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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown

Janet Aylott

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant


Calf pain!

Hi, just a quicky on my C25k (Couch to 5k running program). Since week 5 I have had pain in my inside left calf and going up to the main calf. Thought it was cramp at first but still painful 3 weeks later. It may have been coming off a pavement! Tried stretching, anti-inflammatories, massage, rest for few days, but when I jog again it's ok for first 10 minutes then starts up again. It's like hard balls in my calf and very tender and painful. It hurts to slowly stretch it, and not sure if I should be doing this? I don't want to lose my fitness as I am enjoying the running and I am very comfortable now running for 30 minutes and previously I was a couch potato! Any help or advice? Thanks, Jacqui


Our expert says...

Hi Jacqui,

The calf is such a dominant muscle in running and gets put through a lot of impoact and workload making calf injuries very common. Getting rid of them, however, can be fiddly unless a specific and rigid method of treatment and recovery is followed.

- Immediately after (and in the 12 hours that follow), you experience pain you should follow the R.I.C.E principles (Rest, Ice, Compression and elevation).

- Then you should seek sports massage (as you have already mentioned) to remould and reset any muscle spasm or damage caused to the tissue. This will reset flexibility and help prevent it re-injuring and this can be combined with the initiation of effective calf stretches (this guidance can be given by the sports therapist).

-when it starts to feel better you need to start back to exercise with non-impact exercise – cycling, x-trainer or walking (so low impact), swimming


- Three to seven days post massage, try a gentle jog-walk-jog – keep it short and revert to walking only if you feel any pain.

- Repeat the above process until you can keep building up the jogging aspect with no pain.

Also, ensure that your ‘warm up’ is adequate for preparing your muscles prior to running (i.e. walking to fast walking for 5-15minutes to start with) as this will increase muscle temperature and blood flow to the muscle improving flexibility and preparing for greater impact.

Hope this helps,


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