What are the Best Tips for Avoiding Calf Pain While Running?

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  • Written By: April S. Kenyon
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 17 December 2019
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Calf pain while running is often the result of inadequate warm-ups or excessive strain on the calf muscle or lower leg. Other causes might be dehydration, mineral deficiency, poor circulation, or wearing improper running shoes. A number of steps can be taken to avoid calf pain while running, and also prevent calf injury. These steps include performing lower leg stretches and calf exercises before running, buying the proper shoes, wearing calf compression sleeves, drinking plenty of water, and maintaining a healthy diet.

Properly warming up before a run or other strenuous exercise is perhaps one of the best tips to avoid calf pain while running. Lower leg stretches and other calf exercises should also be performed after physical activity to give the body a chance to accurately warm down. Common calf stretches include the floor stretch, wall stretch, and standing calf stretch. Both serious runners and individuals who exercise on a regular basis may find it beneficial to invest in a calf stretching machine.


Calf pain while running can also be avoided by wearing the proper sports attire while exercising. Don’t restrict the movement of the body by wearing clothes that are too tight. Clothing and shoes that fit too tightly can restrict blood flow and create bad circulation, possibly leading to calf injury or muscle strain. It is especially important to wear a proper running shoe that provides adequate support and comfort. Calf compression sleeves can also provide added support to the lower leg and might help prevent calf pain while running.

Dehydration can also be a contributing cause to calf pain while running. Strenuous activities, such as running or exercising, generally cause the body to lose large amounts of fluid through perspiration. Additional moisture is lost through breathing. Since exercise commonly results in heavier and deeper breathing, more fluid is likely to be lost while running. It is important to avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water both before and after any strenuous physical activity.

The body not only loses water during strenuous activity, it loses nutrients as well. Mineral deficiency and a lack of proper nutrition can also be a cause of calf pain while running. It is therefore important to maintain a proper diet and consume foods rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Athletes may find it beneficial to take multi-vitamin supplements in addition to maintaining a well-balanced diet with foods rich in magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, and other minerals.


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Post 3

Given the option of stretching before or after exercising, you are better off to stretch after the workout. This gives you a better chance of avoiding that day-after pain and soreness. Stretch before and after when you can, but the cool down stretching shouldn't be ignored.

Post 2

If you are like me then you don't want to take the time to stretch before running, even though I know this is recommended. Instead, I simply start out slowly. By walking and then running at a slow pace before I fully crank up the pace, I am able to loosen my muscles and warm them up before I begin to really exert them. When I do this, I don't have any leg or calf pain.

Post 1

I have a friend who played competitive tennis in high school and in college. She was very good. She was by far the best player on the teams she played on. However, whenever she played in a team competition or a tournament she would start having calf pain and then full-blown cramps in her calf muscles.

This was really strange because she would practice for five or six hours in hot temperatures during the summer and she wouldn't have any ill effects, but when she played in a real match the calf problems would begin, and sometimes this would start almost as soon as she got on the court. She would play for a view minutes and then start

suffering through the pain.

Recently, she told me that the cause of her problems was stress and nerves. As it turns out, when you are nervous your body is more likely to dehydrate and this is what was causing the pain and cramps in her calves. She was so good that it never occurred to me that she was anything but relaxed and calm on the courts.

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