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Why Calves Hurt From Running

written by: Nicholas • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 8/31/2009

There are many reasons that you could be experiencing calf muscle pain from running. Most likely it's not anything severe. Here are some common causes for calves hurting when running.

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    Natural Exercise Soreness

    Running can bring just as much soreness and muscle pain as any other workout. This is because it is a very high impact exercise. When you run for long distances, your joints and leg muscles are put under a prolonged amount of strain. All of the strain will naturally cause workout pains, such as your calf muscles hurting.

    Calf muscle pain is normally felt when someone is just starting out running. For example, when football players start pre-season practice after an entire summer off; it always takes them some time to fully adjust to the practices again. Many teams have their players run hills and do several other drills that put a tremendous amount of work on the calves.The same goes for tennis players, track runners, etc...

    In situations like this, calves hurting from running is natural and not really preventable. It will take time for your body to adjust to working that hard on a consistent basis. However, the best thing you can do to prevent soreness during any type of exercise is to to warm up properly.

    The best warm ups to prevent your calves hurting from running are standing toe touches and the hurdler stretch. Standing toe touches are pretty self-explanatory. While standing, place both feet together and slowly reach down with your arms and touch your toes (making sure that you do not bend your knees). To do the hurdler stretch, sit straight up on the ground with one leg extended straight from your body and the other bent with the base of your foot touching your extended leg. Slowly reach forward and touch your extended foot, hold, then alternate feet.

    Also, it would be a good idea to build muscle in your calves if you are getting sore from your running workouts. One great exercise for this is tip toe exercises. To do this exercise, get a moderately heavy dumbell for each hand. Stand flat footed with good posture and simply stand up on your tippy toes, then slowly go back down to level foot. Repeat this exercise doing 4 sets of 10 reps.

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    Other Pain

    If you have been running on a regular basis, and are still feeling pain in the calf muscles, then it could be a more severe problem such as torn muscle. Normally, if you suffer from any kind of torn or pulled muscle you will know right away. You will feel more of an unbearable moderate to intense pain in your calves just by putting pressure on your foot. If you have a torn muscle, you need to stay off of your feet for several weeks until the calf muscle fully heals.

    If the pain is more of a sharp sporadic on/off feeling, then chances are that you are just getting cramps in your calves. To avoid cramps, drink more liquids and be sure to stay well hydrated before workouts.

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    Calves Hurting

    Chances are very likely that you are just experiencing natural muscle soreness due to exercise. Be sure to use the warm up techniques every day for a couple weeks. After this time, if your calf muscle pain has not decreased then you should seek attention from a physician.