Runner’s Calf Strain Rest or Keep Training? That is the Question

The patients I often see come to physiotherapy telling me:
“I’m a runner and have pain in my calf. How long will it take to heal? Can I keep training? If I keep training will it get worse? How do I know if I have a tear or even worse, a DVT?”
A very common injury among runners is a condition called Biomechanical Overload Syndrome. It is characterised by the gradual development of an achy tight calf during a run and settles largely on ceasing activity. There is no bruising or swelling and scans are clear.
These injuries usually occur following an increase in training load particularly speed. Change in footwear is another contributing factor, more specifically minimalist shoes. Progression to forefoot running increases calf load by over 10% and should also be considered.
The good news is, for most runners they will be able to continue running but will need to address the factors that have contributed to this fatigue failure induced disorder. An experienced physiotherapist will be able to assist identify whether the issue is a result of increased load placed on the calf or a decreased capacity for the calf to manage load, and inturn put in place an effective management program.