Causes And Treatment Of A Sore Calf Muscle

Nearly everyone who walks or runs for exercise has experienced a sore calf muscle.  Often you do not even feel it right away and the pain makes its presence known either at night while you are resting or the next morning when you are trying to get out bed.  Many times a sore calf muscle may not even become a pain until two days later.

Some athletes take a bit of pain as a sign of a good workout however, if the soreness is severe enough it can make just climbing the stairs a dreaded ordeal.


You do not have to be a competitive athlete to suffer from a sore calf muscle as they can be caused from any number of reasons.  The cause is generally due to strain or tightness but severe pain can be an indication of a serious problem.

  • Incorrect Posture – If you constantly have bad posture and lean your weight forward, you can add extra strain on your calf muscle.
  • Dehydration – When runners or other athletes do not stay properly hydrated then the lack of minerals, magnesium and calcium can easily lead to muscle strain, particularly a sore calf muscle because their legs are handling the most movement.
  • Hyperpronation – Quite a few people will unconsciously engage in an abnormal foot motion when they walk which is referred to as hyperpronation.  This is characterized by rolling the foot inward which constantly places a strain on calf muscles that are trying to compensate.
  • Charley Horse – You  know if you have a Charley horse from the sudden, painful, knotty spasm that occurs in the calf muscle  these are believed to be caused from a mineral deficiency, blood trapped in a particular spot of the muscle or a hormonal imbalance.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis – This is a specific type of blood clot.  Heat, tenderness and swelling may accompany this.  The most susceptible people to experience deep vein thrombosis are victims of pulmonary disease or cancer.


The most effective way to relieve a sore calf muscle is through massage.  Below are a few techniques to not only relax the calf muscle but also promote healing.

  • Remove any socks, shoes, etc so that the leg with your sore calf muscle is bare.  Sit in a chair with your feet positioned flat on the floor.
  • Starting down at the ankle you will press with the index finger on the back of your thigh upward in a stroking position.  Repeat 10 to 12 times.
  • Rest the middle of your sore calf on the other leg's knee.  Use your fingertips and thumbs to press in the muscle and release in a kneading motion.  You should continue to do this for a few minutes.  Kneading really works for stiffness or if you have a Charley horse.
  • Shake out the fleshy part of your calf muscle by using your hands to wiggle it.  This will help to relax the muscle.
  • Feel around your calf and locate any knots that are left over.  These are spots where your sore calf muscle has not yet relaxed and are still producing pain.
  • Massage any sore spots that are left over deeply with your fist in a circular motion to loosen up the muscle.

If you calf continues to be sore, consider applying Arnica Gel or a sports cream that is designed to relax aches and pains.  Be sure to follow directions and any ointments that are menthol or heat activated, never apply directly after showering until your pores have a chance to cool off and close.