Painful calf


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06/06/2003 at 06:13
My training for a marathon in Sept. was going great until recently. While running in a 1/2 marathon at the beginning of May at about the 10 mile mark I started to get a really sharp pain in the lower area of my right calf.
Tried resting it for a week and then gave it another few days of gentle stretching and then tried a very gentle jog which seemed to be going ok until about a mile when this pain returned.
Grateful for any advice
06/06/2003 at 09:08
Sounds like a tear to the gastroc' muscle.

This a general rule of thumb for a medium sized tear.

Day 1-3 Rest and ice,

Day 3-10 Start to do gentle stretches and hold the stretches for 7 minutes for each muscle group 3 times a day! Build the stretches in intensity over the 10 days. you can also start to break down the scar tissue in this period with ultra sound and/or massage. During these 10 days you can start to excercise again but with no weight bearing activity, including cycling. Basicaly only swimming and then don't push off too hard on the turns.

Day 10-18. Do a bit of cycling or get on the cross trainer to start to strengthen the muscle. You must keep the stretching or the muscle will heal less flexible.

Day 18-42 Start to run again but build up your distance and intensity over this period.

It takes 21 days for muscle tissue to reform and a further 21 to strengthen. The scar tissue is not as flexible as the original tissue and is therefore more likely to tear again.

Good luck
06/06/2003 at 09:21
The calf will feel fine after a week and you'll be tempted to run again, as you've already found out, DON'T.
Follow the above advice and you should be ok. The above will have you running again in 6 weeks. You must be patient with muscles tears or 6 weeks could turn into 6 months.
08/06/2003 at 19:51
Pizza man

Thanks very much for the advice-the way things are going it looks as though you are spot on.(going to a sports injury clinic in the morning I'll let you know what s(he)says) If indeed you are right then its going to be at least another 4-5 weeks before I'm running again - whats the chances of a decent run in the Loch Ness marathon (Sept 28th.)
Once again thanks very much for your time and advice - much appreciated.
09/06/2003 at 14:17
Pizza man
Just back from the clinic and as I said before it looks as tho. your diagnosis was spot on. However he was a little perplexed as to why it would happen so long into a race so he decided to delve a bit deeper and found that my spine is out of line - which drags the right side of my body up which in turn shortens my right leg (maybe I should take up cticket) and places a lot of stress on the lower part of that leg. Fortunately as I'm only 5'6" he will manage to realign the spine and bring my right leg back to it's full length I was worried that he would shorten the left leg which would have made me look like Latrouse Lautrec.
Anyway many thanks for your help it really is much appreciated
09/06/2003 at 15:29
It's good to know why it tore.

Sounds like you did the right thing by going to a Sports Injury Clinic and not the Physio. They tend to look a bit deeper into the causes and rehab' as well as treating the acute injury.

Best of luck with the cricket~
13/06/2003 at 16:26
I hope that I am not experiencing the same thing. I am training for the Lochness marathon as well and have felt a pain in my lower for the last two evening's runs. I will rest it and see how it goes.

I am getting into my training schedule and do no twant to stop doing the runs.

Thanks for your advice and i'm going to think positive because the pain seems to go totally the next day.
13/06/2003 at 22:16
Jane, it could well be you are getting a warning. Have a couple of days total rest and then resume your training on a x-tainer for a week. This should give your calves a chnce to recover.
A rest will probably do you good and you'll feel rested and rearing to go after 10 days off running. If you just transfer the sessions you would have run to the x-trainer you'll not looses any fitness.
15/06/2003 at 20:45

Hope you are feeling o.k. Take it easy there is still plenty of time.
I've not started running yet but I have spent the time carbo loading (pints and pints of Guinness) I know its a wee bit early but I was feeling a wee bit down.
Got my work cut out getting ready for Loch Ness but 'Hey we all we need a challenge in our lives'
Take care, hope you have a great Loch Ness experince, and by the way take notice of Pizza Man he seems to know what he's talking about.
16/06/2003 at 10:20
Pizza man

Thanks for the advice. I have taken a few days off and I am feeling much better with no pain. I thought I would try a short 3 or 4 miles on Tuesday and see how I get on. The hardest part is being patient and resisting the urge to run.

Leg's O' Jelly

I hope you are feeling better and I'm sure that the Guinness has helped. I hope you have a good Lochness and perhaps I'll see you there.
16/06/2003 at 10:25
Jane, glad to see you're feeling ok. Be carefull and listen to your body. take an extra rest day when you feel like it. Rest is a major factor in training as this when the body converts the training into fitness.
06/07/2003 at 20:11
Interesting to see that you have similar problems to me. I was going very well as we gradually increased out mileage on sunday mornings from beginning of Jan towards London. The on one day at about 15 miles my calf just tightened up and i couldnt run any further. Interestingly i had run off road in different shoes for the first time the day before. That was mid april and i am still suffering. Thought all was ok and ran in the St Albans half and at 9 miles it went again. I suppose i must be patient and rest properly, but i am generally impatient and do too much too quickly.
Hope you get to Loch Ness
08/09/2003 at 15:25
I wish I'd read this thread a week ago! Was about 10 minutes into a run, exactly a week ago, when for no apparent reason a pain came on in my lower left calf. Ignored it for a 20-30 yards but it was becoming more insistant/painful so I stopped but continued to walk/limp home. When I got home I massaged it and applied Deep Heat (what not to do!!!) Within a day I was walking without pain and a few days later it felt good as new. I could feel a definate bruise at the bottom of my calf. Being reasonably cautious I decided to give it a full week.
Have just been out for a run and took it very gently... I was within sight of the end just thinking how well it had gone when it came on again exactly as before... this time I stopped immediately and limped home.
I immediately referred to this forum and have applied ice. I might go to the local sports injuries clinic on Wednesday but this thread exactly describes the symptoms.
Possible reasons:
1) I've only just got back into running and bought some good shoes (New Bal 855s) which I've found to be very good from a cushioning/support viewpoint BUT after a long weekend away when I wore them continually (limited luggage) I found that they seem to have bruised my achilles tendon. So perhaps the pressure on my tendon is stretching the calf muscle?
2. Also I'm pretty heavy... have just lost 2 stone but am still 16.5 stones. Maybe I ought to continue my weight loss and postpone the running (cycle instead?) until I'm another stone lighter?
15/09/2003 at 12:38
And I wish I'd seen this thread weeks ago too! I have exactly the same symptoms, although my physio has not mentioned a muscle tear, more a strain I think...I hope that means that it's not as bad as I have the Great North Run on Sunday... I'm not sure whether I should just go for it or cut my losses?

Cheers, Anne
21/09/2003 at 12:53
I had to pull out of todays 10k in Edinburgh soem exactly this injury. Had managed to get up to 9.5 miles on treadmill and good 8.5 miles outside where I live.

Took the week easy with a 5 miler on Tuesday and thought I would put in 3 miles on Friday night.

1.5 miles in and it felt as if I'd been shot in the calf. Went to doc yesterday who said Achilles ok but gastroc muscle possible torn.

I cannot believe this is going to take up to 6 weeks. I've just got my weight inc ontrol, got some good tone and started to really look forward to my runs.

Absolute bummer. I will tho go and try to find a sports clinic in Edinburgh and get a proper assessment.

I think it has something to do with me destroying lateral and cruciate about 3 years ago. Id didn't get surgery but managed so far without it. Maybe this is causing issues with right leg as I also get blisters on that foot only.

Still having watched GNR I will not let this stop me.

22/09/2003 at 14:26
Wish I had read this before! Had this same injury in my right leg, rested and then got it in my left leg.

I went to see a sports therapist who told me it is because of pronation and that I should give up running altogether. I don't run very much, just started 3 years ago and do about half an hour 3 times a week. He said if I have to run then I need to go and see a podiatrist and get orthotics. I've always had my shoes fitted by a specialist in the past so was surprised.

All seems a bit depressing - I'm only 27! I do lots of other exercise: swimming, cycling, yoga, gym, but the running has been a real confidence-builder and I don't want to give it up.

I just wonder if the guy I saw was perhaps exaggerating, some people swear by core training and won't do any cardio activity?

Any thoughts from anyone?
22/09/2003 at 15:01
having just recovered from achilles/calf problems in my right leg which took a course of physio and ultra sound over about 2 months, I was very dissapointed to get problems with the left leg.

The other posts on this thread sound very familiar, mine felt sore after a slow 4 mile training run but then went big time at 3 miles, half way up a steep hill on the Mersea Island 5 miler the other week. I thought someone had kicked a rock into my calf. I have been icing it daily and have been to see a physio who administered deep tissue massage to both calfs and achilles. This was possibly the most painful thing I have ever been through, but I felt a lot better afterwards.

As part of the physio session he asked me about stretching and I had to confess that I was not very strict about it. He told me that we should all be stretching every day, even if we don't exercise. My calfs are very tight and I wasn't able to get anywhere near the first stretch he showed me. I have to continue with the on I could do using a belt and see him in a couple of weeks when he gets back from hols.

He also noticed that I was slightly lopsided and he found that the muscle in my bum cheek (don't know the technical term) was vitually seized up. his may be due to carrying a heavy brief case on a shoulder strap on that side. Anyway that resulted in more excritiaing muscle mashing where he used his elbow to get deep into the muscle.

I'm hoping this guy is good, he was recomended by our club physio and went to Paris with the England team rec.

On Sunday I entered the Ingatestone 5 mile race although the area at the top of the achilles was still qite tender. I took it very gently, especially on the hills and found that the achilles pain dissapeared at about 3 miles but the pain returned higher up where it tore before. Still I managed to finish and although it hurts today, the achilles still feels ok and it's just the muscle that hurts. This is similar to the recovery I went through with the right leg so I'm hopeful that if I keep up the physio and stretching I will eventually be ok.

Hozza, I'd go and see a podiatrist if I were you, orthotics can work wonders. I have a pair prescribed when I started suffering from shin splints which I wear in a pair a motion control shoes.


22/09/2003 at 15:11
Jenks, thanks for the advice.

Second you on deep tissue massage, excruciating. Also got given some good stretching exercises to do.

Apparently it is really important to build up the muscles in your bum (that's your gluts) and your inner thighs, areas which you don't tend to work on typically. I'm told that building strength there can help to protect from injury in legs and back. Injuries are rarely caused in the place where the symptom ie the pain occurs.

Well done for finishing, hope you continue to recover.
22/09/2003 at 21:15
jenks, did you get a "deep massage" on the achillies?
23/09/2003 at 10:59
Pizza Man, I think I did, he certainly started his 'rubbing' from the back of my heal. There was a lump at the point where the top of the achilles meets the muscle and he spent a bit of time on that and it did reduce in size. I wouldn't say he 'went in deep' with the achilles though.

Worryingly he said he didn't go as deep as he could on this first session.....Next time I think i'll ask for an anesthetic or take some ibuprophen at least. Just take a deap breath Colin, and breath out slowly. Dificult to do, i'd barely get the breath in before I exhaled in about 2 nano seconds.

Mmm I'm really looking forward to the next session now...


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