Chronic Calf Spasms/Cramping in Athletes

Hi Everyone,

I guess it’s the time of the year, but I’ve had four messages today (on the various forums I moderate) that have to do with chronic calf pain in runners.  With so many people all in one day complaining about the same thing, I figured I should share the answer with everyone.

Here’s a question and answer, that I just gave about this topic:

Q: I once was a decent marathoner, running under 2:25 many times.  I’ve been busy being a dad and a coach for the last 15 years and have never been able to train consistently due to constant tears/strains in both calves and both hamstrings.  It has been strange to me, as usually the stains happen after i am well loosened up and not pushing particularly hard… and a knife stabs into a spot.  Sometimes it’s not quite that painful, but always its out-of-the-blue and it sets me back for a couple weeks while i have some deep muscle massage, and do active rest, then i can get back on the move only to have it recur or something similar in a different spot.   It’s always in the back of my leg and is quite sore for 3-4 days, then tender for another week.  I would appreciate any help you can give.


A: It’s an interesting phenomenon that I’ve seen with athletes, and not the general public, that when muscles that rotate your pelvis are tight, it causes your pelvis to press up into your sciatic nerve (this is common to everyone) and then the pressure causes your calves to spasm (this is the part that seems to be exclusive to athletes).  I’ve worked with thousands of people through the years and whenever I have someone who is getting chronic calf spasms/cramping, it always ends up being this entire pelvis problem.

The good news is that it seems to always work when we first work on the muscles of the pelvis and then move to the calf treatments.  It will help a lot if you first go to and read about repetitive strain injuries, also reading the sections titled “Muscles and Pain” and “What’s Happening Exactly.”  Then go to and read about each of the muscles that cause the pelvis rotation. At the bottom of that explanation is a list of muscles that need to be treated and the order of treatment. This is the only place in the body where the order of treatment dictates the success of the treatment.

Fortunately it’s not difficult to self-treat and the good part of it is that you can do the treatments every day (if you choose) until the problem is gone. This not only saves you money by not going for constant therapy, but you also get a lot more therapy since you can treat it as often as you want.  You’ll understand as you read the information given above.  When you are on the forum mentioned above, I suggest you also read any of the threads that relate to calf spasms.

I believe you’ll be able to work your way out of this situation and get back to those amazing times you’ve had in the past.  BTW, 2:25 means a lot more to me than just “a decent marathoner.” I think that’s fantastic!

I’ve never been able to figure out why only athlete’s seem to get this chronic calf spasm problem and it doesn’t seem to happen to everyone else, but I’ve given up trying to find that answer and I just go with what works. And treating all of the muscles that rotate the pelvis, and then working on the calf muscles, seems to always work.  It’s certainly worth the effort to try.

Have a great weekend.  I hope that wherever you are that you have fantastic weather and you’re able to get out and enjoy yourself.

Wishing you well,



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