Calf Pain & Recovery

Calf pain has scuppered many a promising run, and can be the result of many different causes, but with the correct care and attention, it can be easily avoided.

Sports involving running for long periods or even just a lot of leg movement could easily result in mild to severe calf pain. If they’re neglected after exercise, then that could cause a setback in training performance, which nobody wants. 

But, you won’t just find calf pain in the sporting arena. As many of those in the service industry will tell you, jobs where you’re often on your feet can result in stiffness and pain after long days. So if you’re someone who takes part in sports as well as these professions, that could be a recipe for disaster without proper care and attention.

Of course, anyone can be struck down by calf pain, but there are certain activities that will increase the risk.

Calf sleeves for running support and compression.

Who suffers from calf pain?

Of course, anyone can be struck down by calf pain, but there are certain activities that will increase the risk.

Runners

The most obvious would be running, with the increased impact and strain on the calf muscles causing mild to severe pain. Often, this pain is attributed to your run-of-the-mill muscle soreness, but sometimes, if the calf has been overworked, calf pain can be as a result of injury. So it’s important to keep an eye on calf pain that persists for longer than usual.

Workers with repetitive strain

Calf pain can also result from day-to-day use of the legs, especially if people work in jobs where they are on their feet a lot. Again, this kind of calf pain is usually easily rectifiable through rest, recuperation and perhaps some stretches focused on the lower legs.

Inactive people

Frustratingly, calf pain can be caused by inactivity as well as activity, so it does feel like we can’t really win when it comes to the calves. In the most serious cases, inactivity of the calf muscles could cause deep vein thrombosis, which would require medical attention. But it’s most likely just stiffness, which is easily rectified by stretching your legs.

Calves take most of the impact in sports which require a lot of running, so it’s no wonder they’re occasionally susceptible to pain, and there are a few common causes which regularly pop up.

Calf cycling compression support sleeves.

What are the causes? 

Calves take most of the impact in sports which require a lot of running, so it’s no wonder they’re occasionally susceptible to pain, and there are a few common causes which regularly pop up.

Cramp

The nemesis of runners everywhere, cramp can be caused by different factors, including dehydration or over-exertion of the calf muscles.

Calf cramp usually rears its ugly head late on in bouts of exercise, when electrolytes and fluids have not been sufficiently replaced, so it’s important when out for a run or partaking in sport to always stay hydrated. It’s also important to note that if you are beginning to feel moderate calf pain during a run, it would perhaps be wise to take the foot off the throttle to avoid injury.

Pain from cramp can last for a few hours after a run, even when the muscles have relaxed, so it’s important to stretch and massage the cramping muscle. This should be followed by an ice or heat pack. Both of these precautions should alleviate some of the effects of calf cramp.

Calf Strain

Calf muscle strains are a common source of calf pain in sportsmen and women, and can cause long term damage depending on their severity.

Calf strains can be chronic - stemming from long-term injury - or brief, as a result of over-working the muscles. Either way, symptoms, ranging from mild to severe calf pain as well as swelling can persist anywhere from a few days to six weeks following the strain.

It’s important after a calf strain to give the muscles time to heal and recover before getting back out on the exercise trail.

Sciatica  

The sciatic nerve runs all the way from your lower back to your feet, and when it is irritated or compressed, this can cause sciatica, a source of pain and discomfort. Sciatica is characterised by pain in the bottom, legs and feet and can manifest in calf pain, so it might be worth getting checked out if calf pain persists. 

This is a source of calf pain that won’t be fixed by rest alone, as sitting or lying down for long periods can cause sciatica symptoms to get worse. So if it is sciatica, make sure you stay active and ask your doctor for some sciatica-related stretches.

Achilles tendonitis 

The achilles tendon joins the calf muscles to the heel bone, so if this tendon becomes damaged during exercise, this could cause calf pain, especially in the lower part of the calf.

Tendonitis is caused by tiny tears in the fabric of the tendon, which often come about during long bouts of high-impact exercise, such as running. Calf pain from tendonitis could be a precursor to something far more serious, such as rupturing the achilles tendon. This is a dangerous, painful injury, which could cause long-term, irreversible damage. So it’s important, if you do feel calf pain from achilles tendonitis, to get it checked out as soon as possible.

Calf pain can’t always be easily fixed by simple remedies and may need further intervention, but it’s important to keep these in mind if you ever experience pain in the calves.

Calf compression support sleeves for running.

Remedies

Calf pain can’t always be easily fixed by simple remedies and may need further intervention, but it’s important to keep these in mind if you ever experience pain in the calves.

Rest

Always the first prescription for injury, rest can be the cure for many problems when it comes to calf pain, especially in cases of cramp and calf strains. If injuries to the calves ever occur, it’s important to take a load off for a few days to allow the injury to heal. However, when the symptoms start to fade, it’s important to slowly scale up activity to keep the muscles fresh.

Compression

Calf compression sleeves increase blood flow to the calves during exercise, lessening the risk of cramp or injury. This increase in blood flow drives oxygenated blood through the muscle group flushing out the lactic and toxins during exercise while also helping with inflammation and recover post exercise.  

Stretches

Thoroughly stretching after and warming up before exercise could prove the difference between a good run and a calf strain. It takes time, but it’s worth it if it saves the calves from pain. There are specific stretches which can be provided by a physio for sciatica sufferers.

Ice or Heat

When treating cramp, calf strains and other injuries which could be sources of calf pain, applying ice and heat packs to the affected area is useful for reducing swelling and alleviating pain and inflamation.

Exercise

Though it may seem counterproductive, given that exercise is very often the cause of calf pain, it can also provide relief, especially for sciatica sufferers. Gentle exercise eases the pain of sciatica, while long periods of sitting or lying down do the opposite. Gentle exercise is also useful when recovering from calf injuries, to increase strength in the muscles. 

 

Bearhug offers calf compression support sleeves, created using a unique bamboo yarn while providing compression to increase blood flow and avoid injury. Bamboo charcoal supports have been scientifically proven to increase blood flow when compared to ordinary supports.