Could My Running Insoles Make My Calves Burn?

Experiencing burning in your calf muscles may be caused by a number of conditions. The calf muscle is situated on the back of the lower leg. The two muscles that make up the calf are the soleus and gastrocnemius. Injury, strain or burning can occur when your calf muscles are overused. Mild to severe overuse can arise from walking, running or other forceful physical activities.

A proper warm up of stretching prior to running can decrease the risk of calf straining and burning. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Calf Strain and Burning

The human foot is able to adjust to irregular, natural ground. Modern daily terrain tends to be flat, rigid, man-made surfaces such as concrete sidewalks and paved roads. The hard impact on the body from running on these man-made surfaces can affect your legs and feet. The calf muscles can become strained and cause a burning sensation due to injury or overuse. In addition to a burning sensation, a calf strain can also cause bruising, tightness and swelling.

A Word About Over Pronation

Pronation occurs as weight is moved from the heel to the forefoot and the foot rolls inwards, according to Pronation is natural during the gait cycle but in many runners the foot rolls inward excessively, or overpronates. One of the most common causes of calf burning is over pronation. Over pronation in runners causes excessive medial rotation of the lower leg, knee and thigh causing excessive stresses on the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the lower legs and feet.

Use Proper Orthotic Insoles

Runners who suffer from calf burning may turn to running insoles to help alleviate discomfort related to running. Runners with high arches or flat feet may discover they have unbalanced pronation, which can lead to calf burning. Improper insoles for your foot type can also cause burning in your calves. Orthotic insoles can assist in correcting bad alignment by restraining foot pronation, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. Orthotics work to restore the natural foot and arch alignment during running . Proper foot positioning can alleviate calf burning and other lower extremity injuries associated with running.

Beware of Overuse Injuries

Overuse injuries in a runner happen due to a training error. Many of these injuries are caused by biomechanical imbalances together with running that produces excessive stresses on joints, muscles and soft tissues. Improper warm up, extreme hill work, sudden increase in mileage and not allowing for proper rest can cause calf strain and burning. One major cause of calf strain and burning is continuing to run after early indications of a calf strain.


If you have calf burning during running, follow the R.I.C.E. principle for a few days. R.I.C.E. stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. Consult your healthcare professional if you continue to have calf burning after one week.

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