Sore Calves From Running, Jogging and Exercise

Sore Calves From Running, Jogging and Exercise

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Your calves may be sore if you run too far on your first try.

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It's not automatically a bad thing when your calves are sore after you run, jog or perform calf raises or a similar exercise. If you feel pain during your activity your body is telling you to stop. But if you feel soreness the next day, your calves may just be adapting to the activity. Consider the timing and the amount of pain as you decide how to respond to your sore calves.

Expect the Delay

Soreness that begins the day after an activity is called delayed onset muscle soreness, and its cause can vary. DOMS typically occurs when you exercise a muscle that's been inactive or you increase your exercise intensity. Activities such as performing calf raises for the first time or jogging much farther than your normal distance, may make you sore the next day.

Beware of Injury

Unless you've suffered an injury, any soreness you feel in your calves during exercise or a run should dissipate shortly after the activity ends. Seek medical attention, however, if the soreness doesn't stop, particularly if you only feel pain in one calf, as that may signal that you've sustained an injury.

Deal with DOMS

There's no fast cure for DOMS. You can try applying ice to your calves, massaging them, stretching them gently or simply taking a pain killer. The only sure way to relieve the soreness is to rest your calves until the pain disappears. Avoid running, jogging and calf exercises for one to three days, and the soreness will typically lighten, and then go away completely. Once the soreness is gone, the same level of activity should cause less soreness, or no soreness at all, as your body adapts to the activity.

Prevent Sore Calves

The best way to deal with sore calves is to prevent them from becoming sore in the first place. Warm up before your activity with at least five minutes of light aerobic exercise. Stretching your calves may help as well, although the jury is still out on that point. But stretching won't hurt, either, so do some dynamic calf stretches - such as heel and toe walks - before your next run or calf workout.

Do static stretches after your workout. To stretch your calves, assume a split stance with one foot in front of you and one behind. Straighten your rear knee, keeping your feet flat on the floor and bend your front knee until you feel the stretch in your rear calf. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat it with the other leg. Begin a new running, jogging or calf workout program at a low intensity and then build it gradually to avoid overloading your calves.