Whether you are a seasoned vet or a newbie, one of the most common issues runners deal with is calf pain. There are a few ways to combat the discomfort. The main way is by strengthening them which will prepare the muscles to properly sustain the load and strain on them while their being utilized.

Calf pain has been often caused by overuse from training, running too far too fast, or changing your running style. The running style can be form and even the shoes you wear. Some of the symptoms you may experience may be deep aching, cramps, sharp pain, and Achilles pain. Straining or tearing your calf muscle can happen as well from a sudden high impact muscle tension although it is less common than overuse injury.

Ways to Prevent Calf Pain While Running

As mentioned above, if you train too hard too fast you can easily injure your calf. We have to allow the musculature, supporting tendons and ligaments to adapt slowly.

To do so, you need to gradually increase the distance to your runs. It is a tried-and-true way that healthy runners who are pain free used. Below I left a generalized beginner running plan for reference.

  • Train three days a week
  • Run or run/walk 20 to 30 minutes, two days a week
  • Take a longer run or run/walk (40 minutes to an hour) on the weekend
  • Rest or cross-train on your off days
  • Run at a conversational pace
  • Consider taking regular walk-breaks

For individuals who have a BMI over 35 or you are over the age of 60, divide this template in half until you are able to reach these parameters in a healthy way.

If you are an experienced runner and are experiencing new calf pain, it still may be an overuse injury combined with a weak calf muscle.

Here are some strategies to help combat this:

Heel raises are a great exercise that will help strengthen the muscles of your calf as well as actively stretching it through its range of motion.

How to perform this exercise:

  • Place one or both hands on a supportive surface for balance.
  • Stand with equal weight on both feet.
  • Raise both heels.
  • Lower both heels simultaneously in a controlled manner.
  • If you do this exercise on a step further, increase the load with dumbbells or a loaded barbell and allow the heel to go deeper into the stretch.

You should gradually build to three sets of 15 repetitions allowing 1-2 minute rest periods between the sets.

Other exercises that you can do are cycling, jump rope, agility ladder, lunges, jumping jacks, and the list goes on.

Already Hurting?

If you are dealing with current pain and discomfort, coming into the office for Chiropractic care alongside instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization can help decrease the time you are dealing with the pain. Chiropractic can help with stiff joints throughout the body that wear on your calves. The soft tissue mobilization can significantly reduce symptoms due to its ability to break up scar tissue and fibrous adhesions that have been built up over time.

How to Get Help

I hope this helped answer some questions you may have had and if you or anyone you know are experiencing pain and would like to take the first steps toward getting relief, just call Atlas Chiropractic in Boulder at (303) 442-5911 and we’ll gladly get you scheduled for an appointment or feel free to fill out a web form here on our website. We look forward to helping you heal and get moving!


  • Dr. Cort Musolf, DC