How to Treat Sore Calves


Your calf muscle is located on the back of your lower leg. Calf muscles can become strained or pulled due to excessive physical activity, overuse or a direct blow to the leg. Stretching before exercise often helps to prevent sore calf muscles. The intensity of a strained or sore calf muscle can vary from mild to severe, but symptoms usually involve pain, weakness or tenderness of the muscle. According to the Mayo Clinic, treatment for sore muscles includes rest, ice, compression and elevation.

Step 1

Rest your leg. If you have a sore calf muscle, avoid use of the muscle as much as possible. Take a few days off from exercise or until your calf muscle is healed.

Step 2

Ice your calf muscle. Apply a cold compress or an ice pack to your calf muscle for 20 minutes every four hours. This will help to reduce swelling.

Step 3

Wrap your calf muscle to provide support if needed. For very sore calf muscles, use crutches or a cane to continue to walk and to allow your calf muscle to rest.

Step 4

Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen as necessary. Follow package directions.

Step 5

Use heat on your calf muscle after the swelling is reduced. NYU Langone Medical Center states that heat can be beneficial after you have returned to normal activity with your calf muscle. Apply heat by using a heating pad several times a day, especially before using your muscle or stretching.

Step 6

Stretch your calf muscle when the acute soreness has passed. Sit on the ground and stretch your legs out in front of you. Stand up and touch the ground with your fingers. Do any other stretching that your physician recommends. Hold each stretch for 10 seconds.

Things You'll Need

  • Ice

  • Bandage

  • Heating bottle

  • Pain relievers

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