General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Pulled/Strain/Torn Calf Muscle ? Rss Feed  
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2009-02-08 2:28 PM

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Subject: Pulled/Strain/Torn Calf Muscle ?

Does anyone have any experience with a pulled / torn calf muscle and recovery suggestions? I pulled/ strained/tore it ~3 days ago. Thought I'd go for a short walk/run today and it wasn't my brightest idea - had to 'stop short' .

 Recovery suggestions? (time, rest it, walk only, see a doc, other?)

Thanks for any ideas.



2009-02-08 2:52 PM
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Subject: RE: Pulled/Strain/Torn Calf Muscle ?

If it was 3 days ago and you are contemplating putting weight on it then it was not a tear...most likely a strain.  Which is good news.  Also if it's a tear you will typically see a hematoma forming in the calf. 

 

My experience: RICE method is helpful and massaging the area after 4 or 5 days (and ibuprofin).  It shoud only put you out for about 10days or so.  Def stay off it until then...will help heal completly and much quicker.  These things tend to keep popping up if you take a short cut in recovery. 

 

See this site for some general info...and there's always that Doctor thing but the only way they will be able to tell exactly what is going on is MRI...so depending on your insurance that's either not worth it or it's just a simple appointment to get all figured out.



Edited by sax 2009-02-08 2:55 PM
2009-02-08 3:30 PM
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Subject: RE: Pulled/Strain/Torn Calf Muscle ?
I had a strained calf muscle this past summer... didn't give it time to recover and ended up suffering from the after-effects for abooout 6 months.  Yeah.  Stay off it!!  And do see a doctor (well, sports chiropractor, ART guy, whatever) if it isn't better in a couple of weeks.
2009-02-08 6:25 PM
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Subject: RE: Pulled/Strain/Torn Calf Muscle ?
RICE method and the STICK. And 1-2 weeks not running.
2009-02-08 7:10 PM
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Subject: RE: Pulled/Strain/Torn Calf Muscle ?
first, is it your calf, or your soleus? your soleus will run from underneath your calf down to your achillies tendon....i strained/pulled my soleus in the fall, and i took a few weeks off and was running after a few weeks, maybe a month. i did the elliptical in the meantime, and when i first started to run again, i took it very cautiously only running for a few minutes the first time and walking the rest. i got all of my mileage in during my break, it was either walked or on the elliptical. i havent had any issues since. good luck with everything, and take it slow
2009-02-08 8:10 PM
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Subject: RE: Pulled/Strain/Torn Calf Muscle ?
Ugh. Do I have experience? Yes.

After years of occasionally pulling/straining my calf muscle, I finally went to an Ortho after being unable to run more than a few miles without pain, and was diagnosed with a partially torn soleus last August. Went to PT and did exercises, stretching, warmed up before running, etc religiously for about 2 1/2 months before being cleared to run in October. I started very light and had finally worked up to 6-7 miles. Last Saturday, two miles into an easy run, I reinjured it. Got another appointment with the Ortho next week. It sucks.

GO see a doctor. With all due respect to one of the earlier posters, just because you can put weight on it after a few days does not mean it isn't partially torn--just means it's probably not completely ruptured. Rest it 100% (that means stop "testing it" to see if it still hurts), ice it a lot, take advil religiously, wear an ace bandage if it helps, and go see a doctor. Do not mess with this. If you do, you can continually re-injure it over and over again, even after treatment, and it can dog you the rest of your life. I don't mean to sound melodramatic, but I wish someone had told this to me 5 years ago the first time I pulled/strained/torn my calf muscle.

Edited by jmk-brooklyn 2009-02-08 8:10 PM


2009-02-09 5:37 AM
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Subject: RE: Pulled/Strain/Torn Calf Muscle ?
Many thanks to sax, morganjohnson, cajuntriguy, JonCT, and jmk-brooklyn for taking the time to share your suggestions and experience.

From what I've read, and your comments, I've accepted the most important next step is rest (and returning the Newton running shoes that I think might have contributed because of the nature of their design)

From what I've read, and your comments, I've accepted the most important next step is rest (and returning the Newton running shoes that I think might have contributed because of the nature of their design)

Quick question.What do you think about swimming again after a few days?

After 1-2 weeks of rest will come very passive stretching, then more active stretching before returning to light exercise.

2009-02-09 8:37 AM
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Subject: RE: Pulled/Strain/Torn Calf Muscle ?
I just hurt my calf on my long run yesterday and had this happen about a year and a half ago too.

What worked for me last time was to swim very easy for a day or two (watch the hard kick and pushing off walls) and stretching. I will try to do the same thing this time around. If that helps then I will bike in a controlled environment (trainer) and if it still feels ok I will run on the treadmill easy later this week.

This worked for me last time - the swimming really loosened it up a lot. Massage, foam roller and the stick helped some but not as much as swimming.

Good luck and hope you heal quickly!
2009-02-09 8:40 AM
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Subject: RE: Pulled/Strain/Torn Calf Muscle ?
dave1191 - 2009-02-09 5:37 AM

Many thanks to sax, morganjohnson, cajuntriguy, JonCT, and jmk-brooklyn for taking the time to share your suggestions and experience.

From what I've read, and your comments, I've accepted the most important next step is rest (and returning the Newton running shoes that I think might have contributed because of the nature of their design)

From what I've read, and your comments, I've accepted the most important next step is rest (and returning the Newton running shoes that I think might have contributed because of the nature of their design)

Quick question.What do you think about swimming again after a few days?

After 1-2 weeks of rest will come very passive stretching, then more active stretching before returning to light exercise.


Interesting about the Newtons. I met an orthopedic surgeon who is also a multiple IM-finisher who told me that Newtons have been a goldmine for his medical practice. I think my injury last year was in part because I was trying run with more of a forefoot strike, as opposed to simply letting my legs run the way they want to run (midfoot strike).

I haven’t had any problems swimming at all. The only two things I’d throw out there are: be careful when you push off. It’s easy to get in a zone when you swim (esp. if you’re an experienced swimmer) and forget about your calf and then drive hard off the wall at the turn and hurt yourself; also, be mindful when you’re walking around barefoot, since your calf doesn’t have any support or protection at all the way it would if you were wearing shoes.
2009-02-09 11:09 AM
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Subject: RE: Pulled/Strain/Torn Calf Muscle ?

I've had on and off recurring calf and Achilles problems for the past several years.  I recently stumbled upon a treatment protocol that has so far proven very effective for me.  There are a few books written by a massage therapist who has had extensive experience treating all sorts of repetitive strain injuries, and she has developed methods of self-massage treatments.  She also has a forum on her website where you can post your specific problem and she'll recommend a treatment protocol, referring to treatments as described in her books.

Here's her site:  www.julstro.com

You might search around on her forum as you may find posts from others who have very similar injuries to yours.

In my case, based on her experience in working with many other athletes, she suspected my calf problems are actually caused by several areas where I have muscle spasms (aka. trigger points) causing my pelivs to be rotated forward, putting pressure on my sciatic nerve, which causes my calves to go into spasm.  In the past I'd always just tried to treat my calves themselves, and after some rest and recovery I'd be okay for awhile, then, "BAM", one or the other of my calves would bring be to a halt again.

Since I've started treating various muscle spasms in my my quads, hips, glutes and lower back, as well as my calves, I been able to run without my calves going into spasm.  In fact, I've been running quite a bit...ran 60 miles this past week, which I think is a new max weekly mileage for me).  It requires regular maintenance on my part, but I've been happy with the results so far.  I never could have imagined that my calf problems were largely being caused by muscle spasms in my quads and hips.  Whoda thunk?

Anyway, just thought I'd share my experience in case you find that it may help you too.  I have no financial interest in it.

(BTW, if you wanted to get one of her books, I recommend you get Treat Yourself to Pain Free Living.  She has a book specifically targeted to triathletes, but frankly it doesn't have anything of use that the Pain Free Living book doesn't also have, and Pain Free Living is more up to date.  She also tends to refer to specific pages in Pain Free Living for treatments on her forum.)

 

2009-02-10 2:11 AM
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Subject: RE: Pulled/Strain/Torn Calf Muscle ?
I had chronic problem with straining calf muscles last season. They come in three varieties depending on the severity. Your best bet is ice/compression every day and stay off it for at least a week if it is a minor strain, longer if it is more severe. Also, massage will help it stop from forming scar tissue and not healing completely. When you start running again hit the treadmill for the first few days. Otherwise you have a good chance of injuring it again.

At least this is what I learned from my experience. good luck


2009-07-24 3:07 AM
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Subject: RE: Pulled/Strain/Torn Calf Muscle ?
In such a case I would always go and see a doctor. You never know what your injury is really about when you don't consult an expert.  A friend of mine first thought that his muscle was strained but then the pain got worse. The doc found out he suffered from muscle spasms and had to shop for Generic Carisoprodol online to be able to cope with the pain. So it's always important to see a doc to know for sure what your problem is.
2009-07-24 10:54 AM
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Subject: RE: Pulled/Strain/Torn Calf Muscle ?
I pulled mine about 3 weeks ago or so. I had done an Oly the week before, and decided that I should run intervals my first training day back. Wicked smart right? I get through it, but it is not fun. The next day I ride. It is a great day with a fat tailwind. I sprint my training ride. The next day, I get my Ipod on, put on my watch, and set off for an easy 3 miler. I make it 100 yards and I am in a great deal of pain. I limp back dumbfounded. The bottom line was I had really done a good number and pulled my calf. Problem was, I had to get right back in training, since I had the cleveland tri, and a local sprint coming up. I rested it 3 days (which sucked, god I hate rest days, makes me feel like crap), and then pulled on my new, overnighted compression socks from Zoot (got them from trisports using my beginner tri discount!). I wore them non stop, and rode for two days, one day easy, and one day easy with hills, and then ran the next day. The next week I rode a fast century (for me) and didn't have any problems. It might just be me, but I swear the compression socks allowed me to get back to the run in record time. To speed up recovery, i would definitely recommend using some sort of compression wear. Might be in my head, but it worked for me!
-Steve
2009-07-24 10:57 AM
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Subject: RE: Pulled/Strain/Torn Calf Muscle ?
I tore my calf muscle about 18 months ago and it was with my first run with my newtons.  I decided to use my newtons on my regular running route, which includes some hills.  About 3 or 4 miles in on a downhill stretch, I had a sharp sudden pain in my calf and did the walk of shame home.  I went to a sports doc and she prescribed RICE and some PT which included some massage to work out the scar tissue.  She also prescribed heel lifts (gradual of course) and stretching.

I was able to continue to swim (although I didn't push off the wall with that leg) and bike (but couldn't ride out of the saddle).  Slowly introduced running back into my routine.  I'm still a little paranoid about my calf, but haven't had any issues since.

This is not a knock on newtons at all and I continue to use them on short runs and the lesson learned for me was to build up my distances with them.
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