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Gary asked...

My calves cramp when running.

Tags: running

I have a great deal of trouble running without my calves cramping or tearing. I have bought running shoes that reduce the impact and warm up beforehand. The strange thing is I play tennis and can play for 3 hours doing lots of short sprints and it being physically tiring without having a problem. Can you please advise a solution.

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The answer

A cramping pain (caused by fatigue of the muscle) suggests that you are probably over doing it a bit on the running front. The pain would settle quickly after you stop running. If the pain persists for a few days after the run, you may have slightly torn the calf muscles. Either way, you probably need to stop running and rest. I would recommend you do some strengthening exercises (calf raises) before you start running again. You should then build up the length of the runs slowly, allowing the muscles to strengthen further.

Running is different to playing tennis because it requires repetitive use of the muscles rather than short bursts, which can lead to these types of problems. A physiotherapist would be the perfect person to see for a detailed assessment and a tailored exercise regime.

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