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Calf Strain

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I've been tip toeing around a calf strain for a few weeks. Initially I took a few days off training and then eased back into it (bike) and all felt good. However as I've started to run it started to flare up again. The strange part is its only when I run-for example on the 31st I did a run and had to stop early due to the calf getting sore, yet yesterday I was able to do a 2.5 hour ride without so much as a niggle...

Any thoughts or suggestions on how to best approach this? cheers

 

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7 minutes ago, more said:

I've been tip toeing around a calf strain for a few weeks. Initially I took a few days off training and then eased back into it (bike) and all felt good. However as I've started to run it started to flare up again. The strange part is its only when I run-for example on the 31st I did a run and had to stop early due to the calf getting sore, yet yesterday I was able to do a 2.5 hour ride without so much as a niggle...

Any thoughts or suggestions on how to best approach this? cheers

 

See a physio. Most likely they will say no running and give you some rehab exercises.

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Which muscle is it? Soleus is used for running but not much for cycling - gastroc is used a little in cycling and a little in running

New shoes? Go see a physio?

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1 hour ago, BogFrog said:

Which muscle is it? Soleus is used for running but not much for cycling - gastroc is used a little in cycling and a little in running

New shoes? Go see a physio?

I think it's the gastrocnemius, will book physio and report back with what they say 

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More, is it a very sharp pain that is very localised to a small point that hurts when you run, and then hurts to touch afterwards? I had something very similar for a while. 

 

Edited by Ex-Hasbeen

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15 minutes ago, Ex-Hasbeen said:

More, is it a very sharp pain that is very localised to a small point that hurts when you run, and then hurts to touch afterwards? I had something very similar for a while. 

 

Pretty much. When it first happened mid-run I thought it was a cramp so just run through it. How did you deal with it?

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(Sports Physio opinion)

It's often the case that bike is fine as there isn't really a high load on the calf.

Most injuries are soleus rather than gastroc

For return to run I normally like to see: painfree stretch (bent knee and straight knee), painfree hilly brisk walk, painfree hop. If it's been a longer term issue there are some strength benchmarks to hit as well.

 

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39 minutes ago, Aidan said:

(Sports Physio opinion)

It's often the case that bike is fine as there isn't really a high load on the calf.

Most injuries are soleus rather than gastroc

For return to run I normally like to see: painfree stretch (bent knee and straight knee), painfree hilly brisk walk, painfree hop. If it's been a longer term issue there are some strength benchmarks to hit as well.

 

Thanks Aidan, I really appreciate you taking the time to offer a qualified opinion!

The strange part is the calf had totally returned to normal (or so I thought). I had done a 82k ride on the 28th with no problem, a 6k run on the 29th no problem, a 40k ride on the 30th no problem and then a run on the 31st where it blew up again for some reason :(

I might try a light run this evening and see how it feels. I am being ultra conservative and cautious though with race day only 5 weeks away so definitely not wantign to risk anything.

 

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2 hours ago, more said:

Pretty much. When it first happened mid-run I thought it was a cramp so just run through it. How did you deal with it?

I saw a physio. He had me doing a fair bit of stretching & a bit of strength work, but also had me put a small heel raise in my shoe. I think in the end that was what made the biggest difference. 

Check with a physio rather than just shoving the heel raise in though.

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Remember that keen athletes usually return to running about 3-5 days too soon. So if you think you're ready to run, then wait another 3-5 days!!

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I saw your run tonight.  You run that off the bike in Geelong and you have nothing to worry about. 

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8 hours ago, Peter said:

I saw your run tonight.  You run that off the bike in Geelong and you have nothing to worry about. 

Yeah I can't work it out, felt fine last night. Ah well hopefully was just a niggle that has worked itself out...

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Mine started doing exactly the same back in the day when I ran - both calves, fine on the bike, would go when running, felt like a cramp/tear, sore for days after.

What helped mine was using shoes with some heel to toe drop (minimialist shoes like Nike Frees were a big no no for my calves), calf compression sleeves (these really really helped), stop running for 6 weeks (as if, I always returned far too soon), osteopathic work on calves including dry needling (one type of voodoo shit which actually worked amazingly well - one session seemed to fix it), osteo work on hips & lower back, avoiding downhills.  I also did stretching & strengthening work, but again was not consistent enough with it.

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Interestingly this morning's swim i kept getting massive cramps-first of all in the bad calf and then in both urghhhhh 

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never ignore a niggle.  crikey, get it looked at!   You keep running with an underlying issue and you are just making it worse.  And I triple what CEM said.

 

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13 hours ago, CEM said:

Remember that keen athletes usually return to running about 3-5 days too soon. So if you think you're ready to run, then wait another 3-5 days!!

Just because you are the best and most credible runner on this site doesnt give you the right to get on here with sensible advice.  

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2 hours ago, Cat Lady said:

never ignore a niggle.  crikey, get it looked at!   You keep running with an underlying issue and you are just making it worse.  And I triple what CEM said.

 

Even if it feels better now? Last nights run felt fine? I guess I'll give it another 5 days then. Would it still be ok to cycle you think?

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3 hours ago, more said:

Interestingly this morning's swim i kept getting massive cramps-first of all in the bad calf and then in both urghhhhh 

Yeah, something changed in my body mechanics once my knees went bad, which led to my calves becoming really problematic.  I do recall they'd want to cramp if I got off the bike awkwardly, or when I had a hairy moment on the MTB.  Prior to this, they never gave me any grief for decades.  Sounds like you may have something similar happening. You may need some voodoo work to correct hip/glute imbalances.  I'm always a bit leary of voodoo practitioners, but have to say the local osteopath work seemed to agree with me.

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A niggle is a bit like those warning lights in our car. Most of us look after our cars better than we look after ourselves 🙄

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Is it on the outside / lateral part of the calf? 

I had similar symptoms with pain on lateral part of calf. Root cause for me was a rigid big toe. 

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On ‎3‎/‎01‎/‎2019 at 10:16 AM, more said:

I've been tip toeing around a calf strain for a few weeks...

 

On ‎3‎/‎01‎/‎2019 at 2:20 PM, more said:

The strange part is the calf had totally returned to normal (or so I thought). I had done a 82k ride on the 28th with no problem, a 6k run on the 29th no problem, a 40k ride on the 30th no problem and then a run on the 31st where it blew up again for some reason...

The riding is probably causing your calves to tighten.  It may not affect your ride but you'll feel it in the run.

7 hours ago, more said:

Would it still be ok to cycle you think?

As above, listen to the experts and be conservative.  CEM & Aiden both know their stuff!

AA7, Bog Frog, Ex & Cat Lady all suggested going to see a Physio...  I'd be listening to the brains trust!

11 hours ago, more said:

Interestingly this morning's swim i kept getting massive cramps-first of all in the bad calf and then in both urghhhhh 

My suggestion would be to get hold of some Schuessler Tissue Salts Mag Phos Muscle Relaxant tablets from your local chemist (about $12.00 for 125 tablets).  They won't replace seeing a Physio for some expert advice, but they are great for cramps and relaxing your muscles a bit.

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First of all thanks to everyone who has helped in this thread!!

So I went and saw the physio this morning and basically I have really bad neural tension in my lower back which is making my hammies very tight which is then impacting my calves.

Had some dry needling done and did some stretches and it was amazing how much my hammies freed up. 

Have been given some stretches and rebooked for Wednesday. No running for the time being but riding is ok and a little reduced swimming.

Edited by more
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Excellent! Hope it improves quickly

All suggestions were wrong which is why a physio is the better option!

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So a bit of an update. I had been doing everything the physio said but was still cramping up.

Went to the chemist following 'go easy' recommendation and bought some 'ultra muscleeze' which is a magnesium supplement and what do you know-not a hint of a cramp since the first dose!

Next thing I guess is to ponder why I'm lacking magnesium and what foods I can eat to get the required amount 

Thanks again for everyone's help!

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3 hours ago, more said:

Next thing I guess is to ponder why I'm lacking magnesium and what foods I can eat to get the required amount

Even though you need to stay hydrated, just be careful that you're not drinking too much water and are flushing the good stuff out.  It's possible, and in extreme cases it can even be dangerous.  A nutritionist may be able to help. 

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Ditch the muscle ease and get some salt stick tabs 

otherwise your electrolytes will (proably already are ) out of balance 

fair chance that’s were your cramps  arg coming from 

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3 hours ago, ironpo said:

Ditch the muscle ease and get some salt stick tabs 

They're available all over the ground at most IM races. ;)

 

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3 hours ago, ironpo said:

Ditch the muscle ease and get some salt stick tabs 

otherwise your electrolytes will (proably already are ) out of balance 

fair chance that’s were your cramps  arg coming from 

The point of the ultra muscleeze is to give a high dose of Magnesium which we can become very depleted in.  Salt stick is a great way to improve overall electrolyte but wont fix if your overall very depleted as it isnt a high enough dose (11mg vs ~280mg).  Great way to top up while training/racing though...

 

Personally I have found a good combination of using the Ultra muscleeze at night and adding pink rock salt to my water during the day to keep my sodium levels up.

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On 17/01/2019 at 6:59 AM, RunBrettRun said:

The point of the ultra muscleeze is to give a high dose of Magnesium which we can become very depleted in.  Salt stick is a great way to improve overall electrolyte but wont fix if your overall very depleted as it isnt a high enough dose (11mg vs ~280mg).  Great way to top up while training/racing though...

 

Personally I have found a good combination of using the Ultra muscleeze at night and adding pink rock salt to my water during the day to keep my sodium levels up.

That's pretty good advice - I've noticed lots of calf/hammy problems arise when the athlete is carrying a lot of fatigue from the longer workouts - and those same long workouts deplete our reserves of minerals and quite a few are not good at replenishing them after workouts 😏

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2 minutes ago, AP said:

That's pretty good advice - I've noticed lots of calf/hammy problems arise when the athlete is carrying a lot of fatigue from the longer workouts - and those same long workouts deplete our reserves of minerals and quite a few are not good at replenishing them after workouts 😏

My personal experience with calf and hammy tightness has always become worse if I am eating rubbish.  Sugar/gluten/bad oils etc that cause a lot of inflammation inside the body give me very tight sore muscles in my legs.   Triathletes love to "fuel" their training with some high sugar snacks and I would say this fueling would also be causing a lot of the issues with calf strains and leg soreness in general. 

 

Note I'm not saying don't eat carbs, just picking which carbs to eat can be very important to how our body recovers from the big sessions.

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