Rob asked the Guru about a recurring injury to his left calf muscle

April 27, 2014

dear guru

i have a recurring injury to my left calf muscle. i rest it and try to stretch daily so it starts to feel healed but as soon as i try to put any real movement into the calf so running / football etc it goes again or feels like it will go and so i cant put 100 percent effort into the exercise or sport. i had the injury on and off last year but not too bad but since the start of this year the situation has become worse. can you help ? both my calf muscles feel tight generally.

i am a male 48 years old and i mainly work at a desk job. until last year i was fairly fit and healthy so strength training in the gym bike riding and football

cheers rob

April 27, 2014

Hi Rob

This is really common – you use common sense for a pretty common injury but the result doesn’t match up to what you’ve done.

Here’s why and what I think you need to do.

I think you’ve got an over stretched calf rather than one that needs stretching… stop stretching. It may make you calf feels less tight, but I think it’ll never (obviously!) get you better. Stretching is a great pain/stiffness/tightness reliever, but no more than that.

You’re over stretching or over loading you calf due to either you can’t control the amount your foot rolls in (which is a very normal movement called pronation, but it’s the control that’s important) and so over stretching the inside of your calf or you don’t have enough strength in your calf to maintain and keep the muscle intact.

So make sure your shoes give your feet adequate support and control – which is pretty passive and make sure you can actively control your foot posture and foot rolling in action but maxing out your single leg balance, single leg knee squats (gluts) and improve your single leg landing control.

Also work on getting better calf strength. For a guy of your age you need to easily do 30 calf raises – both with a straight knee and with a bent knee.

Do the controlling stuff little and often (30-40 seconds through the day ie x4/5/6 a day) and strength stuff morning and night. Try doing this for the next month and I’m sure you’ll be good to go.

Hope this makes sense!

The Guru
Six Physio

Guru Responded

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