Calf muscle pain cause and treatment with exercises for relief

Calf muscle pain is a common injury among all sorts of people. It can either be a strain, sprain, or a tear.

I’ll explain the cause of your calf muscle pain, the difference between a sprain, strain, or tear, and how to treat it with exercises.

I show every exercise in an easy-to-understand video.

Let’s get you up and running again as fast as possible.

Today, you will learn the following:

  1. Calf muscle pain cause
  2. Calf muscle pain symptoms
  3. Calf muscle pain treatment with three exercises

So let’s start!

Calf muscle pain cause and treatment with 3 exercises for relief

Calf muscle pain cause

First of all, I’ll show you exactly where you can find your calf muscle and what its function is.

Many people think your calf muscle is located purely at your lower leg.

But this is not entirely true. Your calf muscle originates from the lower part of your upper leg, at the backside.

It runs down over the back of your knee. It attaches to your Achilles tendon at 2/3 down your lower leg, eventually ending at your heel bone.

Your calf muscle consists of 2 parts: the medial and the lateral section.

Because it runs over both your knee and your ankle joint, its function is bending your knee and extending your ankle.

Below your calf muscle, there is another muscle called the soleus muscle. This muscle only runs over your lower leg and also ends in the Achilles tendon.

A calf muscle sprain, strain, or tear is most often located at the lateral part of your calf muscle.

The cause of calf muscle pain is overuse or weakness of your calf muscle. But also, too much tension on the muscle can cause calf muscle pain.

Calf muscle problems can also cause Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis problems.

But here, I will only discuss calf muscle problems, so let’s continue with the symptoms. I’ll also show you here the difference between a strain, sprain, or tear.

calf muscle tear

Calf muscle pain symptoms

The symptoms of your calf muscle pain depend on the severity of your problem. The more severe the pain and swelling, the longer your recovery will take.

This way, you can differentiate between them. It will also tell you what the recovery time will be.

In general, you will feel a sharp, stabbing pain a first. That will later change into a throbbing pain in rest or when you use the muscle during walking. The amount of swelling and coloring depends on the severity.


Calf muscle strain

A calf muscle strain causes a little discomfort and tightness in your calf muscle.

From the outside, you usually don’t see anything. But when you try to put pressure on your calf muscle, you feel a slight stretch and discomfort.

You will feel this, especially during walking or running.

The calf muscle strain recovery time is somewhere between 1-2 weeks.


Calf muscle sprain

A calf muscle strain is a little more severe than a strain. Discomfort is more significant during walking, and running is not possible.

You can notice some swelling around your calf muscle and sometimes also some coloring. It indicates that there is minor damage. The color is the blood that came free.

The recovery time for a calf muscle sprain is about 2-4 weeks.


Calf muscle tear

The most limiting injury is a calf muscle tear. A calf muscle tear means a rupture in the majority of the muscle.

The bigger the tear, the more coloring and swelling you will see. Also, walking is pretty much impossible.

The recovery time of a calf muscle tear ranges from 6 weeks to 3 months, depending on the size of the damage.

Luckily, a calf muscle injury is easily treatable by yourself.

It doesn’t matter if it is a strain, sprain, or a tear.

Calf muscle pain treatment with 3 exercises

The most important thing to do first is to give your calf muscle a little rest for the first five days.

You should only walk short distances that don’t aggravate your pain too much.

You can also speed up your recovery by massaging the painful calf. It will result in improved blood supply, which will help the repair of the muscle.

Another quick way to relieve the pain is by using this anti-inflammatory crème. That will reduce the pain, which will make it easier for you to start the following exercises.

These exercises are designed to restore the strength of your calf muscle, so it functions normally again.

These exercises also help you to treat plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis.

Calf muscle pain treatment with 3 exercises for fast relief

Calf muscle pain exercise 1: stretching your calf muscle

The first exercise is designed to increase the length of your calf muscle.

When you’re calf muscle gets damaged it contracts which causes your calf muscle to shorten. It results in less loadability and reduces the recovery speed of the injury.

By stretching the muscle, you’ll help the body to repair the muscle and make it easier for you to walk.

You can perform the exercise like this:

  • Place your injured leg behind your healthy leg
  • Keep your heel on the ground, and your knee extended
  • Bend the knee of your healthy leg
  • Push your hips forward until you feel stretch in your calf muscle
  • Hold this for 20 seconds and repeat it three times

In this video you can also see how to perform the exercise.

Perform this exercise several times a day. It’s oke to feel mild discomfort when doing the exercise, but after that, the pain should disappear within a few minutes

calf muscle pain exercise 1 stretching your calf muscle

Calf muscle pain exercise 2: stretching your Achilles tendon

The second exercise is designed to stretch your Achilles tendon. Because your calf muscle is attached to your Achilles tendon, your Achilles tendon is affected by any problem occurring in your calf muscle.

It can cause the Achilles tendon to stiffen, which will affect the recovery of your calf muscle.

You can do the following exercise to prevent this:

  • Place your injured leg behind your healthy leg
  • Keep your heel on the ground and bend your knee
  • Put your weight entirely on your injured leg
  • You will feel the stretch in your Achilles tendon
  • Hold this for 20 seconds en repeat it three times

In this video you can also see how to perform the exercise.

Repeat this exercise several times a day.

calf muscle pain exercise 2 stretching your achilles tendon

Calf muscle pain exercise 3: Regaining the strength of your calf muscles

The third and last exercise is designed to regain the strength of your calf muscles.

When the pain in your leg decreases, and you’re able to walk normal again, it’s time to train your calf muscle to regain full strength again.

You can do the following exercise to achieve this:

  • Place your feet on shoulder weight next to each other
  • Now stand on your toes and slowly come down again
  • Repeat this ten times and do this three times

If this is to easy or you don’t feel any action in your calf muscle, you can also perform the exercise on just your injured leg.

In this video you can also see how to perform the exercise

You might feel mild discomfort during or after the exercise, but this pain should disappear within 1 hour. Otherwise, you should reduce the number of repetitions until it does feel comfortable.

calf muscle pain exercise 3 regaining the strength of your calf muscles


You can see that with just a few simple exercises your calf muscle pain will disappear within a few weeks. If you have any question left, feel free to send me an e-mail.

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