Calf Strain: A Common Running Injury

calf strain

Imagine this, it’s a beautiful sunny day and you have decided to go for a nice run around the park. The birds are chirping, there is a perfect breeze, and then suddenly you feel a strong pull and burning sensation throughout your calf. It is possible that you have suffered a calf strain and it is very common, especially with runners. If you struggle from constant calf strains give us a call today to see how we can help. We are conveniently located in Merced and Atwater in Castle Air Base.

What is a Calf Strain?

A calf strain is an injury that occurs when the muscle at the back of the lower leg becomes damaged or inflamed due to excessive strain or force being placed on the calf muscle.

calf anatomy Calf Strain: A Common Running Injury

What Causes it?

  • Sudden large force or pressure to the calf
  • Overuse injury common in running and jumping activities
  • Excessive acceleration from stationary and lunging
  • Insufficient warm-up exercise

Symptoms- What you notice

  • Sudden pain in the calf muscle
  • Pain when resuming activity
  • Inability to bear weight n the injury
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Aching and stiffness
  • Abnormal appearance of the calf

Rehab and Prevention Tips:

The average time for a calf strain to heal is about 6 weeks. Here are some tips to help your recovery. 

  • Foam Roll Calves
  • Dynamic Ankle/Hip Mobility 
  • Adjust your gait 
  • Train your single leg balance with exercises such as hopping, jumping
  • Ice and Heat
  • Electrical Stimulation
  • Kinesio Tape


To learn about exercises that you can do at home please visit our Instagram and Facebook page for educational videos that will help. If you feel like you’re symptoms need further assistance, please give us a call and our Patient Care Coordinators can further assist you to check your benefits and what will be needed to be seen by one of our highly trained Physical Therapists.            



Bryan Dixon J. (2009). Gastrocnemius vs. soleus strain: how to differentiate and deal with calf muscle injuries. Current reviews in musculoskeletal medicine, 2(2), 74–77. DOI:10.1007/s12178-009-9045-8

Nquyen B, Brands E, Rubin DA. Pains, strains, and fasciculations: lower extremity muscle disorders. Magn Reson Imaging Clin N Am. 2000;8(2):391–408.


Magui Profile Calf Strain: A Common Running Injury

Created by: Margarita Perez, Director of Public Health Program Developer

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