Calf Injury?

I recently suffered a chain of injuries to my left leg while running. I was 10 weeks into my marathon training when I started to experience some discomfort at the front base of my left knee. However after a few days the pain went away. Later the next week I participated in a half marathon and recorded my best time ever. The following week after 3 days of training I woke up to what felt like a ligament strain towards the back outside corner of my left knee. However, I do not know how the injury occurred. I rested my leg for approximately 7 days and then continued with my training. While 2 miles into my run my calf muscle started to tighten. Instead of stopping I tried to run through it. That’s when I felt a sharp pain towards the lower inside portion of my calf muscle which stopped me in my tracks. The interesting thing is that I do not feel the injury when I am cycling or walking. However, when I try to run I feel the pain right away. Did I strain my calf muscle? How long should I stay of the leg? What can I do to speed up recovery?


  • Bart,

    Here's some advice for a medium sized calf tear. It will heal, but the remade tissue will remain a weak spot.

    Days 1-4 - Total rest. Using the injured leg as little as poss'. Use the P.R.I.C.E. treatment method, Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate.

    Days 4-14 - Start to exercise again but with NO weight bearing activities. Use an exercise bike but don't use the toe straps, as they will work the calves. Swim but don't be too vigorous on the turn as this can also aggravate the calves. It would be good to start to stretch now but not too much or the newly formed tissue will weaken. Massage is very important now as well as it is not only a great healing tool but can break down the scar tissue, if the right techniques are used. A lot of the pain if not all will have gone by now but DON'T be tempted to rush into anything. Or you'll be back to square one.

    Days 15-21 - Keep up the stretching and massages and now you can start weight bearing exercise, the stepper, elliptical trainer or rowing machine. The tear in the muscle fibres should be healing nicely now but is still very weak SO DO NOT RUN. The muscles need to be rehabbed and strengthened. There are some good strengthening exercises here...

    Days 21-42 - Start to build up running distance and intensity slowly. You might be able to do a really hard run but then tear it again on a really easy run the next day, as the muscles have been overloaded by the hard run.

    Be patient, keep to the above and you'll be as fit as were before the tear if not stronger as well, due to the massage, stretching and strengthening.
  • Every injury is different and everybody reacts differently to different treatments. Although there is some good advice by PM, I'd add go and see a physio.
  • as a sports physio I agree with SP. We're all differnet and it's possible that you don't have a calf tear. The above rehab prog is just that, rehab, not a cure to the cause of the injury which probably lies dep within the kinetic chain.
  • At last I have found somone with the same injury that has plagued me over the past year. 

     I too have found that when this injury re-occurs I have no pain and little discomfort when walking and going about everyday life. Only when I run is the pain quite intense.

    After a visit to the physio 2 weeks ago, a week of P.R.I.C.E., and a week of gentle stretches I felt I could get out for a short run tonight.  2 miles in and the injury has appeared again.

    I shall be taking PM's advice, shall re-join the gym and shall leave my running kit in the cupboard for 6 weeks or so to try and get this sorted.

    The big lesson with this injury seems to be that when you feel ready to run again, DONT DO IT. Give it some more time and plenty of massage and stretches before you go out there again.

    After a year of this at last I feel that I might be able to get somewhere.

     Thanks PM

  • I have a slighly swollen left calf. I hardly ran when on holiday as I have had some discomfort in the calf since a marathon at end of May. Intermittently it would be stiff and a bit tight and is now slightly swollen after a regular 5 mile run on Sunday. A physio in run & become shop told me to see my GP but now sure this will help. Its just on the inside of the left calf. Can anyone offer any advice? Thanks


  • Here is an observation from someone who has suffered for some time from lower calf problems. In my experience the cause is overuse or going too fast for too long. All of the above posts point you in the right direction. One thing they don't say is that when you are returning to active running resist the temptation to see how good the leg is - make sure your first few sessions end without a flare up. My first session was a 30 min walk with just 5 minutes of v. Slow jogging, a day off and then same again but with 10 minutes of slow jogging. I continued like this for a couple of weeks.

    I can honestly say that this slow, measured approach resisting the temptation to prove the strength of the fix has been the most successful for me. 

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