Member Case Study: Calf Pain

author : AMSSM
comments : 4

Member Question from Seren

Last year I injured both achilles tendons, rested for many many months, PT, stretching etc.  I started running again in January only 2x week.  I increase to 3x week about two months ago.  I am now dealing with a left painful calf muscle.  It feels like a charlie horse.  Compression helps.  Again I am stretching, massage, ice, rest.   Any ideas?  I drink a gallon of H2O daily, supplement with Magnesium 400mg 2x daily, eat lots of broccoli for the K+.  Don't really know where to go from here.
 
Answer from Dennys E Maldonado M.D.
Member AMSSM

Calf pain can have multiple causes. In your case, the most likely cause seems to be from a calf muscle strain. There are two main muscles in the calf: the gastrocnemius and the soleus underneath. The terminal portions of both muscles connect to form the Achilles tendon which inserts into the heel bone. If you have had Achilles problems you can be predisposed to a calf injury.

Hill work and a sudden increase in mileage can cause a calf strain.  People who over pronate can be at increased risk for calf injury.  Over pronation basically means that your feet are rolling over too much as you run which causes excessive pressure on the calf muscle and Achilles tendon. This problem can be remedied with proper shoes for your foot type or custom orthotics.

Stretching the calf may facilitate its healing. The gastrocnemius requires nearly a straight knee to stretch it; the soleus is best stretched with the knee in a slightly flexed position and the heel on the floor. Rest, ice and massage usually work very well for calf strains. Working with a physical therapist can also be helpful.

Many runners carry on running even after the initial signs of a calf strain. They adjust their running stride to increase the forefoot slap and decrease heel strike. Running into pain is not recommended as it may further exacerbate the condition.  Consider cross training until the muscle is properly healed.

If you continue to have problems with your calf you should be evaluated by a sports medicine physician.

Dennys E Maldonado M.D.

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date: August 5, 2010

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AMSSM

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

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avatarAMSSM

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

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