1

chronic calf probs - could form/cadence adjustments help (Read 143 times)

    I haven't been on in several months, but I know this group and forums to be very valuable.

     

    I have always had problems with calf strains. I have the 'Stick' and I use it. I know there is scar tissue from previous injury . I'm wondering if I can look down another area to help besides RICE. Because I am looking for an edge where I dont need to constantly be resting.

     

    I have a fairly plodding gait. Maybe my feet are on the ground too long and stressing the calf,, first absorbing then pushing off. So I'm trying to increase my cadence? Its not easy without speeding up the pace. Do you think increase in cadence would help?

     

    Does anyone have some thoughts or a direction they can point to me that might help me apply improvements to running form to reduce injury.

     

    Currently, I am concentrating on landing closer in to my center of gravity (under my base) instead of out front.

     

    Any thoughts?

      Few things:

       

      First, I doubt this has anything to do with your cadence.

      Second, read the article I'll paste below... it's perhaps the most important  habit to get into.

      Third, try wearing compression socks all the time. I've found they help keep the blood flowing and with healing.  I've found the futuro brand that you can buy at Walgreens work quite well and don't break the bank like the typical compression sleeves found at running stores.

       

      Here's the article I've saved off:

       

      Oh, My aching calves

      My calve injuries must have been God's way of showing me that somewhere along the way, I messed up. These were my most secretive feelings for many years. I shared them with no one, for no one could understand the emotional distress associated with chronic calf injuries.

      After 15 years as a sportsmedicine specialist in which I'd treated hundreds of runners with various running. I finally was introduced to a solution to my calf problems. If tightness, soreness, slow recovery, or muscle pulls is also your albatross in life, you may want to read this.

      The calf is one of the most used muscle groups in the runner. Along with the hamstring, calf problems afflict almost all runners at one time or another. The role the calf plays in the running gait makes it highly vulnerable to tightness, stiffness, tendinitis, and chronic pulls. To the runner who suffers from this syndrome, running can become a not-so-favorite pastime laced long periods of injury and frustration.

      Calf problems are usually due to micro-traumas that occur with every run. A typical muscle that is exercised multiple times a week is injured on the microscopic level with every workout. These micro-injuries require to heal. As the muscle is used and the microtraumas occur, an inherit tightening or contracture takes place.

      This is the body's attempt to protect the muscle to allow the necessary time for recovery. The downside of this is built in protective mechanisms that there is a reduced blood flow to the muscle, this reduced blood flow furthers the contracture or tightening.

       

      This cycle usually leads to injury or chronic tightness and stiffness that limit a runner with regard to mileage and hard workouts. AS soon as the muscle tightness is mildly improved, most runners feel the need to get back out on the road or track as quickly as possible. This is taking a muscle that is just starting to recover and asking it to perform when it is not capable of doing so and the cycle continues.

      The tightening that occurs with constant running has to be addressed on a daily basis in an effort to resolve this problem. While most sportsmendicine specialist and coaches recommend a detailed stretching program, stretching alone will not solve this condition.

       

      The primary problem is that the internal pressure of the muscle is so great (due to the tightening/protective mechanism of the body) that new blood, which is vital for reparation and recovery, cannot enter the muscle. External pressure, greater than the protective internal muscular pressure, has to be applied to the calf muscles in an effort to relax the muscle and encourage a copious, nutrient-rich blood flow necessary for proper food and oxygen to the muscle.

       

      There are three options with regard to employing the necessary treatment to the calves to combat tightness, stiffness, and injuries. The first is to use your thumbs in applying an upward stroke to the calves, starting just above the Achilles up to the back of the knee. The key is to get into calves with enough pressure to help relax the muscle and encourage blood flow into the muscle. The runner should apply 20-30 strokes on both calves.

       

      The second option is to work with a fellow runner and apply the necessary treatment to each other. This is certainly easier, however, another partner is not always available. The final option is to use a tool that allows runners to treat themselves, such as The Stick®. This provides the necessary treatment, is extremely easy to employ, and can be done in 30-45 seconds.

       

      In order to succeed with this approach, muscles must be treated multiple times per day. The treatment cannot become time consuming, since none of us have the time for a lengthy treatment. Again, the treatment could be done in as little as 30-45 seconds.

       

      The most important time for application is just prior to going out for a run, with the second most important being after a run. Ideally, five to six treatments per day will begin to provide the necessary influx of new blood to the damaged, tightened muscle. This will expedite the repair and relaxation process that will allow the calf muscle to undergo the stresses of running without the residual buildup of waste products, toxins, and tightening that is all part of the normal cycle of muscular use and repair.

       

      It is critical to have the muscle in a totally relaxed state while treating it. When sitting down, life the thigh off the floor with the foot free hanging. Let the toe point downward. This will allow the calf muscle to be relaxed. This position is also possible when laying down. When standing put the foot on a stool or chair and make sure the knee is behind the heel instead of ahead of the toe. This will allow for maximum relaxation when applying pressure.

       

      Finally, treatment should not only be done when pain, tightness, or injury is present. This treatment should become a habit for all runners, since calf problems are truly in epidemic proportions. The calf undergoes excessive stress and recovery support with this treatment will provide the insurance you need to stay on the road instead of injured list.

        I also suffer from chronic calf problems. I Tom is correct about micro trauma. What is working for me is that I am seeing a chiropractor. He does Active Release Techniques (ART).  Also you need to rest and recovery  but easy running also aids it the healing process by circulating blood and helping stretch the muscle.

        Orion Goals: 5k 18:30 10K 38:00 Marathon 3:10

        RunOJRun.blogspot.com


        Will run for scenery.

          Are you sure it's muscle damage ?

           

          I had extreme sudden-onset muscle pain that would show up arbitrarily on either leg when I was beginning.  I would take time off, go to PT, get ultrasound, and gradually become well enough to attempt running again.  And again.  The last straw was when it happened during a Pose Running seminar !

           

          Finally I was desperate enough to try ART - from a chiropractor ! I know !  He identified my problem as an adhesion of an artery/vein/nerve bundle to a channel that passes smack dab through the middle of one of the calf muscles.  It should slip, but for me it was a little bit stuck which caused the muscle to clamp down even harder.

           

          Anyway, he did three treatments and I was good for a year.  I had one isloated episode a month ago and he fixed it in one treatment.

           

          Anyway, keep in mind that unless you're certain that you damaged your muscle, there could be something else going on.  It takes a lot of searching, but when you find the solution it is so worth it.

          Stupid feet!

          Stupid elbow!

            Thanks All, and I agree with your points. Believe me, over the years I have become familiar with the reality of what is happening to the muscle (micro tears etc), and how to treat (massage, rest etc). But I am looking for some alternate thoughts about the intrinsic cause; specifically running form. Maybe its pointless, but I think there could be some connection and ways to reduce impact through improved form and even quicker turnover.

              If your lower legs are doing too much work, there is a good chance that your hips and core are weak. You want to be generating power with your butt (posterior chain), not your calves. When my calves and achilles start to bother me, I work on hip strength and flexibility.

              brandon runs


                could be shoes, may need to change shoes, happened to me

                Chris Pinney


                  What Jeff said and dont "push" off. Read Danny Dryers book Chi Running. Really helped me.

                    +1

                     

                    If your lower legs are doing too much work, there is a good chance that your hips and core are weak. You want to be generating power with your butt (posterior chain), not your calves. When my calves and achilles start to bother me, I work on hip strength and flexibility.

                    Orion Goals: 5k 18:30 10K 38:00 Marathon 3:10

                    RunOJRun.blogspot.com

                      If your lower legs are doing too much work, there is a good chance that your hips and core are weak. You want to be generating power with your butt (posterior chain), not your calves. When my calves and achilles start to bother me, I work on hip strength and flexibility.

                       

                      I just want to second this, andre, because I really sympathize with your situation. Any running injuries I have ever had have been south of my knees*. I have not had calf injuries in a few years, but the injuries just keep moving on down the chain. Recently, a bout of PF/ankle pain. I seem to be almost out of the woods, but this morning I really paid attention to "running from the hips" and engaging my glutes.  Not only that, but my left side is obviously weaker than my right.  I can stand on my right leg, knee bent, for a decent length of time.  My left leg?  Perhaps a few second. 

                       

                      *I am not counting the current pain in my right knee. I got that one running full-tilt, immersed in thoughts about an up-coming race, when I happened upon (and through!) a metal hubcap ring.

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


                      Fat butt on couch

                        If you have an Amazon account, look up "Anatomy for Runners"; I think that is the full title.  I don't have my Kindle with me so I can't check it now.

                         

                        I have not yet made it through the whole book so I will withhold stating a full opinion, but I will say that being 80% through it I think it will cause me to do a lot of extra core/stabilizing work in the near future.  On the plane last night I read a section specifically addressing the OP.

                         

                        It will be months before I can evaluate results, but several things in the book struck a nerve with me in relation to several significant injury issues which escalated over the past couple years to more or less stop my running earlier this year.  Give it a read.

                        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                         

                          If you have an Amazon account, look up "Anatomy for Runners"; I think that is the full title.  I don't have my Kindle with me so I can't check it now.

                           

                           

                          this one? http://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Runners-Unlocking-Potential-Prevention/dp/1620871599/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1373295236&sr=8-1&keywords=anatomy+of+runners


                          Fat butt on couch

                            "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                             

                              Don't fire a cannon from a canoe.

                              Runners run.

                                . . . 

                                 

                                *I am not counting the current pain in my right knee. I got that one running full-tilt, immersed in thoughts about an up-coming race, when I happened upon (and through!) a metal hubcap ring.

                                 

                                Been there and  done that too, with a metal hubcap ring. Last summer, at an intersection that was crowded with motorists, so my resulting near-face-plant was probably a source of entertainment for them all. Black eye

                                1