Friday, January 20, 2017

How to Treat Calf Pain

This may be one of those posts that's more for myself than anyone else. Because having bricks for calves was a new injury for me, I wasn't sure how best to treat it. I tried a lot of different things, but now that I've been calf-pain-free for two weeks, here's what I found works well for me, in case it ever happens again.

1. Extended Rest. I really didn't want to admit I needed this, but of everything else I did, it made the biggest difference. Taking two weeks almost completely off really helped.
The last half of December was spent not running. Boo.
2. Stretching. Duh. I hate how much time quality stretching takes up, but it's worth it in the end. Down-dog and heel drops will now be a part of my post-run routine.
3 & 4. Massage (TENS Unit and Foam Roller). I broke out the handheld TENS Unit my sister got me last Hanukkah and let it do its thing. Using the foam roller also works for me, but sometimes I'm too lazy to put the effort in. I like that the electric massage lets me control the level of stimulation and I can sit back and relax while it works.
5. Heat. I had tried icing my calf, but someone commented and recommended I try a heating pad. (I'm sorry I can't remember who this was because the suggestion was genius and I'd like to give you credit!) When I start to feel my calves getting a little achey or sensitive, I turn on the heating pad and it really mellows out my muscles!
Hopefully stretching, massage, and heat therapy will be good preventative measures so I never have to use the first option again!

What treatments do you swear by for treating aches and pains?

Linking up for today's Friday Five 2.0!



  1. I'm glad you figured out what works for you because calf issues are the worst! You can't enjoy a single step of a run when they're bothering you. My calf issues are INTENSE tightness that eventually becomes painful... but then dissipates. Usually if I can push myself through 2 to 2.5 miles my calves will at some point magically stop hurting.

    To help ease the tightness at the beginning of a run I've found the only thing that helps me is wearing compression socks as often as possible and to eat less salt. I think my calves swell up when I eat salty things. This is purely speculation based on things I've observed, but the day after I eat a (salty) meal out my calves feel the worst!

  2. What do you think caused the tightness in the first place? Sounds painful. I get charley horses sometimes and those leave lingering pain for quite a while!

  3. I have tried those TENS Unit at Expos and I did not like them. I felt like they were shocking me!

  4. I've thought about getting one of those tens units to help with plantar fasciitus I wonder if it would help?!

  5. The TENS machines freak me out too much, but it is hard to target my calves with the foam roller. I try to get a massage once in a while to let a professional torture me.

  6. The foam roller is a PITA. But it works so...

    Heel drops can be dangerous for your achilles. Just be careful!

  7. The foam roller and heat are definitely great for calf pain!

  8. I also have begun to have this same calf pain where they feel like bricks. I always forget to foam roll, but I do toes presses.
    I also never remember when to ice and when to heat! -M

  9. Merlot. Meloxicam. And more Merlot.

  10. I stretch, unless something is aggravated. Then I try NOT to stretch too much. But obviously it just depends! Some things do feel good to stretch while others don't. My "normal" stretching routine I consider my "prehab"!