Crampy Calf

9 messages
22/02/2011 at 08:06
On my long run the weekend before last I developed a cramping/pulling feeling in my calf. It wasnt too bad so I completed the 10 miles but found I couldnt use my leg fully for 3 days afterwards. I iced it when I got back and had a massage on Wednesday which helped, then waited until the following (last) Sunday before running on it again.

4 Miles in it started to feel crampy again and at 6 miles I pulled up. However, I was about 3 mile from home, I walked a couple of miles and got really cold so I decided to try to run the last mile. Ive heard you have different types of muscle fibres so I wondered if I ran faster would the sensation in my leg be different - Well it was. I found I could run a burst of speed with hardly any discomfort but doing my normal trot was really uncomfortable.

Does this indicate anything ?? I'm kind of desperate to get back to running again as I've been training for Reading which is in just over 3 weeks time. If I can run fast but not slow would that indicate that the damage to my calf is not too bad ??

Sorry for the essay. Thanks for reading MM
25/02/2011 at 10:15

Hi Minnie,

sorry I can't give you any advice as I am experiencing the same thng at the moment, which is really holding me back. Did it gradually creep up your calf or was it instantaneous? Mine seems to start on the inside of my calf and spreads, usually on my right leg.  

Funnily enough, I have never suffered from calf pain and have been running from 20 years, until a ran the London Marathon in 2009 when it went after only 3 miles! 

27/02/2011 at 20:40
Mine is exactly the same ! A gradual feeling that spread from the deepest part of my calf until I had to stop running. I took another week off this last week and iced/ibuprofen/massaged etc then tried to just go 2 miles but had to stop after less than 3/4 of a mile - strangely though I can use our cross trainer for 40 mins with no problem at all so what ever muscles Im using for running are not the same as for xtraining. Im off to consult a physio tomorrow to see what he says.
Edited: 27/02/2011 at 20:59
28/02/2011 at 09:00

Let me know how you get on. It will be interesting to know what your physio's advice is.

I logged on to a really helpful website this weekend, which gives you tips on how to self diagnose, treat and recover, including strengthening exercises - www.sportsinjuryclinic.net

They grade the severity of an injury and possibly the following apply to us (mine is mainly no 1) -

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.
Edited: 28/02/2011 at 09:01
28/02/2011 at 20:44
Been to the Physio. Ive pulled my soleus muscle. Physio said it was most probably due to dehydration during the first 10 mile run and after that I've just been aggravating it.

He said as a rule of thumb with calves for runners - wait until there is no noticeable pain during everyday activity and then a further week before trying to run. Im sticking to xtraining, alternate ice and heat and gentle stretching. Going back at the end of the weeks rest for a massage and to see how things are healing.
01/03/2011 at 08:48

I suppose a pull in better than a tear!

At least you have had the problem identified. One of the other injury threads on the forum also identified dehydration. There has been a bottle of water in my hand ever since!!! 

I waited 5 days since my last run and have been doing some specific stretching and strengthening exercises (been getting some funny looks at work). Went for a run last night and was fine. I just made sure that did some additional stretching before and after. Normally do about 5 mins worth, but did a good 15 mins yesterday.

Just going to take it easy and reduce the time of my runs for a bit. Hope everything goes well for yourself! 

01/03/2011 at 18:49
Good luck to you too 2hours57.

Psysio expects my calf to be ok for the Reading half on 20th but he said it would be all down to if I feel the training I've done so far is enough to get me round safely. It'll drive me mad watching my husband go out to train but I'll wait till next Monday and then see how my first run goes before deciding.
01/03/2011 at 20:38

When I had a pulled calf I found it really helped to hand-massage my calf myself, two or three times a day for several days, then even after it had settled down, routinely massage both calves for a few minutes every evening - no calf problems since doing this (which proves nothing, but...).

02/03/2011 at 09:37

I agree with Debra about the massage. Luckily, I get my partner to do it using the instructions on the previously mentioned website -  www.sportsinjuryclinic.net

It focuses on 4 types -

  • Effleurage - applying broad pressure from the achilles to the top of the calf, but not back down again.
  • Petrissage - using one hand in an action similar to needing dough
  • Stripping - using both thumbs, again from the achilles, but gradually seperating the thumbs to gently pull the musles in your calf apart.
  • Circular frictions - using your thumb in a circular motion

It doesn't recommend you do this too deep, as the untrained may cause more damaged, but it is cheaper than visiting a physio.......and sends me to sleep!

Edited: 02/03/2011 at 09:38

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