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  • Writer's pictureLuke Nelson

Calf strain? When can you return to running?

Updated: Apr 9

So you've injured your calf and wondering when and how are you going be able to run again?

At Health and High Performance we are advocates of criteria-based rehabilitation: this means that you must meet criteria to progress, not simply how long you’ve been injured.

To begin to run, here are the criteria that can be used to progress:

  • Pain-free walking

  • Seated and standing calf raise on AxIT within 10% of the uninjured side

  • 25+ calf raises, <10% asymmetry

  • Double leg jumping: pain-free

Once the above have been passed, you can resume jogging and slow running. But before progression to higher speeds, you should fulfil the following criteria:

  • ✅ Pain-free walking ⁣

  • ✅ Hopping on the spot & in a line: pain-free⁣

  • ✅ Calf Endurance on calf raises to fatigue <10% asymmetry⁣

  • ✅ Maximal strength measures with a seated &/or standing calf raise within 10% of the uninjured side

  • ✅ Reactive strength measures within 10% of the uninjured side (10/5 hop test, Single leg rebound test, Drop hop test, Square hop test or Side hop test)

Tips for running post calf injury

  1. Avoid long slow continuous running initially, especially for soleus injuries as they don’t like long periods of time on feet

  2. Run throughs of 60-80m distances are best for building early running capacity, using passive rest between reps and sets

  3. Will usually resume running later than a hamstring muscle injury, do not try and run as early

  4. Avoid "junk time" on legs, especially when skill based training has been introduced

  5. Always program running before strengthening

  6. Don’t run on consecutive days for a calf (even in low volume), and control "time on feet" as much as possible on off days


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