Calf Strain is a strain of the calf muscles. You may feel this at the junction where the Achilles tendon blends into the muscle or right in the muscle itself. Symptoms usually develop during a race or hard work out. You may be able to run just fine at slower speeds and shorter distances, but as the distance or speed increases; watch out - it can bite. Be sure to fully recover before resuming progressive training.
- See Principles of Recovery.
- Gentle stretching of the calf muscles will accelerate healing. Perform the bent and straight knee calf stretches two to three times per day. See bent calf stretches and straight knee calf stretches.
- Massage is helpful in reducing the initial pain. I usually wait two or three days before using a deeper massage.
- Proper strengthening of the calf muscles is essential for a complete recovery from a calf strain. Let the calf recover for at least three days before starting a strengthening program. Try standing on the edge of a step, slowly lower your heel over the edge, and then return to the start position. Emphasize the lowering phase of this exercise. Perform this exercise for twenty to thirty repetitions with the knee straight and then with it slightly bent. Add weights if you are not fatigued after thirty repetitions. This exercise is presented as part of the sequence in The Injured Runner – A Balanced Solution.
- Jumping rope is an excellent exercise to strengthen the calf after the pain is completely gone. Start with 20 hops with both feet, then 20 on your left foot then tweny on your right foot. Increase to 30, 40, 50 etc as your strength improves. Skipping this phase leads to compensations so be sure to feel equally confident hopping on each foot before returning to aggressive training.
- Physical therapy treatments such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation may also be used to speed recovery.