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Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?....
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I'm 41, been active and athletic my whole life. Many broken bones, knee surgeries, etc..

I don't think I've ever really torn/tore a muscle.

Question...

on a six mile run, right at the halfway point, my left calf totally seized up. I was able to hobble home. Stretching did not improve the "knot" feeling. It didn't feel like a cramp.

Next day? I have a big circular bruise on my calf. Right in the rear/center. I'm walking but it's tender, injury was two weeks ago.

does this sound like a mild tear? I have no experience with tears, just strains and breaks.

Bruise is still there two weeks later, about the size of a baseball.

Seems a little strange.



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"That night I had a dream. I dreamt I was as light as the ether."
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [Tiki] [ In reply to ]
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no idea, but if you figure it out please let me know. I had the exact same symptoms after I pedaled through a cramp and then went as hard as I could to bridge up to an attack. I haven't been right for 2 months now.
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [Tiki] [ In reply to ]
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welcome to middle age, and mad calf disease.


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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I was waiting for you to post that ...

;-)

____________________________________
Fatigue is biochemical, not biomechanical.
- Andrew Coggan, PhD
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [Tiki] [ In reply to ]
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Does your calf look like this>?


Probably a minor tear and not a major tear. Rest, Ice, light stretching and phyisio will fix you up in no time, .....me, I'm still dealing with my tore calf 2 years later. :(

Ps. I hear pickel juice will help with mid run cramping.
Last edited by: jgp: Jun 21, 10 17:59
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [Tiki] [ In reply to ]
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I needed a bunch of ART treatments to finally beat mine (somewhat) into submission. It was semi-chronic, came back the last 2 seasons.
This year, I bagged on doing any run speedwork at all, and so far <insert LOUD knocking on wood sound here> I haven't had a serious problem. Yet.

And I'm a big fan of compression socks now (more for recovery *after* a workout, but also as an ounce of prevention during, sometimes).

Good luck.


float , hammer , and jog

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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [Tiki] [ In reply to ]
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A Triggerpoint massage ball worked for me. Stretching was pretty ineffective. I think the treatment was more painful than the injury.

A tennis ball would work in a pinch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvZOp5ETcNY
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [kdw] [ In reply to ]
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Oh yeah, ice after the tp.
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [kdw] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
A Triggerpoint massage ball worked for me. Stretching was pretty ineffective.


Yea, stretching did nothing. I seem to have relatively normal range of motion with my normal calf stretches, its just kind of......sore. And bruised.

speedwork? Really I burned out so hard from triathlon I don't know if I'll ever involve myself in competitive middle distance again, I just run for fitness now and likely will have more marathons in my future.

Its just kind of strange to have a circular bruise in the center of my calf. Feels like the muscle is made of cement. Also its not tender to the touch.

Probably won't be doing any climbing on the bike but I'm burned out from long distance cycling as well. It's been a busy decade.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"That night I had a dream. I dreamt I was as light as the ether."
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [Tiki] [ In reply to ]
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I pull my calves all the time,(age 50) therefore, I wear calf sleeves whenever I run. I am very careful with any sprint work or hill work. You are at the age where this may become a chronic problem for you, as the risk of a torn muscle is higher when you've already had a tear. I think calf sleeves help prevent injury, as well as decrease the pain from a pull. Remember: RICE, Rest ,Ice, Compression, and Elevation-the only one that you can use in a race is Compression. They've helped me finish 2 IM's. Good luck!
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [jawatson] [ In reply to ]
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Been there many times...calf to calf over the last 10 years. yes, it sounds like what's called a micro tear, better referred to as the 'calf heart attack'. usually happens to me when my arches are sore or I've done too much down hill running. it sucks and for me takes about 6-8 weeks to repair unless you get a steroid shot which I've done once before an A-race 70.3 and was able to run pain free only 1 week later. also, mineral deficiency and not drinking enough water lend to this nightmare injury. start taking calcium magnesium before going to bed and see if things get better.
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [kdw] [ In reply to ]
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kdw - did you have a tear in your calf? how long was the recovery?

Based on this: http://www.thestick.net/...0Heart_%20Attack.htm article, i think i'm dealing with a micro tear in my soleus. the symptoms are identical. this happened to me last week and i've been off it since, using the stick to massage 3x day.

i've got timberman in a few weeks and want to make sure i can race. if the the injury persists, is there any treatment that can get me through the run like a cortisone shot?
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
welcome to middle age, and mad calf disease.

Sad but true.

I'm now in season 2 of Mad Calf Disease, and I've been particularly careful to prevent it this year... No joy. It's just something I've learned to live with. Ice & vitamin I definitely help, and I've started to use compression sleeves more this season for both training & recovery. They seem to help too, but I acknowledge that may all just be in my head. But hey, I'll take whatever help I can get...

Best wishes!

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [Tiki] [ In reply to ]
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Speaking as someone recovering from a calf strain I can weigh in on this. There are three levels of strains, I had a level 2 with a partial tear. I had no bruising, but very limited mobility after it happened. I tore my gastroc while doing intervals on a track. About 1.5m in it felt like I had been shot with a bb gun in my calf and stretching it did nothing. I'm not a doctor, but it would appear you have a level 3, which is a rupture of the muscle and would cause the bruising you see.

I immediately went to my ortho who put me on a major anti-inflammatory and sent me to the PT. I have been doing 3 appointments with the PT every week for the past month and I can successfully run 1.5m (woopity-doo) without pain, but its on a treadmill. I would recommend seeing a doc immediately and getting started on a therapy regimen. Ice and rest just won't help you enough with this type of injury.

Good luck!
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [tbird] [ In reply to ]
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I've seen it referred to as 'calf heart attack' too. fitting name, although it's less catchy than 'mad calf disease,' and lacks the double entendre.
happened to me once, a while ago. i was playing sports at the time, and felt a golf ball hit the back of my calf. when i turned around... no golf ball!

rolling it helped - like with a 'The Stick' although a normal dowel does just as well.

That said, I had no black-and-blue.

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All that could not sink or swim, were just left there to float.
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [r.cal] [ In reply to ]
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has anybody tried spidertech, or kinesio tape?


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [r.cal] [ In reply to ]
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"kdw - did you have a tear in your calf? how long was the recovery?"

What he describes is pretty much exactly what happened to me. Rest/stretching didn't seem to be causing the pain to go away, and once I started using the TP stuff the improvement was immediate. I think the TP balls worked better than the stick, and icing was a big help.

If I were you, I would be looking into a sports massage.

After a couple of days using the ball, I was able to ease back into running, just stuff at an easy pace for a while as I could still feel tightness in the calf, but no pain. Eventually, the tightness subsided.

Good luck, hope to see you out there on race day!
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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I have not tried it for this injury but I was battling peroneal tendonitis earlier this season and tried it. The biggest issue I had was adhesion. The tape continually fell off from sweat. I shaved my lower leg too but it just didn't stay on so I never could tell if it was doing any good. I instead used a compression ankle support provided by my podiatrist.

My understanding is the tape is primarily for joint support rather than compression.
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [r.cal] [ In reply to ]
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but what did you try? nitto tape? kinesio tape? spidertech already-cut? something you picked off the shelf at walgreens?


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Kenesio - brand was Rock Tape
Last edited by: r.cal: Aug 4, 10 8:44
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [Tiki] [ In reply to ]
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It's torn and probably pretty good if still tender 2 weeks later. When the tear heals it will form scar tissue, which increases the risk of recurrence. Generally speaking, the tear will heal over time (which varies depending on the severity of the tear anywhere from 1-8 weeks, but usually about 3-4) with rest. Of course, there are things you can do to accelerate the healing time as people have discussed. Ultimately, when starting back, I recommend wearing heel pads and getting a massage or two to break up the scar tissue. Also, avoid speed-work and hills for the first 2-4+ weeks after starting back.
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [r.cal] [ In reply to ]
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i'm going to look into this. maybe i'll do a "road test" or something. i ran behind a guy in a race about 3 years ago (a footrace) and he had this on his calf, and it seemed to stay fine. nothing fancy, just a big wide strip of kinesio tape or some analog.


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [Tiki] [ In reply to ]
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Several blown hamstrings in my lifetime have taught me a few things:

A pull is a strain, a strain is a tear.

As another poster mentioned there are 3 levels, but level 3s I believe are rare and typically require a surgical repair as it means the muscles is torn apart. Level 2s are significant tears that will induce "bruising", its not really bruising as in the type that results from a direct trauma, but rather pooling of blood from an internal injury. In hamstrings, pooling generally occurs just above the knee, calves in the ankles. Levels 1s feel similar to cramps and will subside with 2-3 weeks of RICE, level 2s typically require some significant rehab (for my hamstrings 8-10 weeks, honestly). Level 3s up to a year, hence the rarity, even level 2s are fairly rare.

See an ortho, by the way stretching an acute injury is about the worst thing you can do. It feels like a knot, but think about what your doing. If you take a piece of thin rubber and put a tiny hole in it, then stretch it out, what happens? Surprise, surprise....the hole gets bigger!
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [Tiki] [ In reply to ]
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oh yeah....and recurrent strains come from improperly rehabbing the initial injury. This is why the same people get the same injuries in sports over and over again. If the sport isn't your livelihood, take the time to let it fully heal. Just my 2 cents.
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [Tiki] [ In reply to ]
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Is there a "mad quad disease" too? Perhaps experienced by those under 40???

I injured my quads during the past two years in a manner similar to what you described in your calf, one instance of which ended a marathon build prematurely last fall and one that threatens to do the same this time around.

It starts as sore knotted quads that are unresponsive to massage and it feels like I'm running on a pulled muscle (i.e., an awful "twinge" shoots up my leg with some footstrikes). In the case of my quad tear last year, the pain got progressively worse but I was able to run through it until my left quad/hip adductor suddenly worsened and I could barely walk for about 2 weeks, never mind run. I also had trouble kicking in the pool. It took several weeks to get better.

I did something similar but not as severe to my right quad this year, which finally seems to be healing up now (knock on wood). Hopefully I won't reaggravate it as I try to cram some mileage in for another fall marathon attempt (gulp).
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Re: Calf muscle pull or tear? Experience?.... [dave_voyageur] [ In reply to ]
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Sorry for digging this old post up, but I've been searching for help with long term calf injuries, and happened upon this forum.

For background: I'm 49 and used to bike race on the road in my teens, early twenties. Trained intermittently during the intervening years, not to any great standard, but basically kept myself ticking over. In 2006 I was upping my training; going to the gym and riding increasingly on the road. Unfortunately, I suffered what initially felt like a groin strain, but after it didn't heal as quickly as expected, and after seeing a sports physio and my GP, it was diagnosed thru' a MRI as a labrum tear in my hip. One operation later and after many years of on and off training I'd got to a point of not being sure I'd train again as my hip was still fragile. However at the end of 2011 I started mountain biking, starting off with little ambition, but from slow starts and through most of 2013 I'd built up to doing 30+ mile rides, on and off road.
I was very cautious, not increasing intensity or distance too quickly, and warming up/down and stretching etc., to help my middle-aged body stay healthy

Anyway in September 2013, I was increasing the difficulty, as my ambition was starting to grow . I was finding, however, that towards the end of longer rides, my quads and calves were beginning to cramp. I attempted to fix this by increasing my fluid and food I took in before and during, but it still happened. Anyway in mid-September '13, I planned a 26 mile loop, with a vague idea of doing 2 laps (I look back now and wonder why, after months of building my training so carefully, I was planning a jump from 38miles max to 52; crazy!) anyway at the end of the first loop, my legs were quite painful, and obviously the sensible thing to do was to cruise home and live to ride another day. Nope, I did the second loop, cramping badly towards the end.

I cruised the last mile, just pedalling in a low gear, then did my usual post ride routine. However, when I sat down, my calf cramped badly; I stretched it out, but the pain remained, getting worse over the next 48 hours.

After 4 weeks I saw a sports physio, who gave me excellent advice. But even so, and even after the intervening weeks and months of no training, physio exercises (using a physio roll) the calf injury remains. It had got to the point recently, that I couldn't feel anything under usual daily activities, so I tried (literally) 10 minutes on the turbo trainer, in a low gear, gently pedalling. It was fine initially, but after a week the calf feels very tight and quite sore. Now, even walking for more than 30 minutes causes tightening and pain.

Therefore... what advice could someone offer me? Especially on the following points:
Is 7 months an excessive time for it to heal?
Is my age a factor in that?
Is the tightness I felt after the last attempt at training, reason enough to stop training, or would regular attempts help, or would they cause more harm?
Physio roll stuff apart, are there any known treatments that could aid the recovery? In this thread someone mentioned "doc immediately and getting started on a therapy regimen"; what would this entail, therapy-wise. I've read stuff on Steroid injections; would these help?

Sorry for such a long post It's all a bit frustrating; I've stopped bemoaning my lost fitness and now just miss riding my bike. Any help/advice VERY gratefully received!

Last edited by: Andy Simpson: Apr 22, 14 7:04
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