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Calf Assessment

As a self-guided first step, the goal is to identify the source of calf pain based on common symptoms related to Calf Strain. The following will direct you to more information about common causes, which will help inform your next steps in the ARC Running process: Rehabilitation and Conditioning. At any point, you are welcome to schedule a personal assessment with our PT.

Calf Strain (Adobe Stock)

Calf strains are common among runners. Through excessive loading and tensile forces, the calf may break down with microtears in the muscle. Immediate pain sometimes occurs with a sensation of a “pop” during a quick acceleration or deceleration; yet a strain can also occur with overuse, characterized by chronic pain that comes on more gradually with activity. Recurrence rates of calf strains are high if not managed well. Common symptoms include:

  • Tenderness to touch, with sensation of fluid and swelling around the muscle
  • Pain with walking or going up on toes
  • Pain with stretching the calf
  • Bruising may appear shortly afterward
  • Two primary muscles that comprise the calf are the gastrocnemius and soleus, both of which are attached to the ankle (calcaneus) via the Achilles tendon.
  • The purpose of the calf is to help propel the runner and help with preventing the knee from swaying forward by adding stability. 
  • Because the gastrocnemius is a two-joint muscle (crosses the ankle and knee), it is prone to being strained and overstretched, with the most common area of injury on the inside (medial) head of the gastrocnemius.
Legs-Calves (Flickr) - Labeled

Still Need Help?

You are welcome to meet virtually with our PT for additional feedback and assessment. Otherwise, continue to the next step to assess potential causes of your pain.