How do I Avoid Calf Pain When Running?

Calf pain is one of the most common complaints of runners working on building up their endurance or returning to running after taking a break. Calf pain can also crop up seemingly out of nowhere during a run and force you to walk or take more breaks than you want to. While it might seem like there is nothing that you can do about this issue, there are some tremendous preventative steps that you can take to avoid calf pain while you are running.

Avoiding calf pain often requires a multi-faceted approach. Still, if you use these tips and tricks regularly, you will find that your running hours are much more comfortable. Following the same plan before you run can also help prevent pain during your workout.

How Do I Avoid Calf Pain When I Run?

Making sure you have a pair of the best running shoes for calf pain, that you stretch and warm-up before each run can make a big difference for many runners. You will want to use all of these tips to isolate the right supportive care plan for your calf pain.


Stretching and warm-up work is often crucial factors that will prevent calf pain in the middle of your run. You will want to be sure that you are taking the time to stretch and warm-up before and at the beginning of each run to prevent muscle cramps later on.

There are some static stretches that you can do, like putting one foot behind the other and stretching your leg straight. You can do these stretches about five to ten times per leg. You might also want to use some strengthening stretches like walking on your toes for 60 seconds a few times in a row. You can also use jump squats to wake up all the muscles in your legs and stretch out your calves and Achilles tendons before setting out on your run.

Whatever stretching plan and warm-up plan you are using, you need to make sure to take the time to follow it before every run. This will prevent painful cramps from showing up as your body starts to exert and prevent injuries.

Make Sure Your Shoes Are Right

There are many different kinds of running shoes on the market, and you might want to check that you have the right style and fit of shoes for your needs. Calf pain is often the result of running shoes that do not have the correct drop ratio between the heel and the midfoot. Your needs can vary depending on your running style and the shape of your feet.

If you are unsure if your shoes are the culprit, you might want to go to a running store and analyze your gait. These locations can also allow you to try out different shoes to see if shoes are what cause your muscles to cramp up. Sometimes your shoes are the main culprit related to your muscle cramps.

Adjust Your Form

If you have been stretching and have gotten new shoes but are still experiencing calf pain when you run, you might need to adjust your form to take some pressure off your calves. To prevent calf pain when running, you need to ensure that your knees are not landing too far in front of your toes. Another common cause of calf pain is running on pointed toes, which means your calf is not being used efficiently when you push off the back foot.

You can quickly identify these gait and form issues even if you are running alone. It is easy to feel if you are pushing off your toe throughout the upward portion of each step, and it is easy to tell if you are leaning ahead of your toes when you run. Ensure that you are using your foot’s full range of motion and that you are not pushing your shoulders ahead when you are running to avoid calf pain.

Use Kinesio Tape

This newer product has been shown to offer lots of relief to some athletes who struggle with muscle pain during exercise. Kinesio tape can be applied in various ways to prevent muscle pain and help support ongoing injuries while you are continuing to train. Using Kinesio tape can make the difference to some runners struggling with muscle cramps while working out.

There are many different ways to apply these products to support your calves. You will find that any brand you choose to buy will guide you on the correct application process for your needs. You can watch videos online to learn to apply this tape correctly to prevent calf cramps while you are out running.


The next article will take a deep look into whether calf sleeves are good for running, or not. We talk about what a calf sleeve is, how it helps oxygenation and the major benefits to helping comfort and performance when running.


Written by Mark

Having researched and advised on hundreds of footwear products, I'm confident you'll find my articles insightful to the most common questions that's currently being asked online.

February 19, 2022

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