Pain in the calf

The inspiration for this month’s blog is a dear friend of mine…

Much to my surprise and delight a few months ago a friend shared with me that he had signed up for the Standard Chartered ½ marathon. 

Why the surprise? He doesn’t run…I mean at all… 

Why the delight? Good on him for challenging himself.

Approximately 1 month to the big day we crossed pathways again but unfortunately he had informed me that he injured his calf. 

Now I really truly mean this as I type this out… 

…I-felt-gutted-for-him.  

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Living in the red dot, I feel as though I am surrounded by marathons and fun runs every weekend of the year, great I say…numerous opportunities to break some old habits and create new ones (coming from the non-runner me). We often see men and women in the clinic spurred on by an abundance of enthusiasm and resolution, throwing themselves into training for the next big run only to be met with a road block of excruciating calf pain.

Up to 46% of recreational distance runners will experience a lower limb injury during their training, men more likely than women (SMA 2006). Common risk factors include age, running distance and previous injury (Van Gent 2007). 

In my opinion, calf pain can mean 1 of 2 things when you are training for long distance run- either the muscle(s) are failing because they have been overloaded or they lack endurance.

Every muscle has a different level of strength and endurance and when we exceed that point the muscle will usually become painful and/or tight (signal: call the Physio!)

The first question I often ask is: what has changed recently? Have you changed: shoes, running terrain, instensity, distance, time, speed, etc.…Or have you added gym based training into the regime on your rest days which has possibly overloaded a muscle that actually needs a day off?

Things to consider:

  • Adequate rest

  • Adequate hydration 

  • Gradual increases in training (I mean if you don’t know how to swim, you are not going to jump into the deep end, right?), including strengthening, balance training 

  • Stretching - post session: gastrocnemius and soleus muscles  

  • Appropriate footwear

  • Optimising running style- a good Physio can assess this for you

If you are struggling with calf pain that is impacting your performance, book an appointment to see one of the team to get you ready for the next Singapore marathon! Call 8721 9972 or email info@ifcpt.com.