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Calf (Read 1388 times)

    I think I may have a calf strain. Not sure. I have a big ball of a knot on the outside, upper portion of my right calf.  Seems to be grabbing everything in its reach (mainly my knee and upper and outside area of the shin).  It's made running more or less impossible.  

     

    Working on the stationary bike and "arc trainer" are absolutely painless experiences.

     

    I welcome any insights.  

     

    I'm not sure what you meant by "grabbing everything in its reach" but the first thing you need to identify is whether it's a pull or knot.  If it feels hot, there's a swelling, discoloration...if it only happened like in less than 3 days ago, ice it.  You can use regular athletic tape to "compress" the area if you konw how ot do the athletic taping.  If you have other alterate exercises, such as stationary bike or arc trainer as you had described, do so so as to maintain your aerobic fitness.

     

    If there's no apparent "heat", a sharp pain you can pin-point, I actually recommend brisk walking.  I've had lots of calf problems years ago and I've noticed, while it could hurt like hell for a while, walking actually stretch out a bad knot, yet, not quite enough pull or pressure of running that it works well to loosen up.  If the pain continues for more than 10 minutes of this, however, stop.  So I'd recommend you start doing that around the neighborhood where you can hobble home easily.  Usually, unless it happened in a day or two and the area is still very very tendor, it should ease up after 10 minutes or so of walking.  This could also be a good rehabilitation once swelling is gone and no heat is being felt; but very tight and "knotty" because you'd need to loosen up the tightness somehow.  All the while, if you can, continue working on stationary bike and/or arc trainer.  Walking is good exercise to loosen up but not quite enough to stress your aerobic development to gain the same, or similar, training effect. 

     

    Been there many times.  Hang in there and keep doing something.

    Pammie


      Another one with troublesome calves mmore the right one  injured it 2 years ago always been tight, it cramped right up the other week could not stretch it out in the end i had to see my fizz. It was totally knotted painful assage helped been told to do calf raises and use the foam roller. apparently he noticed my right was smaller than my left it was - a whole half inch this happens when you get injured muscle shrinks so you must work it build up the muscle again.

        Thank you for all the thoughts, guys. 

         

        I'll say that whatever the issue is, the pain has gone down steadily over the last few days. Oh, look, I also haven't run over the last few days. 

        "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus

          I'd also like to share what I think brought the injury on, since I think it may be helpful for others.

           

          Starting around November-December, I started building my weekly mileage, with the intention of running 60-mile weeks through 2011. 

           

          Then, I started throwing in two hardish workouts per week.  The person who prescribed the workouts explicitly advised that I stop chasing miles for miles sake ("don't mileage whore," "not too high, not too low.").  I wanted to find my line and ride it, so I ignored this advice, while convincing myself I was following it.

           

          I am not sure if that, by itself, was the cause, though. 

           

          On one particular Thursday, I did a hard-ish workout, on a pair of semi-worn out Kinvaras (a very light shoe for me). No cool down.  That night,  I went for a double on the same pair of shoes. I think I recall something going "wrong" in my calf that night. I the weeks which followed, I didn't address it. I didn't back down much at all. I changed almost nothing, even as things were feeling funky.

           

          I took one day off, and, the next day, I just could not run.

           

          It's fine. I didn't die, and I learned a few things. 

          "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus

            Strain or tear, can't remember what the DR diagnosis was, but it was swollen and discolored. Took several weeks off, rode the stationary bike instead. Eased back into running with a calf compression sleeve. This was many years ago.

             

            Now we've got all of these compression socks, sleeves and so on. Great stuff for those of us with calf issues. I usually just wear them when it's cold or after an intense workout or long run. When my calves start complaining it's usually because my shoes are worn out. Also, make sure to do lots of stretching to keep the calves loose.

             

            Strengthen the outer shin muscles as well.

             

            Recently I started back with some trigger point massage, to address a heel issue. Oddly enough, the knot was exactly in the spot of the old strain. Knot like scar tissue?

             

            Keep the calves loose, when they start to tighten, something's going to give. At least that's been my experience.

              Strain or tear, can't remember what the DR diagnosis was, but it was swollen and discolored. Took several weeks off, rode the stationary bike instead. Eased back into running with a calf compression sleeve. This was many years ago.

               

              Now we've got all of these compression socks, sleeves and so on. Great stuff for those of us with calf issues. I usually just wear them when it's cold or after an intense workout or long run. When my calves start complaining it's usually because my shoes are worn out. Also, make sure to do lots of stretching to keep the calves loose.

               

              Strengthen the outer shin muscles as well.

               

              Recently I started back with some trigger point massage, to address a heel issue. Oddly enough, the knot was exactly in the spot of the old strain. Knot like scar tissue?

               

              Keep the calves loose, when they start to tighten, something's going to give. At least that's been my experience.

               

              Yeah, that's the thing, man.  You (quite naturally) don't remember and even if I went to someone, I probably wouldn't know for sure.  It's like that old joke:

               

              "Doctor, my arm hurts when I do this."

               

              "Then, don't do that."

               

              Thanks for the tips. 

               

              Nobby, I have been more or less on the bike/eliptical for the last few weeks.  I do wonder what kind of shape I'm in.  Should be interesting to see, once I start running (hopefully) soon. 

              "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus


              erockalot

                I had a calf strain after a 50 mile race. During the race, I just thought it was a cramp. The weeks following the race, it was uncomfortable to run even 5 miles.

                 

                I went to a specialist to confirm what it was (Strain). What they were unable to determine was whether it was a vertical muscle or horizontal muscle strain. One takes longer than the other to heal. Their office sent me to PT.

                 

                I expressed my concern to get this cleared up as I was just starting to ramp up my training program. I was given a few exercises to do weekly (calf extensions, balancing on one foot and massage the area daily) as well as stretches to do after running . I also replaced some of the shorter runs with elliptical and stair-master workouts for about a week.

                 

                I have only had a single flare up after a 30 mile run one time and I believe that was due to a lot of snow fall which worked the calf harder.

                So, if it is a strain, there may be exercises that can help, depending on how serious it is.


                just a simple cat

                  foam roller

                   

                  Running is stupid

                    I'd also like to share what I think brought the injury on, since I think it may be helpful for others.

                     

                    ...

                     

                    It's fine. I didn't die, and I learned a few things. 

                     

                    NaderAlfie,

                     

                    I like how you recounted your story. I did find it helpful. What I also found hilarious and quite in-character was that you did not actually list any lessons learned. The story just stands alone. A lot of the stuff you mention strikes me as contributing factors, but not all of it.

                     

                    I'm not a doctor, but...

                     

                    One or both things probably happened:

                    1) The calf/Achilles was not elastic enough at the time of stress and pulled/strained/rip/tore.

                    2) Some spot in the calf muscle was not getting proper bloodflow at that point in the run and and it cramped/tightened/went into calf arrest.

                     

                    Many of the things that bring you to such a point are what we can call contributing factors, but it's only fair to point out that in the right circumstance none of these things would have caused a problem and in the wrong circumstance all of them could cause a problem.

                      NaderAlfie,

                       

                      I like how you recounted your story. I did find it helpful. What I also found hilarious and quite in-character was that you did not actually list any lessons learned. The story just stands alone. A lot of the stuff you mention strikes me as contributing factors, but not all of it.

                       

                      I'm not a doctor, but...

                       

                      One or both things probably happened:

                      1) The calf/Achilles was not elastic enough at the time of stress and pulled/strained/rip/tore.

                      2) Some spot in the calf muscle was not getting proper bloodflow at that point in the run and and it cramped/tightened/went into calf arrest.

                       

                      Many of the things that bring you to such a point are what we can call contributing factors, but it's only fair to point out that in the right circumstance none of these things would have caused a problem and in the wrong circumstance all of them could cause a problem.

                       

                      I would like to thank you for using precisely three periods in your ellipsis.  

                       

                      Ha, you're a writer.  You know how it goes: Show, don't tell.  Besides, while I can't state concretely what the lessons are, I still feel I (probably) learned them.  

                      "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus

                      GoManGo


                        Hello fellow runners,

                         

                        I felt it my moral obligation to my fellow runners to post here.  I'll start by saying I've been running for 30 years, have completed races of all distances all the  way up to marathon, which I've done 6 times.  I am also a triathlete and have done all distances there too, including a successful Ironman bid.  The only reason I tell you this is, is so you will know I that I have a good deal of experience pushing my body hard and have dealt with many minor injuries along the way.  The calf strain that I have had is the worst so far.

                         

                        Back in the summer, I was training very hard, lifting, running and once a week doing an intense hill workout where I ran up a sledding hill.   Eventually my calves started getting super tight.  I stretched them every day but it didn't help much.  Being stubborn, I pushed through, eventually during a run, I felt like I had a cramp in my calf.  No pop or blast from the calf, just a cramp like feeling.

                         

                        It's now been nearly 6 months and I'm now just starting to turn the corner and get back to pain-free running.  This is my recovery story:

                         

                        First I took a week off, no good.  Then I took 2 weeks off from running, still no good.  Then I took a month off.  Still nothing.  I estimate I had a Level 2-3 tear.  So I eventually took 3 months off and slowly started doing some powerwalking, and began to incorporate running only downhill which elongates the calf.  So I did that for awhile.

                         

                        Eventually I threw in the towel and went to see a Physical Therapist.  The PT worked me out doing single leg balancing exercises, calf raises, etc.  However it wasn't until I started getting Dry Needling that the muscle began to relax and some of the scar tissue began to break up.  I had one of these sessions every week for 4 weeks and now I'm feeling much better.

                         

                        During this time, I also incorporated The Stick, rolling my calves every day, and getting rolled and massaged by my wife.

                         

                        Another PT said simple "Stretch the sh#t out of it."  So I did.  Calf stretch and also lots of hamstring stretches, they are connected.  Keep in mind, I agree with other posters that say don't stretch the calf until it has done some healing.  Usually 1-2 months depending on the severity.

                         

                        Lastly, the way I've worked back into my running seems to be working.  Namely:  I do static stretching before my run (which I used to never do, only active stretching)  Now I do both.  So I will go out and run 8 minutes, stretch again for 1-2 min followed by 8 more minutes of running, etc.  I follow this pattern and walk for a few minutes if necessary in between.  I'm now back up to running a total of 35 minutes at a time without pain or strain.  A word of caution:  If you feel any strain in your calf while running.  STOP.  You cannot "run through" this injury. 

                         

                        Good luck in your recovery, I hope this helps.

                          I swear...I just read this a few minutes ago.

                           

                          Hello fellow runners,

                           

                           

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