When you suffer a calf injury, it’s very important to rest and not load the calf too much.
Calf strains tend to present as an ache and muscle tightening whilst you’re exercising. Its important to reduce the intensity of the exercise you are doing if this happens as when muscle fibres are unable to contract/relax normally, a full tear can happen due to the massive forces pulling through the muscle that essentially wants to contract and protect itself.
Is it a muscle strain or muscle tear?
A calf tear tends to be sharp in nature or you may feel a “pop” followed by cramping which your body does to protect the area from further trauma.
Which exercises are safe for a pulled calf
It’s important not to overload the fibres of the calf muscles when you have an injury or subject them to powerful contractions like those required for sprinting or changing direction quickly. Significant injuries will mean a complete rest period of 2 weeks, but if you only have a minor pull there's always something you can do whilst your calf recovers. We'd recommend:
so if you're looking to still train whilst carrying a pull calf, you can look to
- Cycling is the first exercise you should try even if the calf is still painful to walk on
- Using this time to train your upper body
- A low load aerobic exercise that keeps you fit and supple, such as swimming
When you can walk pain free and stretch the calf pain free it’s OK to start light impact exercises, such as a beginners HIIT class.