Amanda Marsh, Head of Physiotherapy and ESP Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist at OSD Healthcare provides insight on tight or painful calves.


It is common to be concerned that you have strained a calf muscle if it is feeling tight or painful. Calf pain after a strain or injury can be common, however, in many cases if you have no history of trauma in that area and if the symptoms have started gradually and you are only aware of them when running it is more likely to be a training overload.


What is training overload?

Loads are as high as 6-12 times your body weight going through the calf area when you are running. Now combine this with perhaps some extra keenness to suddenly increase your training levels and squeeze those extra miles in prior to the marathon, it is no wonder that the calf, or other areas of your lower leg, can become grumbly!


  • Additional risk factors that may play a role too:
  • Change in training load, footwear, running technique, terrain
  • History of previous calf injury
  • Inadequate rest or recovery time
  • Stress and lack of sleep
  • Weakness or poor muscle power in the lower limbs
  • Loss of sciatic nerve flexibility


If you have concerns, then strength testing of the local muscle, combined with testing of the kinetic chain and biomechanics can have many benefits including revealing a lot to us about your current muscle capacity to help plan your training programme and recovery.

We can offer you a thorough assessment and help identify which risk factor might be affecting you most and educate/improve on these areas to get you back on your desired track.


For more information or to book an appointment with our Physiotherapy team call 01442 331 900.