You must have enjoyed watching Tom Hanks running miles without stopping in the movie Forrest Gump. Running has been a way of life for humans since the early age when they used to run continuously for hours to hunt for survival.
This passion for running is reflected in several men and women across the globe who like to run for fun or participate in competitive marathons. However, several enthusiasts quit running during first few days because their calves hurt from running. They need to understand that calf pain is the first hurdle they need to cross to fulfill their desire to run. There is no need to panic because the pain is transitory and there is no serious cause behind it.
Here we solve the puzzle of calf pain for you.
Everything is fine
First you need to understand that all kinds of exercises, whether running or weight training, lead to soreness and muscle pain. The main reason for pain is because your body gets surprised by sudden strain that it is put under.
Calf muscles are lean muscles at the back of your leg which can get injured or attain soreness because of any lower body activity including walking, running and improper weight distribution.
However, you will realize that the calves hurt from running only during the start of a practice. After you spend a few days running, the pain will subside as your body will get used to the physical strain. There is no real cure to prevent this pain so better bear it and grin all the way to the finish line. A good warm up exercise can, however, lower the amount of soreness you are likely to get from running.
Standing toe touches and the hurdler stretch are the best warm up exercises your calves can have. Standing toe touches is the most basic stretch everybody is likely to know about. Stand upright placing both feet together and slowly reach down to touch your toes without bending the knees. For hurdler stretch, sit straight up on the ground and straighten out one leg while the other is bent with the base of your foot touching the extended leg. Slowly try to touch your extended foot and hold for some seconds and change the legs alternately.
Building calve muscles is also a good option to avoid soreness. Carry a dumbbell in each hand and try standing up on your tippy toes before slowly going back to your level footed position. Do four sets of 10 reps each.
Your calves may also hurt because of other kinds of pain which may not be because of muscle soreness. This kind of pain is clearly distinguishable as it is much more severe. It can be due to torn or pulled muscle. This can be dealt with by employing the popular RICE technique which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
You need to rest your legs as long as possible especially during the first 48 hours of getting an injury. Applying ice on your calves will help numb the pain by contracting the blood vessels. Remove the ice every few minutes allowing blood vessels to dilate and increase the amount of nutrient-rich blood reaching the affected area. This dilation and contraction of blood vessels will help in quick healing.
Wrapping your calf in a compression bandage will prevent swelling and also provide support to the area. Elevation is the last of this first aid process and also the most effective in prevention of swelling.
While sleeping or sitting, just put a pillow under your calves to reduce pressure on legs.
Cramps can also give you pain in the calves which will be sharp and infrequent. Cramps occur because of dehydration and loss of essential salts from the body. The most effective treatment against cramps is intake of liquids. Be sure to fill up on the liquids before getting on to your daily running routine.
Calf pain is not something you need to fret about while putting on those running shoes.