Calf muscles lock up and become painful when running
every time I run I find that after about 5 miles I get like cramp or something in my calf which causes it lock right up so I can't run anymore. I have had lots of physio and sports massage which helps and they recommended wearing calf guards which are excellent. If I wear them I still feel little sharp pains in the calves but it never gets any worse so I can keep running.
I wondered if anyone has any idea of what might be causing my calf problems and if there is anything I can do that might mean I can ditch the calf guards?
I'm not sure what the difference might be between locking and pain. Three years ago I had a calf muscle tear which was treated by a physio some while after it had happened. She said that there was scar tissue there and that that what was causing me continued pain. That all got sorted out, mainly through fairly long periods of rest and light stretching-in fact it took about six weeks overall. Since then my calf has spoiled my running again on two or three further occasions...I'm currently in the throes of not being able to run because of a pain that creeps up very quickly upon starting to run. In this case within a half minute! This latest episode came on during a run at about the four mile mark causing me to have to turn back and walk home. It's not a tear I don't think because it kind of creeps up. I've thought about it being cramp but not sure. In recent episodes when I have felt it ok to run again I've worn a calf support for a few weeks as I build up the miles. I can't be done with going to a physio again (cost!) so am going to wait another two weeks and start off again. I suspect that not running for a reasonable period of time will heal the problem!
Hi Steve sorry to hear about your calf troubles, sounds fairly similar to my problem. Touch wood I find the calf guards really help but I cant run without them now. I use a foam roller and do lots of stretching before and after runs but although that surely helps the calf guards are still a must for me
Strengthen your calves. Calf raises every other day should do the trick. Calf supports only mask the problem until the calves weaken further and you end up unable to run even with the calf guards.
it might seem boring but the best way to overcomr a weakness is to strengthen the area affected.
Thanks for that Flob...to be truthful I guess that's the one thing I've not done. Ever. I'll start giving it a go and report back!
Cheers Flob, I'll give the strengthening a go too
I had a calf problem which sounds similar to yours for years. It felt like it would "ping", at which point I couldn't run and if I tried to go on, it would lengthen the recovery time from a couple of days to several weeks.
I changed my running style to the "forefoot/midfoot" style (as opposed to heal striking) and the problem disappeared overnight.
However, if you give this a go, do build up your mileage slowly or it can lead to other problems. But it is worth it.
cheers blackcat... I'm doing the new forest half marathon this September but after that I might give the change of running style a try too.
How much water do you drink a day Crippso? Are you a heavy sweater when running? (ie, do you get white marks on run kit?)
Hi Johnas, probably not enough and I guess I'd class as a super heavy sweater.. and that's before I even get my running shoes on
I'd try and make a concerted effort to increase your hydration levels - you'll be amazed that something so simple can have such a positive effect. Get yourself a 500ml drinks bottle and try and fill it 3 or 4 times a day. And if you're a heavy sweater, add a product like Nuun tablets to replace necessary electrolytes - don't do it for every refill (it'll enbd up costing a bomb) but maybe just once a day.
if you're not drinking enough water throughout the day, the body will naturally look after the more important places before your calf muscles which might be the reason you're getting the cramps. Something that no amount of physio or massage will sort out.
Cheers Johnas, I'll give that a go. Looks like I'll have to do some serious research into those tables, each brand seems to have different amounts of certain things!
I wouldn't get caught up in all that Crippso. Just go for a well trusted brand like Nuun, SIS or High 5 and you'll get what you're after. No need to overcomplicate it and remember drinking water throughout the day is just as important
Worth searching out deals on line for the tablets as they can work out expensive though.
Ultra runners use salt/electrolyte supplement tabs; my wife finds "S!Caps" from Centurian Runners excellent and better than "saltstick caps" (buffered electrolyte salt capsules. The tablets for Centurian Runners she says are easier to swallow. But ...back to MY calf problem (well initially it was the "ping" like BlackCat's...a real muscle tear and typical sensation of one. My calf problems since have been probably due to scar tissue and not doing things right! I'm into my twelfth day of NO running at all and am expecting to do twenty five paces of jogging on Saturday! If this goes well then it will be a patient slow, slow increase over a period of about two weeks and even then only gradually building up. I've done it this way before and it worked!
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