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2013-05-08 12:26 PM

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Subject: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems

After years of pf and calf problems (all on the left side), I was able to get my run mileage up through the off season and build phase in prep for the season. (BarryP plan was working to perfection.)  Only to have it freak out with 3 weeks before first race. That was a week and a half ago.

  It does not bother me when I run <3miles. It doesn't bother me when I run >3miles.  But if I run >3, it will tighten up bad for 3+ days.  So I lay off for close to a week, then ease back with less than 3.  It feels fine until after the next run of 6 or so miles and then it's back.

It's right in the middle of the gastoc and pretty deep.  Compression doesn't really help.  The pain is never debilitating.  I could go run now and get through it without much pain.  But, I have learned to pay attention to nagging things before they become season ending things.  I'm not sure which one this is. 

I'm really just venting, but I do have a question.  Should I skip the oly in 1.5 weeks in Memphis?



2013-05-08 12:56 PM
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Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems
What exactly are you doing to fix the issue? Compression can be  a great recovery tool for sore muscles but won't do anything to fix obvious gait issues.
2013-05-08 1:16 PM
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Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems

How much stretching do you do?

What sort of intensity are you doing you >3 mile runs at, and how frequently do you typically run at that intensity level?

How many days per week are you running, on average?

When's the last time you got new shoes, and did you get fitted (had your gait checked)?

 

 



Edited by cgregg 2013-05-08 1:17 PM
2013-05-08 1:17 PM
in reply to: #4733329

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Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems

Two things:

You plantar fascia could be really tight, making your calf really tight.  Get a knobby ball (or frozen water bottle) and roll your PF daily.

You probably have weak glutes and have having to overcompensate with your calf muscles.  Get a really good gait analysis.  I got mine done by a physical therapist (insurance covered it) and she really identified form issues and strength exercises and drills to fix the problem.

2013-05-08 2:05 PM
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Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems

I also have been struggling with calf pain (left leg only) and, with the help of my physio, narrowed the cause down to my gait/stride. 

My cadence was way too low for my pace - 4:20/km pace for half marathon with a cadence in the low 80s.

Low cadence = longer stride = stress on the calf.

I picked up the Garmin foot pod earlier this year so that I could monitor my cadence and focus on getting it up to the high 80s or low 90s.

It did take awhile as the higher cadence felt quite awkward and not at all natural.

But after a few months I got past the "shuffling" feel and can now maintain my cadence in the 90s.  I still have to consciously think about it, but it does feel less awkward.

So far so good with the calf pain as well, and it seems to have solved my pain problem.

2013-05-08 2:12 PM
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Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems

I had recurring calf issues a couple of years ago - everyone's different but this is what I did to get over it:

1) became very aware of the signals that it was about to 'go' and stopped whatever I was doing immediately.  This massively reduces the recovery time than when I tried to ignore it.

2) used two stretches - the standard 'heel drop' off a step and also one where I put my toes as high as I can against a wall (which I'm facing) and then turn my foot as far as I can to the right (about 30 degrees) and this stretched a different muscle in the calf (there are two of them - can't remember what they're called).

3) For a few months I ran a mile and then stopped and did these stretches before carrying on with the rest of the run.

4) I slowed down 

5) I started doing some hopping - every other day I would do 3x10 hops on each leg

6) In the weights room (which I hate) I did some calf strength work.  You sit down and use your toes to push a bar down so you end up in the pointy toe position and then control it back up

7) I got a sports massage once a week

8) I started doing more core work (great workout on this site) and pilates

 

It seemed a bit OTT to do all this at my standard (12.30 IM) but that's what it took to make it go away so that's what I did.  No calf problems for two years now - perhaps if was one of those things, perhaps it was a combination of a few or even all of them.  It was worth it though and these days I only do: 2,7 and 8 from that list.



2013-05-08 4:21 PM
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Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems
2013-05-08 4:43 PM
in reply to: #4733329

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Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems
PCGinn - 2013-05-08 12:26 PM

After years of pf and calf problems (all on the left side), I was able to get my run mileage up through the off season and build phase in prep for the season. (BarryP plan was working to perfection.)  Only to have it freak out with 3 weeks before first race. That was a week and a half ago.

  It does not bother me when I run

It's right in the middle of the gastoc and pretty deep.  Compression doesn't really help.  The pain is never debilitating.  I could go run now and get through it without much pain.  But, I have learned to pay attention to nagging things before they become season ending things.  I'm not sure which one this is. 

I'm really just venting, but I do have a question.  Should I skip the oly in 1.5 weeks in Memphis?

Read the below article.  If it sounds like your issue (Mad Calf Disease) go buy a pair of Hoka Bondi B2's and give 'em a try.

Those shoes have worked absolute wonders on me and many, many others.

http://www.slowtwitch.com/Products/Running_Footwear_by_brand/Hoka_One_One/What_Hoka_Means_3376.html

2013-05-08 5:22 PM
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Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems

I have tried most everything.  Deep tissue massage, I foam roll regulary, I have tried stretching, I have tried not stretching.  I replaced my shoes ( with the same model I have had my recent success with), I have seen two physical therapists, one runs Boston.  I've tried Chi running.  I've tried the stick. 

But, I have not had a true gait analysis.  I cannot find anybody in the central MS area that does it. 

I feel certain that there is a gait problem or some sort of imbalance.  Especially considering it's all been on my left side. 

2013-05-08 6:03 PM
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Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems
Try the Hoka's. Trust me. They have a no questions asked return policy so there's no reason not to.
2013-05-09 6:38 AM
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Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems
Have you tried eccentric calf raises?  There are some clinical studies that show the benefit of this.  At the minimum it will make you stronger.


2013-05-09 10:32 AM
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Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems
PCGinn - 2013-05-08 5:22 PM

I have tried most everything.  Deep tissue massage, I foam roll regulary, I have tried stretching, I have tried not stretching.  I replaced my shoes ( with the same model I have had my recent success with), I have seen two physical therapists, one runs Boston.  I've tried Chi running.  I've tried the stick. 

But, I have not had a true gait analysis.  I cannot find anybody in the central MS area that does it. 

I feel certain that there is a gait problem or some sort of imbalance.  Especially considering it's all been on my left side. 

Go see a good physical therapist.  They'll be able to identify muscle imbalances which are leading to your calf issues.  They may also be able to do a gait analysis.

2013-05-09 11:53 AM
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Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems
2013-05-10 7:46 AM
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Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems

Here's a thought.  Could it be tendinitis?   It doesn't hurt while i'm actually running.  It doesn't get sore until I have completely cooled down.  I lay off a few days and it feels normal.  Combine that with the fact that it doesn't bother on short runs.  

If so, does that change things on whether or not I should run the Memphis in May Oly in 9 days?

??



Edited by PCGinn 2013-05-10 7:49 AM
2013-05-10 2:14 PM
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Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems

Does your foot splay out to the side (duckfoot) at all?

I had problems with high calf cramps (run and bike) because my pedals locked me into an unnatural angle for the foot, I moved to speedplay pedals and extended spindles, able to accommodate the angle and voila, no more cramping.

John

2013-05-10 5:32 PM
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Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems
By coincidence, I just got out of a session at a conference an hour ago about this sort of issue. The presenter, Dr. Perry Nickelston asserts that any time you treat an issue like this and it keeps returning, the real cause is some sort of undiagnosed imbalance or movement dysfunction. You can check out his site here: http://www.stopchasingpain.com/about/


2013-05-10 7:13 PM
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Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems
Have you tried different shoes?  My pace/cadence changed significantly earlier this spring, and I started getting awful pain in my calves.  Switched shoes, and it was gone with the first run, and hasn't come back.
2013-05-11 3:18 PM
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Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems
I feel your pain. Good Luck. Some good suggestions from other BT'ers noted above. FWIW - Despite the claims from an odd looking lady with a chicken I met in Jamaica, VooDoo did not do the trick.
2013-05-11 6:33 PM
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Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems
I agree with what everyone has said so far...could be the shoes, your leg angle on the bike, your cadence etc etc...hard to tell until you get it looked at by someone who can watch you run and walk and watch what your feet, legs, hips do.
I was using the BarryP plan as well (awesome BTW) and was doing great until BAM, out of nowhere I had a calf tightness that persisted for quite a while.
Went to a good PT, got some ASTYM and other exercises to address some imbalances.
Main culprit is that my hips are tight (go figure), so my stride was shortened and my calves had to take on the additional stress where other muscles fell short. Been working on all that, along with LOTS of stretches, and so far, so good!
Oh, and do your stretches, foam rolling, massaging and some cold therapy until it subsides. Then, use the therapy as maintenance. When I slack off doing my exercise or stretching, some small pain always creeps up! Good luck!
2013-05-12 7:21 AM
in reply to: #4733329

Subject: RE: Absoloutly Sick of Calf Problems
Try active release therapy. Has helped me!
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