Step by Step: How to Handle Calf Pain When You Run
One of the most common problems for runners is calf pain. The two muscles on the backside of the lower leg are the chief area that will become painful when running. This pain could be a sharp burst or a dull ache. Calf muscles can rip and tear if you've been increasing the intensity of your workouts suddenly, or run without warming up properly first. To reduce pain, you'll need to take steps to change some of your running habits completely while others will need to be adjusted temporarily.
This step starts before you begin your run. You'll need to stretch your muscles before a workout. Begin each run by sitting on the ground and doing a calf stretch. Bend one knee and keep the other leg straight. Lift the straight leg slightly off the ground. Point and flex the foot slowly. The toes should slowly point to the ceiling then point forward towards the horizon. You should do 20 repetitions on each leg before the workout.
If you'd rather stand for your stretch, you can do lunges. Instead of bouncing in and out of the lunge, you can slowly bring one leg to the front and squat down to feel the stretch in your back leg. Make the lunge as deep as possible but don't bounce. Hold it for 30 seconds then switch legs.
Before, during, and after your workout, you have to stay hydrated. If you notice muscle cramps when you're resting or sleeping at night, the cause could be dehydration. Drink plenty of water during the run and add sports drinks to your routine if you've pushed yourself during that day's work out.
If you're noticing continued pain in your calves due to tightness, you can add lifts in the heel area of your running shoes. It'll keep the calf stretched during the run, but make sure to do stretches prior to the run as well since these alone won’t keep the stretch going for long.
Adjust Your Stride
When you put more pressure on the front of the foot and less on the heel, you're going to see more straining and pain in the calf. Try to ensure your entire foot has the same amount of pressure and hits the ground with the same amount of force.
Any pain that continues means you should see a doctor. It can mean a chronic problem, or even a blood clot. Enlarged veins in the leg can cause pain, so make sure to visit a vein center if the problem persists. By stretching, warming up, and not pushing yourself too hard, you should be able to prevent most calf pain.
Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy. For more information on spider veins or enlarged veins, check out procedures you can get at an Ivein center.