Calf pain

May 24, 2022


I’m no where near your clinic but I’d appreciate any guidance/support… Which I know is hard without actually seeing me.

I’m 28, I play 6 aside football for 1 hour once a week on a Thursday with NO pain. I’m active at the gym 5-6 days a week and I’m very conscious of strengthening areas of weakness and improving but also ensuring I get enough recovery/rest in as I know how strenuous 1 hour of football can be on 4G pitches.

The issue I’ve got & had for years is I get a throbbing pain in my calves for 3-5 days after the day of the football, specifically in the side of the calves in between the calf & shin bone. I keep getting palmed off with the “it’s probably shin splints” but there is no pain in my shins and I’ve had a few physios rule this out but without actually diagnosing the issue. To re-iterate… I play football without any pain at all from start to finish… If I try and play more than once a week or even go for a run the pain is there… It’s more prominent when I push off my toes and I can feel it when I do lunges in the gym… Again if within 3-5 days of playing football and then the pain goes.

I hope that’s enough info and I do hope you can give me any suggestions!



May 24, 2022

Hi Sami – that’s more than enough infomation for me to be able to help you…

I don’t think this is shin splints per se, but it is a similar type issue involving a muscle called tibialis posterior that runs on the inside of your shin, but attches/starts on the outside.

Anything that “warms up” or gets better with activity only to do you in a few days down the road is due to a chronic inflammation tyep situation. Ice wont really help or will stretching, but getting better control of your foot posture and specifically strenghtning this muscle will.

Why you feel it when you push off with your toes is because it works to try to work/stabilise your foot and when you lunge your stretch it.

Have a look here

and this is quiet handy for understanding foot function

Hope this helps – give it a good few weeks.

The Guru

Guru Responded
May 24, 2022


Thankyou for getting back to me, I really appreciate it.

When looking at a diagram of where this muscle runs, It’s exactly where I’m feeling pain which is great… Although I’m trying not to get too excited as you can imagine!

I’ll give these exercises a go, how often should I do them? Daily or every other day?

I can stand on one foot for a good amount of time with pretty good stability, as soon as I add that book into the mix my balance goes completely and I can hardly stand on one foot, which I guess is a sign of weakness in that area?

I also suffer from Plantar Fasciitis so I was not surprised to see a video on this!

On top of the exercises you’ve mentioned, is it worth still continuing with calf work at the gym? Seated & Standing to strengthen calves/ankle/foot?



May 25, 2022

That’s all good news Sami!

These exercises need to be done little and often – 4 or 5 times a day. Whilst your tib post may be weak (and so needs to get stronger) you also need to get better control of it – make it work when it needs to work rather than cheat and use something different or nothing at all, hence the little and often regime.

You can keep doing the calf stuff in the gym BUT work on your entire lower leg alignment and foot posture – you’ll probably allow your arch to roll in and drop down…and this needs to be controlled by keeping good lower limb alignment. Keep your hips, knees and feet pointing forwards etc.

The Guru

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