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recovery from calf injury (Read 2474 times)

jsimms435


    Last Thursday I injured myself and strained my left calf muscle.  I tried again today (Monday) to run again and made it about 3/4 around the block before it started to hurt.  When it did it was a stabbing pain.  I miss running on the days that I can't and wondered how long these things usually take to heal?  I am elevating, putting ice on it and resting (apparently not enough).


    Petco Run/Walk/Wag 5k

      Sorry to hear about the injury. Try resting it for a few more days, avoid stretching, and when starting back, walk a bit before trying to run. A week or so of walking, a little faster each time should let you know if the calf has healed. At least that's my non-educated, non-medical opinion.

      bob e v
      2014 goals: keep on running! Is there anything more than that?

      Complete the last 3 races in the Austin Distance Challenge, Rogue 30k, 3M Half, Austin Full

      Break the 1000 mi barrier!

      History: blessed heart attack 3/15/2008; c25k july 2008 first 5k 10/26/2008 on 62nd birthday.

        I suffered a calf strain (i.e., partial tear in the muscle) back in 2009.  Doc advised taking 3-4 weeks completely off and also not stressing it with anything else that worked the calf muscles (tennis, going up stairs on the balls of my feet).  Did that, and it healed perfectly.

         

        I was also advised that failing to rest it and trying instead of "play through it" can lead to a poor repair, which can render it susceptible to later reinjury.  I've had no problems.

        “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman

        jsimms435


          Yeah, I was thinking about doing some core and upper body work and giving it a few weeks.  I hate to stay away from running that long though.  I am diabetic and the running really helps to burn off sugar and lower my blood sugar numbers

            Yeah, I was thinking about doing some core and upper body work and giving it a few weeks.  I hate to stay away from running that long though.  I am diabetic and the running really helps to burn off sugar and lower my blood sugar numbers

             

            It's the calf-strain time of year. I think there is a close relation between calf-strains and dehydration, so yeah, drink water.

              Its is the time of year, I tore mine last March, didnt run for about a month then started back slowly. I was able to do a fair bit of cycling though as this didnt affect it. Probably took a further month to get back to where I was pre-injury.

                Does it hurt when you do a toe raise or more when you toe off when running? Does it hurt when you walk.  A true calf (gastroc/soleus strain vs a deep flexor strain (flexor digitorum longus) could effect recovery time. If you can do a calf raise on a stair and don't feel it, it is the deep flexor muscle.  I strained a deep flexor muscle and took off 3 days and it came back. The did a 10K race and fought through it with pain. I then took of 7 days completely from running. I did a short easy 3 miler on day 8 and was just fine and never had an issue again. It just depends on the degree of damage. Yours does not sound serious.

                Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!

                jsimms435


                  It's the calf-strain time of year. I think there is a close relation between calf-strains and dehydration, so yeah, drink water.

                   

                  I'm trying to understand how calf-strain and dehydration could be related and I just am not seeing it.  Maybe you can explain that a little more?

                  jsimms435


                    Does it hurt when you do a toe raise or more when you toe off when running? Does it hurt when you walk.  A true calf (gastroc/soleus strain vs a deep flexor strain (flexor digitorum longus) could effect recovery time. If you can do a calf raise on a stair and don't feel it, it is the deep flexor muscle.  I strained a deep flexor muscle and took off 3 days and it came back. The did a 10K race and fought through it with pain. I then took of 7 days completely from running. I did a short easy 3 miler on day 8 and was just fine and never had an issue again. It just depends on the degree of damage. Yours does not sound serious.

                     

                    I can go up the stairs fine.  it actually bothers me a little more when I am coming down the stairs.  I do feel it when I walk, but it is not unbearable pain or anything like that. 

                      I'm trying to understand how calf-strain and dehydration could be related and I just am not seeing it.  Maybe you can explain that a little more?

                       

                      Not really. I think mikeymike clued me into this. It's a sort of folk-theory. Take it or leave it.

                       

                      You are going to have to stay away from impact for maybe a week or two. The elliptical can be a good substitute after a couple days. Don't stretch it, as that will risk exacerbating the strain. You can massage it regularly to get more blood in and get the crud out.

                        Depends on the severity of the strain. I believe the degree of strain can be categorized almost the same way as a ankle sprain. 1st degree and so on.

                         

                        Deep tissue massage, do it yourself. Dig in with your thumb to get some blood flowing. You should be able to find the spot. It's probably knot like.

                         

                        Dehydration makes my calves cramp, thus making them more prone to strain. Aggravated by being a toe runner.

                         

                        From the interweb.

                         

                        Muscle strains are graded from 1-3, with grade 1 being a minor tear, with up to 10% of fibres involved. A grade 2 tear involves up to 90% of the muscle fibres and a grade 3 is over 90% of fibres torn, or a full rupture. This usually occurs at the muscular tendinous junction or the achilles tendon itself.

                        Grade 1:

                        • A twinge of pain in the back of the lower leg.
                        • May be able to play on.
                        • Tightness and aching in the 2-5 days after.

                        Grade 2

                        • Sharp pain in the back of the lower leg.
                        • Pain when walking.
                        • There may be swelling in the calf.
                        • Mild to moderate bruising.
                        • Pain on resisted plantarflexion.
                        • Tightness and aching for a week or more.

                        Grade 3

                        • Severe immediate pain.
                        • A sudden pain at the back of the leg, often at the muscular tendinous junction (see image below).
                        • Inability to contract the muscle.
                        • Considerable bruising and swelling.
                        • In the case of a full rupture, often the muscle can be seen to be bunched up towards the top of the calf.
                          Deep tissue massage aggravated the heck out of mine and I believe set me back the first time I tested it. After the week off I did more active warm up after soaking it in hot bath. I wanted to get all fibers warmed up before testing and to prevent micro tearing. Massage is nice when coming back from an injury where more scar tissue is present. Certainly nothing wrong with some massage but don't dig at it.

                          Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!

                            There's no causal relationship between cramping and dehydration. At least that's Tim Noakes' (Lore of Running) conclusion, and he presents a solid argument. (Noakes is a critic of dehydration being used as a catch-all explanation for what ails runners, with more resulting cases of hyponatremia.)

                             

                            I've suffered Grade 1 calf strains in both legs (different times). I had to wait 3-4 days to walk without pain, and then recovered very quickly. I both cases I was running again 6-7 days after the strain. These were relatively minor -- no bruising, swelling, etc. -- so I don't know whether running that soon was a Bad Thing to do.

                              There's no causal relationship between cramping and dehydration. At least that's Tim Noakes' (Lore of Running) conclusion, and he presents a solid argument. (Noakes is a critic of dehydration being used as a catch-all explanation for what ails runners, with more resulting cases of hyponatremia.)

                               

                              What is the argument? I'm open to it.

                               

                              Meanwhile, if you google "calf strain" and "dehydration," you will see that I'm not the only one with this theory. I'm certainly not wedded to it. 

                               

                              I didn't mean to be using dehydration as a catch-all explanation for anything.

                                What is the argument? I'm open to it.

                                 

                                Meanwhile, if you google "calf strain" and "dehydration," you will see that I'm not the only one with this theory. I'm certainly not wedded to it. 

                                 

                                I didn't mean to be using dehydration as a catch-all explanation for anything.

                                 

                                I'll do my best to summarize it. Here's a good passage from Lore of Running that represents his position:

                                 

                                "There is no evidence of a gross disturbance in blood electrolyte levels in runners with cramps (Maughan 1986; Schwellnus 1999) nor of the theory that ingesting electrolytes (such as sodium chloride, magnesium, or zinc) will prevent cramps from developing. Dehydration also seems to be an unlikely candidate; runners who develop cramps during exercise are no more likely to be dehydrated than are runners who do not develop cramps during the same race. Thus, an excessive fluid intake is not likely to be of value. Indeed, hyponatremia induced by an excessive fluid intake can lead to cramping."

                                 

                                Tim Noakes bases a lot of his conclusions on medical and research literature reviews, and I find even some of his more controversial ideas (like the "central governor" theory) very interesting.

                                 

                                Didn't intend to aim to "catch all" comment at you -- sorry if it came across that way. It was more a general observation of Noakes' work.

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