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7404 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Jun 8, 2012 2:52 PM by YeukeiNg
ktsand1 Rookie 2 posts since
May 16, 2012
Currently Being Moderated

May 16, 2012 2:25 PM

New runner with calf pain... help?

I have been running (if you could call it that) for just short of 4 months around 3 times per week. About a month and a half ago my legs started hurting like crazy after running. My shins and even my calves hurt. I took it easy for a week or so and made sure I was stretching and icing my shins when I was finished. Almost immediately the pain in my shins was gone but the pain in my calves continued to worsen. I noticed when I did my 5K a few weeks ago that I would have to slow to a walk due to the pain. However if I walked longer than 30 seconds, the pain was worse & I had to start running again. When at its worst, I would wake up at night due to the throbbing in my legs for up to 2 days after running. I haven't run much in the last couple of weeks and it seems to be improving but I don't want to over do it or just give up altogether. A friend mentioned to me that it could be lactic acid build up. Any thoughts or advice for this newbie?

  • Jasko123 Legend 461 posts since
    Apr 18, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. May 16, 2012 3:00 PM (in response to ktsand1)
    New runner with calf pain... help?

    I think it may depend on the location of the pain in your calfs because more toward the bottom could indicate achilles tendinitis.  Initially, I would say evaluate your shoes first and try compression calf socks to assist with circulation.  Also, try elevating your legs at night, but follow up with a professional regarding the possibilitiy of nerve damage/compression or spinal issues if the pain is waking you from sleep.  It is important to describe the type, location and severity of the pain to your doctor or sports PT because muscle cramping, for example, could simply be the result of a potassium deficiency in your diet or there could be something more serious going on. 


    Hope this helps and wishing you all the best.

  • Revel in Running Amateur 8 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. May 17, 2012 11:54 AM (in response to ktsand1)
    New runner with calf pain... help?

    Get yurself a pair of calf sleeves, you'll be amazes at how much they help.

  • LaraJeanL Rookie 3 posts since
    May 23, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. May 23, 2012 9:09 AM (in response to ktsand1)
    New runner with calf pain... help?

    Often, shin splints are the result of overuse, increase in mileage, or tight calves. It is smart to continue to rest and ice as your pain increases, but I undrestand your frustration at stopping alltogether. Using preventative measures like stretching or support (heel cups or supportive shoes) may help you decrease your pain without bringing your running habits to a halt.


    There are a few great products that I use to keep my calves loose before/after I run. The ProStretch Plus is a stretching tool that helps stretch the calf, achilles, and foot--this will help increase the flexibility throughout your lower leg (also great in case your problem does not root where the pain is ocurring). If your issue is lactic acid build up, self-massage therapy rolling is very helpful to bring oxygen and blood flow back to damaged areas where build-up occurs. The RangeRoller is a massage roller stick that allows you to roll out the tight or tender areas. Both products are portable and easy to use. Good luck!

  • EMTTrix Pro 60 posts since
    May 20, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. May 23, 2012 11:42 AM (in response to ktsand1)
    New runner with calf pain... help?

    Stretching, stretching, stretching!  Pre and post run stretching is very important!  Also water & electrolyte repelenishing after running.  I also suggest foam rolling.  I didn't realize what a huge impact it can have on muscle fatigue and muscle soreness.  If you dont already, regular strength training will help too, the more you build those muscles for endurance, the better they will handle distance runs.  Hope that helps

    Weight Loss 32 lbs loss to date (since 01/2012)

    5k Races 2011

    Chicago Monster Dash 10/29/2011 - 53:10

    5k Races 2012

    Chicago Polar Dash 1/21/2012 - 49:00

    Hartland Healthy Life 5/19/2012 - 43:08

    Summerfest Rock 'n Sole 6/23/2012 - 39:56 PR

    Run with Wolfes 9/16/2012 -

    Susan G. Komen 9/23/2012 -

    Chicago Monster Dash 10/21/2012 -

    7k-10k Races 2012

    Chicago Get Lucky 3/18/2012 - 1:01:36

    Obstacles/Mud Runs 2012

    Dirty Girl Mud Run (WI) - 8/19/2012

    Keep on keepin' on!

  • mp0363 Rookie 1 posts since
    Feb 20, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. May 23, 2012 5:15 PM (in response to ktsand1)
    New runner with calf pain... help?

    hydration, strength training, foam rolling, stretching (or not), and of course, RICE when you have to, but the issue IME was simply poor form. If you are running upright? then you need to start leaning forward so that you stop overusing your lower legs.


    Lean fwd from the ankles, they say. It was my cure! No more calf cramping!!

  • mizjean Rookie 5 posts since
    Oct 29, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. May 23, 2012 7:32 PM (in response to ktsand1)
    New runner with calf pain... help?

    Agree w/mp0363......Read Chi Running.  You will see comments that click and make you think about what you're doing. Takes a bit of practice to learn to retrain self.  Worth it.

  • Gregory_X Rookie 7 posts since
    Mar 27, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. May 23, 2012 8:26 PM (in response to ktsand1)
    Re: New runner with calf pain... help?

    My input: barefoot / minimalist / Chi / Pose low-impact, high-cadence running; daily stretching (yoga) essential but NOT necessarily before and after running; good diet and water as often as thirsty if not more.



    The story:


    I went through some debilitating versions of this within a few months of getting back to running (after 20 years of not running). Time off helped; but I'd end up back there again after a while. Maybe I trained too hard, didn't stretch enough, didn't ice enough... maybe it was just part of the process of putting those muscles to work after so much time of not really working them... no way of knowing.


    After hearing and trying ALL the above advice - and trying all of the ice / rest / stretch / water / electrolyte / etc - I was a little discouraged to learn that the going expectations - from ALL running research - is that injuries are nearly a given. I figured if that's the best the experts could assure me, I'd give the whack-os a run for their money. I decided to try out this "barefoot" and "minimalist" thing - if the idea of it reducing these types of injuries was BS, how much worse off might I be? Not much, probably.


    I started by trying the "Chi" and "Pose" approaches while still wearing my motion-control shoes. That was challenging; but not too bad... and not really rewarding. I was too much of a sissy to go full-hog - and love running fast (for me) too much to slow down for full-on barefoot - so I got some Nike Free 3.0s (back when they were much more minimal than they are now). I still got soreness and injuries, but the trend has been toward less and less of them - and zero shin / knee / and low-back pain. All the other injuries / pains seem to be less and farther between.


    I have found a significant difference in pains if I do my daily yoga / stretching routine; but zero correlation whether I stretch before and/or after running; warming up a bit and cooling down a bit seem to be more than enough without stretching. But that's with daily 20-minutes of stretching at some other time.


    That's the background to my input: barefoot / minimalist / Chi / Pose low-impact, high-cadence running; daily stretching (yoga) essential but NOT necessarily before and after running; good diet and water as often as thirsty if not more.

    < run exclusively racing flats; 60-90 miles in 6-7 days per week; train on trails, roads, tracks >

    Results - at 46-years-old:

    8/2012 - Mile 4:47

    3/2014 - 5K 16:12

    11/2013 - 10K 34:55

    10/2013 - Half Marathon 1:19:22

    12/2013 - Marathon 2:52:05

    (I kinda feel silly posting this stuff - but I realize when I read posts that it helps me understand who's posting.)

  • Joseph Tree Legend 378 posts since
    Oct 22, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. May 24, 2012 6:42 AM (in response to Gregory_X)
    New runner with calf pain... help?

    G_X, I think you are on the right track. 


    Most of the OP's troubles can be laid at the door of poor form, and without conscious attention to it there will be endless repetions of pain, injury, and interruptions in training.


    KTSAND1, do your homework to fine tune your form and you'll run much more happily. 


    Good luck!

    Barefoot / Minimalist Runner

    ...not maintaining this these days..

    07/29/2012 Marsh Creek Raptor Run 10 Mile Trail Race

    07/15/2012 Quadzilla 15K Trail Run, Trexlertown, PA 1:37 (2011, 1:49)

    04/29/2012 Lehigh Valley / St. Luke's HM, 1:43:15 (2011, 1:54:20 )

    03/19/2012 Kutztown Fool's Run 10 Miler, 1:18:15 (2011, 1:30:20)

    02/26/2012 Ugly Mudder 7.2 Mile Trail Run, Reading, PA 1:20

    11/27/2011 Dirty Bird 15K Trail Run, Birdsboro, PA 1:40

    10/08/2011 Lehigh Gap Nature Center 10K Trail Run (6.38 miles), 59:20 (10/07/2012)

    Started running (again) May 5, 2010

  • RunnersSole Rookie 1 posts since
    May 31, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. May 31, 2012 6:59 AM (in response to ktsand1)
    New runner with calf pain... help?

    Honestly, as a runner I struggle with calf pain as well.  I usually stretch as much as possible before and after running.


    I also swear by the Moji 360, which is a massage device-thing for athletes.  I bought mine maybe a month ago and it really helps with muscle cramping and soreness, especially when I use it after my run.


    Hope this helps!

  • librazone Rookie 6 posts since
    Jun 1, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Jun 1, 2012 3:59 PM (in response to ktsand1)
    New runner with calf pain... help?

    Its best to analyze your running style to give yourself a better idea of what is causing the calf strain. Are you landing on your toes, are you running hills, are you using shoes that contribute to calf strain such as ASICS gel shoes. And are you stretching both the gastrocnemius and the soleus. Many people forget to stretch the soleus.

  • MarcRiley Rookie 1 posts since
    May 18, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Jun 8, 2012 5:50 AM (in response to ktsand1)
    New runner with calf pain... help?

    Just like all the others, I was going to suggest some things such as stretching/hydration/calf sleeves/etc.  Those are the things I improved upon to help my calf issues.  Of course my problems were a bit different from yours and pretty certain it was muscular in nature.  Yours sounds different and you should probably see your doctor about it.  Hopefully you didn't listen to too much of the advice that was given because some of it may cause more harm to whatever the issue is.  The one person who mentioned a lactic acid build up might be on to something.  However, this isnt the regular build up from normal exercise.  Sounds like some sort of chemical imbalance, but I'm not a doctor!  That's why I suggested seeing a professional...

  • YeukeiNg Rookie 1 posts since
    Jun 8, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Jun 8, 2012 2:52 PM (in response to ktsand1)
    New runner with calf pain... help?

    Hi!  We are seekingsome male runners with Achilles Tendon Pain. We really need your urgent help. Very appreciated!




    I am a Ph.D. student at the Division of Biokinesiology andPhysical Therapy, University of Southern California. I am conducting a researchstudy about Achilles tendon function and how it affects movement. I amcurrently looking for participants for this study who are (1) male runners (atleast 10 miles per week) within 18 to 59 years of age, (2) do or do not havehistory of Achilles tendon pain, and (3) do not have other illness orconditions affecting their lower legs.

    The study will require one testing session for four hours(on USC, health science campus), which will include ultrasound imaging of theAchilles tendons, tendon stiffness measurement as well as hopping analysesthrough motion capture.


    If you think you might be interested in participating inthis study, please contact me for more details. My contact information isprovided below.

    Thank you for your time and consideration,




    Yu-Jen (Eugene) Chang, M.S., P.T.

    Ph.D. student

    Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy

    University of Southern California

    1540 East Alcazar Street, CHP-155

    Los Angeles, CA 90089

    323-442-2948 (Office)

    626-592-1203 (Cell)

    323-442-1515 (FAX)

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