Calf Soreness After Running – Guide To Treating And Preventing Calf Pain
Calf soreness after running is something that all runners have experienced. The soreness can come on during a run, but most of the time afterward. However, the soreness level can vary from annoying tightness to extremely painful.
Although if you have not already experienced calf soreness after running, at some point you will. As a runner, it is hard to avoid muscles soreness, as we push our bodies constantly to the limit to get better.
If you are currently plagued by calf soreness during and after running, this article is for you. We discuss the reasons why you might feel soreness in your calf muscles and what you can do to prevent and treat it. So, keep reading.
What Is Calf Soreness?
Like your lower leg muscles, the calf muscles are constantly stressed when running. So, it is natural that you may feel some soreness after running the calf muscles.
The soreness is usually caused by returning to running after a long layoff, a period of increased training, increased hill running, and a rapid increase in mileage.
However, the main cause of calf soreness from running can vary. Mild soreness may be caused by a lack of warm-up, a harder interval session on the track, or even a changing of shoes.
Moderate soreness can be caused by increased hill running, where more stress is placed on the calf muscles. Alternatively, it can also be caused by muscle imbalance and poor running technique.
However, when it comes to extreme soreness and swelling, it is usually caused by a strain or rapid increase in training volume.
When you increase your training load much faster than the body can recover from, the muscle ends up overloading and taking the majority of the stress. This results in swelling, pain, tension, and more.
Like any other injury or discomfort from running, it is important to identify the cause and prevent it from happening again.
Should I Run With Calf Soreness?
If you are suffering from mild or sporadic calf soreness after running it is usually ok to keep running. However, you may need to reduce your training volume until the symptoms disappear.
Alternatively, during this period, if your calf muscles become too painful to run. It is wise to stop running immediately or reduce the training load down. Doing so will allow adequate recovery for the calf muscles to heal and recover.
Even though soreness is normal when you are starting or increasing your mileage, there is a point where you need to reduce the training to allow proper recovery. If not done correctly you may find yourself dealing with chronic pain that can affect other areas of your life.
What Can Cause Calf Soreness In Runners?
Even though running has many benefits, such as improving your health, weight loss, cardiovascular fitness. It can take a toll on the body, especially the calf muscles. This is due to the high impact nature of running, and something that cannot be changed. However, by looking after the body (stretching, massage, and recovery) you can prevent muscle soreness from happening.
So, what can cause muscle soreness in runners?
The first is training load. A rapid increase in your weekly training volume is one of the most common causes of calf pain in runners. So, when you increase your training volume without the correct amount of recovery, it can cause the muscles to be overworked. This results in stiffness, tension, pain, and swelling in the muscle. While this may not happen to all runners, it is fairly common with runners that increase their training volume by more than 20% in a week.
Calf weakness and tightness is the next most common cause of calf soreness. Weak or tight calf muscles can only handle so much stress caused by running before they start to get damaged.
If you have tight calf muscles, you may find that it starts to affect your gait. Often tight muscles in the calves will force you to lift your heel from the ground earlier than needed. This can end up placing more pressure on your forefoot, resulting in overuse injuries.
Poor form or running technique is another cause behind calf soreness. When you suffer from biomechanical issues, your foot may not strike the ground correctly, causing extra strain on the calf muscles.
How To Treat Calf Soreness After A Run
If you are dealing with calf soreness right now, it is important to rest, and recover. By pushing through the pain, you may cause things to become worse.
So, how should you treat calf soreness after a run?
The first thing you should do if you are experiencing soreness is to apply ice to the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes. This should be repeated throughout the day three to four times. You should also consider visiting a sports masseuse, but not during the first 2 hours after the soreness has set in.
Foam rolling is another way if you don’t have access to a masseuse. Here is an exercise that can help relieve soreness an increase blood flow to the muscles.
If the pain lingers for more than a week with complete rest, ice and massages. You may need to visit a sports physiotherapist. They may try other techniques such as ultrasound, to help speed up the recovery process.
Calf Soreness After Running – Final Words
The best way to avoid calf soreness is to prevent overloading of the muscles. That means gradually building up your running volume and intensity, then pairing this with the correct amount of recovery between each workout.
Also regular massage and stretching can help keep the muscles supple and promote better mobility. This can help prevent tightness and stiffness that can result in sore calf muscles after a run.
If you are unsure whether you are increasing your training load too quickly, you may want to speak to a running coach. Doing so can help guide you in the right direction and make sure you aren’t placing too much stress on your muscles and body.