Calf Strain After Cycling

author : AMSSM
comments : 0

Member Case Study: Calf hurts only after cycling workout

Member Question:

"I'm having a problem with a right calf strain that happens after I finish my bike workout and then transition to a run. This morning I did a 60 min bike with no pain and then I ran fine for about .5 mile and then twang, my right calf muscle feels pain. I am icing it and I will definitely be stretching it more, but I am wondering is there is some reason it is happening after the biking? Anyone else have similar problems? Maybe it's just a case of me having to do more stretching but wanted to see if anyone has thoughts?"


Answer by Grant Morrison, M.D.
Member, AMSSM 


The combination of an injury overlapping biking and running lends itself to many possibilities! Assuming this never happens from running alone, then we must focus on biking as the culprit. As bike fit and biking biomechanics can be a very specialized field, I took advantage of a group of biking-specialized physical therapists that I work with, and posed your dilemma to them. One popular solution focused on bike fit, specifically seat height: if your bike seat is too high, you may be pushing down on your toes ("plantar flexing" the foot) to reach the bottom of the down stroke. Try adjusting your seat height so that your heels are level with your toes on the down stroke, like you are "wiping mud off your shoe" on the pedal. Pedaling in too small of a gear can require excessive calf strain also; both this and the first issue can be a problem especially if you have one leg longer than the other, known as a "leg length discrepancy." A cleat alignment issue can be tricky to decipher, but a misalignment between your foot and knee could cause an unusual strain on your calf. An experienced bike fit technician may be able to help you with these types of issues.

Another issue to consider is your training. Is the pain a muscle soreness like a tired muscle may feel, or is it a "bad" pain which can be more dangerous. Some leg discomfort is common during the transition, and practicing your transitions, such as running after biking, then getting back on the bike (one form of a "brick" workout), perhaps after a shorter duration of biking than you describe, may be worth a shot.

Personally, I worry about continued stretching of sore muscles. To me, that seems to make as much sense as stretching a rubber band to make it stronger, or loosening the lug nuts of your car before driving down the road. Unless you have a true loss of normal motion, stretching a sore muscle may not be helpful.


Hopefully these tips will help you discover a solution!

Rating

Click on star to vote
1307 Total Views  |  40 Views last 30 days  |  7 Views last 7 days
date: August 31, 2016

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.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

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

View all 412 articles