Calf pain

I'm a relatively new runner, doing about 5k 3 times a week. After my midweek run I felt a tightness in my right calf - felt like it was about to cramp all the time - this continued until today when I ran again - a brilliant run in pouring rain - but now my calf is really quite painful when I walk or stretch - but OK when not moving about.

I simply don't know if this is just a twinge, a bit of stiffness, or an injury looming.

How do I tell the difference?

Any advice appreciated. Thanks!!


  • If it's quite painful when you walk, I would be tempted to seek medical advice, or at the least get a sports massage.

    But you could try resting for a few days and then see how it feels when you run. Are you doing enough calf stretches? Try the ones where you hang off the edge of a step on the ball of your foot and let your leg stretch down. I find this is more effective than regular calf stretches.

    But if it's too sore to do this, you may need to get it looked at.

    Hope this helps.
  • I agree with Parsley, see your GP. He/she will only tell you to rest, but might be able to tell you what you've done. Once you know what the problem is you'll know weather to to see a physio or read up on the injury & trat it yourself.
    Be careful with the above stretch of Parsleys if you have done some damage this is a powerful stretch & needs building up to.
    good luck
  • At 40 something I`m constantly straining calves - various areas, any suggestions?
  • I think I was panicking too early - I'd just never had continuous near-cramping for a long time before. However, now is all OK again. I will make sure I take the advice on stretching!
  • Straining? or tearing?
    Are you over training? do you give yourself enough rest between hard sessions, do you wear the right trainers? do you over/under stretch, do you stretch cold muscles. There could be many reasons. Try resting for 10 days and then building up slowly, also if you can, have a warm bath before any hard sessions as this will relax the muscles.
    I hope this helps. I have problems with both calves and am always trying to find out why & trying to prevent the next "calf attack".
    all the best
  • Ran two weeks ago felt cramp like pain in calf, rested and saw physio told it was a Strain. Had massage and stretches, ran yesterday same pain reappeared after 9 mins of run. Walked home. Can anyone offer advise.
  • Try DVT socks. They help circulation. Paula Radcliffe wears similar ones!
    Also, quinine tablets are apparently good for relieving (night) cramps. I've tried them before long runs, and the combination (socks and tablet) seems to help.
  • I recently ran my first marathon, and was quite dissapointed with my time. I experienced very painfull cramps in my calfs from around mile 22 which forced me to keep stopping. Why do you get cramps and how can you prevent them? Any help would be really appreciated
  • Peter, are you sure that they are cramps and not strains/tears?
  • Well I'm not sure no, but it felt like cramp. I would feels a twinge on one pace then a sudden sharp pain, and i couldnt run through it. After the race it didnt feel to bad and the next day it wasnt painfull so I assume it was cramps. Any idea why I was getting them?
  • I have been going without shoes in the fine weather and this has caused my achilles to stretch and is causing tightness in calfs, 7 days rest and massage each night looks to have cured it, will tell you more after my 10K on Sunday.
  • I had the same problem tonight. Went out with daughter for a run but kept having to walk as calfs kept cramping. Was quite painful at times.
    I don't have a bad diet and take plenty of water before running. I also do body pump once a week and we do lots of squats and lunges so don't know if this is the cause. I thought working with weights etc would be more beneficial to running, building up muscles etc..
  • I've been having some pain at the top of my calf and in my knee while running. Feels like it could be a tendon problem.
    I also play cricket which puts quite a bit of stress on my knee.
    Can anyone offer any advice?
  • I find that when i run at a pace that is relatively comfortable I am OK. But as soon as i push it one or both of my calves seize up and i feel as if my leg bones have turned into brittle twigs. If i ignore it things just get worse but resting only helps until i try to run fast again and by that time i have lost all the hard work i put in. I feel so helpless when it comes to speed work.
    Any advice?
  • Colin sounds like you have shin splints! V painful and the only advice is rest and if it feels ok run. Shin splints usually go on there own. Might be worth seeing your GP though. I tore a calf muscle a few months ago and it was the most painful thing I have ever had to endure when it happened i could not walk. I was on crutches for four weeks and off work for seven! Stretching is now the main focus before and after any excersise.Even walking. Calf excersise on a regular basis can help prevent cramps also.
  • Hi all

    I was wondering if any one could offer advice fo rme. I have just started training in the last 3/4months and have had loads of pain in my shins. Thanks to better shoes and warming up prop[erely that has pretty much faded. But I have very bad pain in my lower leg in the front to the right of and behind my shins. It feels like there a particular muscle there that is very tight and has sharp shooting pain when I run. This may be to over exertion but even when I rest a few days its stil there. Also my entire leg muscles but mainly lower leg feel as if they have all shortened dramatically and I sometimes find it very difficult to break into a smooth easy run if at all. I cant seem to shake the tightness and even attempt to walk for 10 minutes to warm my legs up before jogging (which I do mainly in the morning) Can anyone offer soem advice please and also some good calf stretches for the front muscles in my legs. Thank you.
  • The pain in the shins sounds like shin splints, there are a number of causes and cures for this, try doing a search on 'shin splints' on this forum, there has been chapter and verse posted on this subject.

    good luck
  • Hi everyone, I've only started running in the last few months & recently had some pain in my calf & just on the right at the top of my shin - almost like it's underneath the shin. Went for a run & had really stiff legs then had tightness for next few days. Then did a 10k I'd registered for ages ago on the Sun (this was about 2 wks ago) & although felt fine while running the next day my leg was so stiff & painful i was walking with a limp. Keep getting cramps in my calf too! Better now but still tender & a slight limp when stiff. Been getting a few massages & been told by the guy at the gym to stay off impact sports at mo. He thinks it could be that I have over trained - my muscle has got bigger but the sheath around it has not torn to allow it to grow properly??? Any thoughts? Thanks loads
  • Hi folks i'm new to this running, been at it for 6 weeks and i've got the bug. I've suffered for the last 2 years with repetitive calf problems and i've just done it again after tonight’s run. My problem is caused by my back going into spasms, and this makes my calf feel like i've strained it or pulled it and can be quite painful, even to walk on and touch.
    I'll be making an appointment to see the physio that i've come to trust, he will hopefully just click my back into place give me some exercise to strengthen my back and hopefully be back running in a couple of weeks. If you have strains or pulls you should see some bruising around the area of stiffness and soreness. Also make sure your footware is giving you the correct posture as this can contribute to back problems big time. Hope this helps or open to other peoples suggestions.
  • Go buy some heat pads - Flector and also Capsicole. Wear the Flector for 2 1/2 days - you may have to change it if you shower etc. Then take half a days rest and wear the Capsicole - this got rid of my calve tightness
  • It can also be caused by diet - food allergies can contribute to excess fungus in the bloodstream which can cause, amongst other things, joint and muscle pain. An excessively acidic diet (from starchy pasta, bread, pasrty, grains, flour-based products, cereals, coffee, alcohol, sugar, wheat, etc) also leads to an imbalance in the system which causes arthritis and degenerative diseases. Many of us are allergic to various foods we have been eating all our lives and don't even realize.
    I've been eating loads of white bread, crisps, cheese, meat and (frozen overcooked!) vegetables whilst skiing for the past 3 weeks in Germany. Now back in training, my legs are killing and my bowels.....!! Never a problem before.
    A book by Dr Shyam Singha 'The secrets of natural health' gives dietary advice for various ailments and is one of the best i've read. As is anything by Jason Vale.
    As I wrote on the beginners thread, fresh raw juices and a 70% raw food diet are the best things you can give your body to maintain a balanced system, cleanse and nutrify. Your energy levels are phenomenal. Really noticed a huge difference whilst away and not able to eat so well.
  • the food and acid base shift theory for fungus in joints and i suspect you mean gout as the arthropathy?

    There is no evidence for any of this, is there?
  • sweaty betty,

    please forgive my skepticism, but there appears to be nothing in the medical literature linking fungus in the blood and food allergy (or indeed any allergy). and i can't find accounts of any controlled studies on acidic diets either, other than those investigating the effects on teeth, and one studying cow urine acidity (honestly). out of interest, which peer reviewed journals were these studies published in?

    (also, wouldn't a diet rich in raw juices be fairly acidic?)
  • Rats - just come across this thread - think |'ve done the same thing but 10 days rest - help! I'll be back done to snail pace miles - it takes me ages to build back jp again
  • Hi
    I recently resumed running after a very long lay off. All was well for a couple of weeks and I was really enjoying it, running 20 -30 mins, 4 – 5 times a week. This was of course, too much too soon and I started to get cramp- like pains in my left calf. Foolishly I persisted until it was really painful before eventually resting it for a week, applying ice etc. All was now fine with my left leg but almost immediately I started getting the same pains in my right leg. Went for a couple of short easy runs but right calf now extremely painful so back to the rest and icing. A week later it still feels tight and painful if I try to run. I always stretch my calves before a run. I’ve had plenty of minor injuries in the past but never one that swapped legs! Any advice about what caused this or better still what to do about it would be much appreciated.
  • Hello, during my normal run of 10miles, at approx. 4miles Ifelt something like a sharp knife point prick the middle of my right calf. I carried on for about 100m, then BANG, the calf muscle went into total spasm. I was not even able to walk on it,the pain was incredible. Got home after a dear old lady took sympathy on me and gave me a lift home (what a good samaritan). The calf is very tender, slightly swollen, only able to walk on my toes, not able to put my heel on the ground. tREATING INJURY WITH rice,ANY ADVICE WOULD BE MORE THAN WELCOME.
  • my girl freind has just started running and she stops after 5mins because of cramps in her calf then a knumb foot.any 1 tell me the problem and how to solve it?
  • Does anyone think that wearing sandles with no backs could cause cramping in the calf.
    It's something to consider.
    My shoes are good and only relax in said sandles.thanks
  • I went for a short run two nights ago and got sudden pain in the left calf approximately half way round and had to hobble the rest of the way home. Tried a tubi-grip bandage for a day and can now walk on it without pain but when I tried to run on it again - the pain re-started. How long should I rest it before starting to run again - any help would be appreciated.....Thanks.

  • i too had similar to you back in april and i rested for a few days and then ran again with just a niggle, wasn't too bad so just kept training. i ended up with a 60% rupture and have only just now got back to running took me 7 weeks of not running before i could run for 5 mins.i would rest it until you have no pain at all then just try a few mins at a time and build back up.better to be safe than sorry.
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