Calf Pain

Calf pain can develop with a sudden injury (calf strain) but it can also develop over a period of time, with no obvious reason. The pain can be worse in the morning but activities such as running and sports will also not help.

We know that the calf is a complex group of tendons and muscles. These muscles and tendons combined with the ankle joint need to work in the correct biomechanical pattern or calf strains and calf pain can occur regularly, particularly in sportspeople.

The calf muscle needs good flexibility and requires a strong stable base to function. This base is usually provided by your knee, pelvis and hips. Pain, inflammation and wear and tear will develop if you keep using your calf while it is injured. This in turn causes you to develop poor movement patterns. You will develop altered walking and running styles. This in turn creates a “muscle imbalance,” reinforcing your poor gait causing further pain and inflammation, often in your knees and hips. Your calf can become stiff and tight.

A poor walking/ running style (gait) or poor biomechanics will become a habit and you will be consistently in pain and have stiff tight calf muscles. If you keep this “bad habit” you will continue to aggravate and irritate the calf and your pain will persist and will potentially get worse.

Treatment of your calf strain/ pain will make you feel better. However, if you have the pain treated (massage, mobilization, medications), but do not correct your biomechanics, your gait patterns and strength deficits, you are only receiving a “temporary relief” from your pain, and it is likely that your pain will reoccur. This is only short-term relief, and not a long-term solution.

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