The aim of this study was to assess calf muscle function in patients with chronic Venous disease and recently healed venous ulcers, Forty-nine consecutive patients with recently healed proven venous leg ulcers and 20 age- and sex-matched control subjects were entered into this study. Both patients and control subjects underwent duplex scan evaluation of their leg veins and isokinetic measurement for calf muscle strength and endurance. Calf muscle function was significantly impaired in patients with chronic venous disease compared with control subjects. Both peak torque/body weight (strength), P = 0.049 (CI 0.3-18.4%) and total work (endurance), P = 0.05 (CI 6.01-97.6 Nm) were reduced. This study has shown that patients with chronic venous disease have a significant impairment of calf muscle function compared with healthy control subjects. This study suggests that there is a need to evaluate whether a programme to improve muscle strength may be of benefit in both healing and preventing the recurrence of chronic venous ulcers, (C) 1999 The International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.