Tight calves are notoriously common among runners, so chances are, if you’re reading this you probably like to go for the odd jogging session.

Calf pain can be so excruciating that it can stop you dead in your tracks. There are a variety of contributing factors that can lead to calf pain so it’s not always possible to pinpoint the cause, but common reasons for painful calf muscles include micro-tearing of the muscle (usually as a result of over-exertion), and inadequate stretching after exercise.

Prevent it

Prevent calf pain by warming up before vigorous activity and stretching afterwards. If you like to run, you should go for a brisk walk for at least five minutes before you start exerting your muscles by running. After a run, it’s essential to stretch sore muscles, so grab hold of a fence or telegraph pole to balance yourself on one foot, pull the other foot up behind you so that it touches your butt and hold for thirty seconds. Repeat on the other leg.

Next, find a step and stand with your toes resting on the edge of the step and your heels hanging off it. Holding onto a wall or handrail to steady yourself, lower down until you feel a distinct stretch up the back of your legs. Hold for thirty seconds, rest and repeat. Other great calf stretches include lunging and flexing your toes up against a wall then aiming to move your body as close to the wall as possible.

Treat it

Treat tight calf muscles and calf pain with the same stretches used to prevent it. To ease the pain you can also try deep tissue massage. Wet a wash cloth with hot water and leave over sore muscles for several minutes to soften, then applying a moderate amount of pressure, you can gently massage the muscle, working in long, sweeping strokes to encourage tightened muscles to lengthen back out. Be careful not to overdo it though, or you could end up with more pain than you started with.

Remember: You should never continue exercise if you are in extreme pain. If you have ongoing pain and pain that is affecting your ability to sleep and walk, you need to see your doctor.