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Runners, calf strain?
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I have a pain in my calf that moves around anywhere from the meaty part of the calf, to the sides of my lower leg, and sometimes to just above my Achilles. Is this a calf strain or perhaps something more serious? The first time it started hurting was on an interval run outside (5 min hard/5 min ez sort of thing).

See the doc??? Yes I have an appt this week when I get back into town, but just kind of wondering if anyone else out there experienced this before, and what you did to recover.
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [MikenUltra] [ In reply to ]
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I'm fighting a similar issue at the moment. Increased my mileage a bit too quick. The pain is right on the middle part of the inner lower right leg along the tibia. Sore to pressure and obviously if try to run. Been off the run now for about 2 weeks. Icing and ibuprofen. Seems to be getting better. I haven't seen the Dr but hoping it's just a strain/shin splint rather than a stress fracture.
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [MikenUltra] [ In reply to ]
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that could be a bunch of things. i had something maybe similar this winter. my left calf ankle generally felt tight, then i could run maybe a mile before a searing type pain. i wouldn't call it a cramp, but it sure was tight. mainly the muscle behind the lower calf, high ankle, between the heel and big calf muscles. it was general okay as far as pain as long as i wasn't trying to run.

doctor gave me muscle relaxers and told me to stay hydrated. coach told me to stretch more and gave me more strength/stretch exercises. in the end i had to stop running for a week or two, then start from scratch, 10-15 minute runs 3x week, and start an off-the-couch style build back to normal. not sure exactly what it was, or what fixed it. but its gone now.
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [MikenUltra] [ In reply to ]
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My advice, don't bother with meds. Stick to REST. Ice if it's still hurting. You need to cross train until you're pain free, then start back slowly and avoid speed work for awhile. (I've been there)
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [MikenUltra] [ In reply to ]
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I developed calf/achilles issues after starting more strength training and crossfit type workouts. As a result I found and was referred to Muscle Activation Technique. I still can not explain this to anyone and the only way is to experience it. All I can say is that it has taught me a lot and improved my mobility and strength.

I have been going for over a year now and believe in the philosophy of issues/pain/etc. are a result of a weakness which may be caused by something else being off. In my case, weak hamstrings and lower back along with the training stress caused my issues. My calves and achilles were making up for lack of strength elsewhere.

Prior to MAT I tried traditional rest, physical therapy (massage, ice and rest), etc., but this did not treat the cause, only put a band aid over the pain. I now spend more time working on strengthening individual points such as hip abduction, hamstring and working on movements individually.

So my layman's $0.02 is look into seeing if your calf issues are the result of a weakness somewhere else rather than just treating the immediate problem of pain/discomfort.
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [sharkbaitguy] [ In reply to ]
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sharkbaitguy wrote:
I developed calf/achilles issues after starting more strength training and crossfit type workouts. As a result I found and was referred to Muscle Activation Technique. I still can not explain this to anyone and the only way is to experience it. All I can say is that it has taught me a lot and improved my mobility and strength.

I have been going for over a year now and believe in the philosophy of issues/pain/etc. are a result of a weakness which may be caused by something else being off. In my case, weak hamstrings and lower back along with the training stress caused my issues. My calves and achilles were making up for lack of strength elsewhere.

Prior to MAT I tried traditional rest, physical therapy (massage, ice and rest), etc., but this did not treat the cause, only put a band aid over the pain. I now spend more time working on strengthening individual points such as hip abduction, hamstring and working on movements individually.

So my layman's $0.02 is look into seeing if your calf issues are the result of a weakness somewhere else rather than just treating the immediate problem of pain/discomfort.

What he said.

Tweaked calf four days out from IMNZ, did it anyway (run was, well, a walk mostly). Still having issues, but all to do with weakness elsewhere (hamstrings, glutes, lower back, core etc etc). So working on that, getting better but real slow. Everyone I've spoken to about calf issues have said that it takes a loooong time to come right (relatively speaking) so don't rush it and make sure it's not a symptom of some other imbalance/weakness.

Best of luck with it - find a good physio who does sports (preferably triathlon/running).
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [quintana who] [ In reply to ]
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Look up Mad Calf Disease or Calf Heart Attack. It is a pain in the rear end and can last for years.
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [MikenUltra] [ In reply to ]
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You won't like this, but first order of business is rest. Not just running, anything that could fire the calf. Can swim, but no hard pushing off the wall. Work your way up to some elliptical work. Use compression socks while working out, once back, and start kt tape right away. If you don't let it heal, it will just keep shutting you down. Also agree that should see a good strength trainer to correct likely imbalances and weaknesses that may have led to the issue arising.
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [quintana who] [ In reply to ]
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I would recommend looking into incorporating: single calf isometric type movements, single leg hamstring curls, and work on strengthening lower back and glutes. Everything is connected, so your hamstrings or lower back could be affecting your calves or achilles. I've also changed my past mentality of doing 3 sets of 10 or other sets of high reps to doing each rep slow and controlled focused on quality over quantity. I typically do not even count reps and listen to my body.

For example, on a hamstring curl I will squeeze and hold at contraction for 3-5 seconds and very slowly control it back. Initially you will not be able to do high reps but the quality of work is 10x better.
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [MikenUltra] [ In reply to ]
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Just went thru the same thing. Took me 2 months before I was able to run pain free. Like a previous reply mentioned, you just have to give time to heal.


"For those who understand, no explanation is necessary. For those who don't understand, no explanation is possible."
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [MikenUltra] [ In reply to ]
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Besides REST, I would look into rolling your calves out nightly and/or before you run. Not all rollers are created the same though. Foam rollers basically suck. I suggest you get a Rumble roller or a Beastie Ball. Watch the how to videos and incorporate this into your daily routine. Tight calves are the beginning of a lot of other injuries as it forces your body to compensate for this in the kinetic chain. So, cut back a bit on your running and roll the calves out daily. If it's tight calves you'll be good as new in about a week. Best of luck to you.
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [Runner21] [ In reply to ]
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I would also add that you should consider the miles on your shoes. I have an awkward gait and I chew through shoes much faster than most people. I have noticed that when I run into the calf problem (just as you describe), it's time for me to retire my shoes.
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [MikenUltra] [ In reply to ]
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X2 on MAT

I have suffered from some sort of soft tissue calf injury basically every season. Inside, outside, lower, upper, would always manifest somewhere, on both sides.

I posed a question to a FB group I am in re how to get rid of tight calves that caused the injury, and the response was that the tight calves aren't the problem, something else is. The tightness is a symptom of the calf protecting itself. Some other muscle or group isn't firing properly and the calf compensates until it can't do it anymore, then goes into protection mode.

I found a practitioner near me and started going. I've only been going for about 3 months but I've noticed a few beneficial changes over and above (knock wood) the calf issue staying quite. Run volume has not been huge, the test will be how the season plays out.

As to how it works, the theory is (in my own words) that the CNS connection between the brain and the muscle that should be firing is broken, leading to other muscles stepping in to compensate. The treatment is designed to re-establish that connection. There is a bit of a woo-woo factor, but it seems to be working so far

Definitely worth a consideration
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [P2Punk] [ In reply to ]
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FYI what you may have is posterior tibial tendonitis (i thought i had a calf injury too when this came up).

The top part of this picture in red is where the pain was for me.

https://runnersconnect.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Orthotics.png


if that sounds familiar, google some exercises you can do with a band. It cleared it up for me.

cheers

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Re: Runners, calf strain? [Runner21] [ In reply to ]
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This is all great info and advice, thank you. I did the foam roller today (didn't have access to a rumble yet), and followed some calf roller exercises on google, and it feels looser, its still tight but loosened up some and I feel like a deep-massage pain in my calves from the roller (I never used the roller before and I've read there can be soreness). I'm really bummed because my running has finally been positive and now this, but such is life I guess.
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [randomtriguy] [ In reply to ]
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randomtriguy wrote:
FYI what you may have is posterior tibial tendonitis (i thought i had a calf injury too when this came up).
The top part of this picture in red is where the pain was for me.
https://runnersconnect.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Orthotics.png
if that sounds familiar, google some exercises you can do with a band. It cleared it up for me.
cheers


(Above) That is where my daughter has developed leg pain this year (track clubs). Currently hobbling around on a crutch.

Last Tuesday my left calf tightened up during a run. As soon as i felt the pain I shut it down. Within 10 minutes had trouble walking, usually the way it goes.

I knew that was coming due to problems in my stride or run gait. My left side is in "rebuild" mode as I am getting PT work done on my hip and lower back. So as that is loosening up and functioning more normally, it follows that the rest of the leg also will need work. My quads I sorted out last year, and I could feel my calf was pretty wooden ie dysfunctional. So not surprised it let go.

I got IMS or dry needling last Thursday and will roll and strengthen the calf by doing tethered heel drops and lifts. Easy running today, felt OK so that has been one week.

Training Tweets: https://twitter.com/Jagersport_com
FM Sports: http://www.jagersport.com/
Last edited by: SharkFM: May 9, 16 15:01
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [MikenUltra] [ In reply to ]
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Calf strains generally heal pretty quickly with rest, but are also typically acute, or localized. You could have a bit of nerve stuff going on, or if you are really unlucky, it may be Exertional Compartment Syndrome. If it lingers for quite a while, and sometimes is manifested as severe cramps, go get your compartment pressures checked (not fun). If you don't, and you have CS, you can suffer from some long-term nerve damage (I wish I didn't know from experience...).
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [InWyo] [ In reply to ]
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InWyo wrote:
Calf strains generally heal pretty quickly with rest, but are also typically acute, or localized. You could have a bit of nerve stuff going on, or if you are really unlucky, it may be Exertional Compartment Syndrome. If it lingers for quite a while, and sometimes is manifested as severe cramps, go get your compartment pressures checked (not fun). If you don't, and you have CS, you can suffer from some long-term nerve damage (I wish I didn't know from experience...).

Weekend track meet & talking to the team coach about the neuro-muscular soup that is the lower leg & calf. I gather he takes kind of a race-horse approach, managing training volume and running surfaces.

Personally I'm more mechanically oriented so it's about functionality, alignment, strength, range and use patterns/technique. The nerves in the calf region are sensitive and interlinked.

For example I got some IMS or dry needle in my upper calf region and the outboard side of my foot got an electrical burst/twitch.

Also as a tip, don't forget to roll your lower-leg front. Outside in the shin splint area. My leg was really hot on that muscle. And when I did roll it, it caused the calf to tension right up. So relaxing the shin splint, which manages lower torque or rotational stability is a good thing to do. Back on the track this morning and took it slow and easy - no issues.

https://twitter.com/...s/732986274462584832

Training Tweets: https://twitter.com/Jagersport_com
FM Sports: http://www.jagersport.com/
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [SharkFM] [ In reply to ]
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Great info on this thread. I injured my calf about a year ago and am back to full speed, but have constant muscle spasms in that calf and a perpetual knot / sore spot. Seems to be unrelated to training load, hydration, caffeine, alcohol, rolling, massage. Maybe some nerve issue from the initial injury? Nobody's been able to give me a good diagnosis even with an MRI and bloodwork.



SharkFM wrote:
InWyo wrote:
Calf strains generally heal pretty quickly with rest, but are also typically acute, or localized. You could have a bit of nerve stuff going on, or if you are really unlucky, it may be Exertional Compartment Syndrome. If it lingers for quite a while, and sometimes is manifested as severe cramps, go get your compartment pressures checked (not fun). If you don't, and you have CS, you can suffer from some long-term nerve damage (I wish I didn't know from experience...).


Weekend track meet & talking to the team coach about the neuro-muscular soup that is the lower leg & calf. I gather he takes kind of a race-horse approach, managing training volume and running surfaces.

Personally I'm more mechanically oriented so it's about functionality, alignment, strength, range and use patterns/technique. The nerves in the calf region are sensitive and interlinked.

For example I got some IMS or dry needle in my upper calf region and the outboard side of my foot got an electrical burst/twitch.

Also as a tip, don't forget to roll your lower-leg front. Outside in the shin splint area. My leg was really hot on that muscle. And when I did roll it, it caused the calf to tension right up. So relaxing the shin splint, which manages lower torque or rotational stability is a good thing to do. Back on the track this morning and took it slow and easy - no issues.

https://twitter.com/...s/732986274462584832
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [Runner21] [ In reply to ]
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Runner21 wrote:
Besides REST, I would look into rolling your calves out nightly and/or before you run. Not all rollers are created the same though. Foam rollers basically suck. I suggest you get a Rumble roller or a Beastie Ball. Watch the how to videos and incorporate this into your daily routine. Tight calves are the beginning of a lot of other injuries as it forces your body to compensate for this in the kinetic chain. So, cut back a bit on your running and roll the calves out daily. If it's tight calves you'll be good as new in about a week. Best of luck to you.
I had a calf injury last fall and rolling seemed to be the ingredient that helped me get me back to running. I bought a "Grid" Trigger Point roller and use it almost nightly now.

Otherwise calf pain can be a lot of stuff, many good ideas in this thread.
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [MikenUltra] [ In reply to ]
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Could be a calf strain..

Could be a number of things... recently I got bitten by an insect on my calf and it went really inflamed and sore.
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [Runner21] [ In reply to ]
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Update...I've been rolling the hell out of my calf (well both of them really), and I feel much better. It feels really loose now, still not 100% but much better.

I should have added that I've introduced squats over the past few months (albeit very light), and believe (along with the doc) that it caused the spasm-like feeling. Possible my calf took all the punishment it could for the last few months then finally gave in. Not saying I'm not weak in other parts of my body, but that was the one stimulant that was different in training.

However, I'm a little nervous about running again. Kinda similar to the next at-bat when I've gotten beaned the previous at-bat.
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [MikenUltra] [ In reply to ]
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Glad to hear you're improving! I had a similar issue as you that rolling has been helping. Every night before bed works for me.
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [Runner21] [ In reply to ]
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Great thread. I'm going to get a roller today.

I ran the Brooklyn Half marathon last weekend on a shredded calf muscle. I shouldn't have. I've been battling this since March, and I took a week off prior to the race to see if it would make a difference. It didn't, and I can tell because not only is my calf sore, but my knee, hip and back on the other side of my body are quite the worse for wear. I won't make that mistake again.

Now I'm shutting down everything except for light rides on the trainer for a couple of weeks. Ack!
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Re: Runners, calf strain? [MikenUltra] [ In reply to ]
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Nice work that its getting better


I strained my soleus muscle (lower leg) last year, had to take 4 months off running.

This was probably due to poor stability so would recommend doing yoga / pilates and s&c which has helped me.

Try deep water running to get the form and muscular movement back then i introduced walking then easy runs with time.

Its a long road but worth it
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