every type of professional to solve it but never got an answer. Then, I happened to read an article titled "It's all in the hips" written by James Dunne on the Kinetic Revolution website. He explained that you can have the biggest, strongest glutes in the world, BUT, if you don't use them when running, somewhere else is doing the work instead, at a cost (Calf Pulls?????) I found it difficult to engage my glutes initially, as I had lost the neural connection. I couldn't clench my butt cheeks one at a time but after practice I managed to. Then, when I went running I started to clench my butt cheeks, which felt weird at first, but it made me engage my glutes as I ran. Haven't had any calf issues for 11 months now, and was up to 19 miles in preparation for 5 marathons this year before Covid . Might not be the answer to your problem, but might be worth a read.
    Good luck
  • Thank you for taking the time to post that.
    The further I go down this recovery road, the more convinced I am that the primary problem lies further up the chain. At this stage I am doing yoga daily, focusing on the lower back, and passive calf stretches twice a day. I am a few walk/runs back into my latest recovery attempt but always get the sense that everything is tightening up from my lower back to my calves after a dozen or so walk/runs, regardless of whether I increase the run-to-walk ratio or not.
    I am about 15 walk/runs back into things and I haven't re-injured either of the calves but I certainly don't feel that the problem has gone away.
    I am down to looking at cadence and/or running form as being the culprit at this stage.
    Thanks again for your suggestion...I have just started to read through the kinetic revolution website.
  • Not sure if anyone will see this but I will put the question out there anyway!

    Just wondering if anyone has any thoughts on the following...

    as per comments above, I have had long-running calf problems. The injury has presented in both calves and manifests as a sharp pain in the mid-section of the calf which immediately leaves me unable to run.

    I am about 15 run/walks back into my latest recovery attempt and I have noticed the same pain in the same spot on a couple of occasions. The difference this time is that the pain only lasts a micro second and then might happen 3 to 4 times during a 3 mile run but it doesn't remain and make me pull up. It doesn't appear to be getting worse and I am just back from a run were I only felt the sharp pain once during my run for less than a second. I have zero pain or reaction after the run. Previous to this, any time I felt the pain I was immediately out of action.

    My question it likely that this is the start of my injury coming back or is it possible that I have passed some threshold where the injury has recovered enough for it to present as a passing pain and maybe something I could slowly build on? I'm not sure whether to pull back or continue with my program (run/walk every 2nd day, no increase in run-to-walk ratio over 15 runs).

    Wondering if anyone has any experience with persistent injuries that they still felt periodically during their recovery program? Did the injury reoccur or did it eventually clear??

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