Repeated calf strain

..and I mean repeated..

1 to 20 of 91 messages
20/02/2006 at 18:55
A nagging pain in the left calf (always the left) which then leads to that terrible sensation of being shot by a sniper in the back of the leg - this has happened every 12 months or so for the last 4 years - today being the most recent example (hence this post) and always, it seems, when training is going according to plan (the Leeds half in May being the current objective).

I've had sustained deep muscle massage on old scar tissue from a fantastic physio, I wear orthotics to correct pronation and I'm a world authority on warming up, self-massage and all the sensible things you're meant to do.

I'm booked into the physio again on Wednesday for more of the same but for a 45 year old, this can't go on for ever.

Is there such a thing as an irreperable calf muscle and should I cash my chips in now before incurring further professional fees??




20/02/2006 at 19:35
SS- Im 51 and have suffered a couple of times over the last few years always seems to happen to me when off road.
So have not been running for last 2 weeks
during which I have had
a cold bath every other day,
4 lots of sports massage,
stretching 3 times a day + self massage
hot and cold iceing twice a day, rubbing in some emu oil twice a day,
and have just started cross training at the gym 4th session tomorrow.
I dont know if any of this will help but I hope all goes well
oh and the wife thinks Im mad
20/02/2006 at 23:44
Thanks for that - I'm ready for another physio session Wed which will no doubt bring tears to my eyes (if it doesn't its not working) and I'll see how I go from there, with bike sessions at the gym to keep ticking over and, with a bit of luck, still able to make the Leeds half on 7/5
21/02/2006 at 06:18
Might be worth having your orthotics checked over? Mine lost their supportiveness after a couple of years and needed replacing.

Good luck with the physio (ouch!)
21/02/2006 at 09:19
I hope this doesn't sound a stupid question but I am having a big problem with a searing pain at the top of my left calf.Is this calf strain? I am not an experienced runner although I have run 2 marathons. This is a problem that has come on in the last year and doesn't seem to be getting any better.
I start off running and the pain gradually gets worse and worse. The pain lessens if I run on my toes but this is then hurting my knee. Can you give me any advice - it's agony? I am wearing stability shoes after a treadmill assessment at a running shop.
21/02/2006 at 09:41
It sounds like you need to see a physio - i've learnt from bitter experience that its the kind of injury that rest alone does not cure. Having said that do not run if you experience agony.

A decent physio will diagnose the problem pretty quickly - my problem is old scar tissue from football injuries 10-15 years back - but either way a course of massage should sort it out. The massage is (and should be) VERY painful, especially at first and you will probably get some bruising but its better pain - if thats the right way of putting it - than the agony you describe from running.

Also take your shoes to the physio and ask him/ her about orthotics.

Good luck
21/02/2006 at 11:13
Thanks for that advice, much appreciated.
21/02/2006 at 22:29
I tweaked my calf last wednesday and rested until monday night. As i had felt fine saturday and sunday i thought my calf could withstand a gentle 7.30min/mile run. However a pain occurred in exactly the same place and I had to end my run abruptly. Im now hobbling round even worse than I was last wednesday barely able to put any weight on my leg or flex my ankle. Ive got a few races early-mid april that I want to be fit for. How long should I stop training for?
21/02/2006 at 22:47
Your injury (like mine) is a maddeningly inexact thing - the kind of injury that seemingly goes away after a short rest and then comes back worse.

With me, it usually happens mid-way into a reasonably long run. I've had a good 9 months of trouble-free running but it recurred without warning again last Thursday - a rifle shot to the back of the leg.

See a good physio, is my only advice - the one I see (in Leeds) is great. I don't know how old you are but you should be OK with some professional, if painful, help.

Don't run at all if you're in pain, try an exercise bike in the meantime - its not the same but at least you're doing something!

Good luck



25/02/2006 at 12:27
Aye. Repeating calf strain/tear can drive you nuts! Having spent (surely not wasted?) over £1,000 over 4 years on physio/massage, I'm now helping myself with lengthy stretching/self-massage/ice-baths (max. 50 seconds!) Thing is, as I'm now 63 and been running marathon and ultra for over twenty five years, the strains happen more frequently. If I run slowly, say 8 minute miles, most times it can be OK. If I try to sprint, even a little, during fartlek, the strain/tear comes on within 300 metres. Before I chuck running totally, which would be sad 'coz I do love it, can anyone suggest anything else, aside from the stretching and massage, please?
25/02/2006 at 14:37
I would say don't sprint Duncan. 8 minute miles is alright and if you run pain free at that pace then at least you will keep running into your retirement IMHO.
26/02/2006 at 18:01
Agreed - you have 18 years on me and I'm already consciously scaling back expectations so as to minimise the likelihood of my dodgy calf giving way again. Stretching and massage is (a very boring) part of life, for me, and the older you get the more you need to do it - cut down or eliminate the sprinting and get into another routine - if I'm where you're at at 63 compared to where I am now at 45 I will be more than happy!

Thanks for sharing.
27/02/2006 at 09:46
Thanks. I guess it was obvious that faster running was unsuitable. One is simply trying to do one's best.

Dunc.
ip(FeS2)    pirate
27/02/2006 at 10:16
Stretching and Massage are good ways to keep the damage at bay.- But it could be that what you need to be doing is strenghtening exercises.- (Like the eccentric heel drops an squats).- It's really important to build up slowly or you'll end up doing more harm than good, but it's got to be worth asking a physio for suitable strengthening exercises to treat the cause rather than the symptoms.
27/02/2006 at 10:53
Thanks. I do sit at my job most of the day and although I do lots of stretching, I think you're correct as I should do more gym. Dunc.
27/02/2006 at 20:51
I'd investigate Chi Running. Lots of Material on the web www.chirunning.com. Links to book, video & newsletters. Courses being run in London this year too.

I was incessently pulling calfs till I went on a course recently. New technique is more of a controlled forward fall and it doesn't use the calf muscles at all. Warm up is totally different too & much shorter.

I think it will really take off here soon
28/02/2006 at 20:16
thanks, i'll take a look.

Dunc.
28/02/2006 at 22:35
During a session of eye-watering physio today on my nightmare of a calf muscle, my physion said that a small heel lift to the leg in question (in addition to the orthotics) might help in taking some of the downward stress from the muscle. Apparently you can get them in sports/ running shops - anybody done this before? Advice would be helpful.

I'm also changing my shoes (again) - did anyone say running was a cheap sport?!
03/03/2006 at 18:13
I don't wanna go over what's happened - read my profile and you'll understand how pissed off I am!

I strained my calf about six weeks ago about twenty metres...yes, METRES in to the Dewsbury 10k as preparation for the FLM. Went to the Sports Injury Therapist and have had a few decent sessions. After two weeks of total rest...and the usual heat and stretching exercises, I started off at just a slow mile. That went fine and a few days later I increased it to 2, then 3...then, on Wednesday I did 4 miles. Cured...I thought!!

Yesterday I went to the gym. 500m fast-walk on the treadmill. I decided to slow-jog for another 500m then do some stretching! After just 100m, my calf strain has returned with avengeance!! I can hardly walk, never mind run!! I've had to cancel the Wilmslow Half, Ackworth Half and a few 10k's! I've now resigned to the fact that I'll be doing a walk/run...or even a walk/walk strategy for the London Marathon!

I started as a total novice in October last year and have slowly built up the distance. What the hell is going on??
04/03/2006 at 12:49
Steve, I live close to Leeds and the advice you give earlier is to see a good physio! Can you give me the details of your fella?

The physio guys I know are not sports orientated and I think that it's important to find a physio who specialises in sport/running. Also, I've been getting conflicting advice with regards to orthotics! The podiatrist says 5degree heel orthotics for my stability shoes but the running shop says mobility shoes instead! I'm paying £20 for the sports injury guy and £35 for the podiatrist each time I go - it's getting expensive!
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