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  1. #1
    Back in the saddle Sponge's Avatar
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    HELP! My calves are killing me! - POSSIBLE DIAGNOSIS UPDATE

    So running sucks...its killing me. Now I remember why I love the bike so much and no one ever smiles when they run....

    My calves feel like some reached in and pulled all the muscle fibers apart with their hands.

    They have been hurting sometimes killing me since I began running again this January...I have taken breaks twice for up to a week once to recover and it would go away. If I run more than two days in a row its terrible. Going up and down stairs just sucks!

    I attributed it to my shoes so this weekend I went to a local running store hoping it would solve my problem but no dice yet. They told me to run 6-10 times on the shoes before I make a decision and if they don't work they'll let me exchange w/o issue (great shop)

    I have very flat feet so they outfitted me with a pair of shoes that are suppose to have great stability...

    Any other advice for me?

    In particular the best stretches?

    Or recovery drinks? I drank some Endurox this morning after running and they felt much better in the morning but by the afternoon they were killing me again...but it tastes like puke
    Last edited by Sponge; 01-25-08 at 09:15 AM.

  2. #2
    Prefers Aluminum Sprocket Man's Avatar
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    I don't know if you have the same problem I used to, but when I first started running again 3 years ago, my calves were the worst problem for me! I'd stretch a lot, but no matter how much I tried to care for them, they would tighten up severely at the beginning of every run. They wouldn't be too bad before I started to run, but after a 1/4 mile or so, I would reach down and feel them and they would be rock-solid, as if I was purposely flexing them although I was trying to relax them as much as I could.

    This really hurt my running as I felt as if I was getting no push off on my strides. It was like I was just lifting my legs and dropping them one in front the other. Pretty miserable.

    I'm now to the point that this hardly ever happens and I think these are what has helped me:

    1. Wall presses stretch the calves but don't push too hard because if you do, the muscle tries to contract to limit damage.
    2. I got a thumping massager with a heating element and that has seemed to help relax.
    3. Good shoes. Sounds like you have a good shop so stick with their advice.
    4. Time and miles. Build gradually and be patient. It takes time for the muscles to adapt. It took me over a year until I felt that my calf problems went away. And even now, they still occur every once in a while.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Body by Guinness cjbruin's Avatar
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    Sprocket...how's the Honu training going? It's just around the corner and you're going to need those calves big time Are you getting excited?

    Sorry for the thread hijack...make sure to stretch your calves before AND after. I get lazy with this and it bites me all the time...currently sitting here with a nasty achilles pain in my right leg. Ouch.

    Check out this link for some stretches. http://tms.ecol.net/Fitness/calfstr.htm
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  4. #4
    Back in the saddle Sponge's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback guys and the link! I do stretch...but probably not enough or good enough prior to the run. That's the new focus.

    I only rode this morning and did some resistance upperbody work afterwards to give them a break today...noticed they feel much better walking around the house in my running shoes so I decided to wear them to work today and they are feeling much better.

    Time to go shopping for some better supporting work shoes I think...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sponge
    I attributed it to my shoes so this weekend I went to a local running store hoping it would solve my problem but no dice yet. They told me to run 6-10 times on the shoes before I make a decision and if they don't work they'll let me exchange w/o issue (great shop)

    I have very flat feet so they outfitted me with a pair of shoes that are suppose to have great stability...

    Any other advice for me?
    No other advice, and I'm no triathloner, I just find myself w/ really painful ankles after trying to mix some jogging in w/ regular biking (I had been biking a lot, pushing 200 miles/wk, then some travel came up and I got the bright idea to add some running to make up for lost biking). I went to a running store this past weekend, and they said that while my sneakers had great stability (longitudinally, front-to-back, arch support), they had no latitudinal flex which is apparently also important for arch-falling pronators like me. It was weird looking at the soles of my sneakers next to the ones they sold me, both thick and supportive, but the new ones with two deep-ish width-wise grooves crossing the sole perpendicular to the length of my foot toward the front (so my foot could bend at the ball, I guess when pushing off).

    I'm still going to give it a few more days before I try another run, but I am guardedly optimistic that those new sneakers, plus switching to more supportive footwear for day-to-day use, could help my screaming tendons.

  6. #6
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    Interesting Sponge... I have the exact same problem when I run on any hard surface. Interesting enough, it takes about 1 mile of running on a treadmill for this to kick in for me, but on concrete it takes maybe a block for it to start hurting. On sand though, i can run and run no problem. I too have super flat feet.

    I got unlucky and didn't get a good shoe store. I tried a short run on the instore treadmill and didn't have any problem. But as soon as I ran on the concrete for the first time more than 30 days later, I realized something wasn't right. Too late to return them. Come to find out that even though they were comfortable, they were not motion control shoes which is apparently what I need.

    Keep us updated on your new shoes and running. I would be interested in hearing about your experience.

  7. #7
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    Another thing I would suggest - if you ever get to the gym, do some calf raises. There are usually a few different machines for this - the most common has two pads that rest on your shoulders while you stand in front of the weight stack. It won't have much direct benefit on your running, but it should help strengthen the muscles and tendons that are getting overworked/irritated. This has helped me a lot, and I used to get severe calf soreness when I started my running regimen.

    Jim

  8. #8
    Hoosier runner Valpo Hawkeye's Avatar
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    Give it time, obviously. However, hill repeats will help to build strength. Consider some plyometrics, as well. Stretching won't help a great deal if the strength isn't there. Don't forget a good warmup before a workout, then stretch afterward. I find that if I do a lot of treadmill running (winter) when I hit the streets again my calves hurt no matter what. However, a week or two into the spring and they feel fine. You'll build up to it.

  9. #9
    Back in the saddle Sponge's Avatar
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    Holy old post revival!

    I got caught up in life and an injury that kept me from training until recently.

    Going thru my favs I remembered the forum!

    So to recap the new shoes took care of me until I got hurt and again the last few months on the treadmill. That all changed when I ran outdoors this past weekend and now I am battling the calves again. I am going to make an appointment with a foot doctor tomorrow and see if orthodox will solve my brick flat feet. Maybe some new shoes again too but these can't be worn out yet?

    If ya care my injury killed my training and I had to use a medical rollovers on my end of summer races. I put on about 30lbs. I have shed 20 since October/November and have at least 10 more to go and if I don't get my calves feeling good enough to run I am going to loose my mind.

  10. #10
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    Are you working on foot strength/flexibility?

    Take it slow, but consider working in some barefoot walking/jogging. If you're in a coastal climate, walking/jogging on the beach (the firm part near the waterline not the shifty sandy part) may do you some good. Start out very easy though. Your body will need a lot of time to adjust.

  11. #11
    Senior Member bvfrompc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sponge View Post
    Holy old post revival!

    I got caught up in life and an injury that kept me from training until recently.

    Going thru my favs I remembered the forum!

    So to recap the new shoes took care of me until I got hurt and again the last few months on the treadmill. That all changed when I ran outdoors this past weekend and now I am battling the calves again. I am going to make an appointment with a foot doctor tomorrow and see if orthodox will solve my brick flat feet. Maybe some new shoes again too but these can't be worn out yet?

    If ya care my injury killed my training and I had to use a medical rollovers on my end of summer races. I put on about 30lbs. I have shed 20 since October/November and have at least 10 more to go and if I don't get my calves feeling good enough to run I am going to loose my mind.
    I call this Treadmill calf (Trademark Pending). Three years ago and three weeks ago, after spending a glorious Nov, Dec, Jan building up my running slowly on a treadmill, up to 3/4 times a week for an hour to an hour and a half, I decide to hit the road for various reasons (First was a vacation with the wife, this time the treadmill was on the fritz). Both times, on the first run, within the first couple of miles, serious soleous calf strain.

    The plan this time, as it was the first time. Three week no running. After first week of rest begin stretching the calf lightly. Second week, increase stretching, begin light calf raises (instead of a mchine, you can do this easily on the stairs, just balance your toes on the end of a rung and slowly lower yourslef then raise back up. Third week increase the stretching and calf raises. Fourth week out, walk 4 miles/5x with more intensity than a casual stroll but not pushing it. Fifth week out, increase intensity of walk, still 4/5. Sixth week out, jog a minute, walk a minute for the 4/5. Double the jog and walk just a minute each week until I get up to 10 minutes jogging, then slowly increase the speed each week.

    Baby steps is my key to not re-injuring and getting back to being able to run outside

  12. #12
    Back in the saddle Sponge's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, I am going into an ortho tomorrow to have some pics taken to insure I have no stress fractures. Hope not...

    Bike doesn't bother me hope I can still spin away on the indoor trainer until we get back above zero I draw the line at 20 degrees!

  13. #13
    Member pschirm's Avatar
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    20 degrees? I had to walk over a mile to class yesterday with a wind chill of -15. Later in the afternoon when it was +1 I was out in my long sleeve shirt and shorts heading out for a run. It just takes some getting used to. The pain I have been dealing with for the past week has been right behind my knee, it started at the end of an indoor training ride. My knee has been reconstructed (ACL) but it's never given my problems until now. I've been stretching it out, but it seems to come back right at the end of my workout, not sure if maybe my form changes a little as I get tired or what is happening. I'm going to take a long weekend break and see if that doesn't get rid of it. Any suggestions??
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  14. #14
    Back in the saddle Sponge's Avatar
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    ^sounds like your weather is the same as hear...its been brutal. What I was saying is no riding the bike below 20 degrees.

  15. #15
    Back in the saddle Sponge's Avatar
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    So my orthopaedic thinks I have: Chronic Exertion Compartment Syndrome.

    For those of you that want to know what that is: http://orthopedics.about.com/od/over...ompartment.htm

    He wants to first try orthodics with my brick feet maybe the extra support will help my running strike and cause less inflamation/pressure in my muscles. So going to get orthodics made next week...

    I was hoping this would be easy...never is!

  16. #16
    Member danomac's Avatar
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    Hey guys i have been running on the treadmill at my gym for about 2 weeks now and just started to notice that my knees are getting stiff to bend. I streech before i go on the stationary bike and alittle bit before i run. I have not done any running in a week because of my knees. Can anyone give me a tip on how to overcome this problem.

  17. #17
    Member Coach Ice's Avatar
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    At least it's your calf muscles and not your achilles. That takes months to heal.
    As a pointer, when I came back from my achilles injury I started running just 5 minutes a day 3 times a week and built up gradually.
    I would only run on grass, and I would walk for 5 minutes before running then stretch, then after running walk for 5 minutes and stretch.
    The next week I ran for 10 minutes etc.
    Later I learnt a new stretch, standing with the ball of your foot on a step and your heel hanging over the edge, drop your heel and hold the stretch for a few seconds, repeat 10 times. Each time stretching deeper and longer. Since I have been doing this stretch, my achilles have been fine.

    I think that because we are cyclists, and fit and strong already, we are able to run further than our bodies can handle. I mean in terms of your bones, tendons and muscles. I read somewhere that it takes 3 months for the body to strengthen up the lower limbs so you are able to handle regular running. And that most injuries will occur from running within the first 3 months of taking it up. Hence why we are supposed to take it easy at first.
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  18. #18
    Back in the saddle Sponge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danomac View Post
    Hey guys i have been running on the treadmill at my gym for about 2 weeks now and just started to notice that my knees are getting stiff to bend. I streech before i go on the stationary bike and alittle bit before i run. I have not done any running in a week because of my knees. Can anyone give me a tip on how to overcome this problem.
    No idea on knees sorry...you may want to start your own thread you'll get attention to those that have had injuries before with their knee or find someone that knows something about knees.

  19. #19
    Everybody relax, I'm here haenous's Avatar
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    Sounds exteme

    The compartment syndrome sounds very extreme to me...I have struggled with shin splints/tight calves all my life and find that stretching, good equipment and steadily increasing levels of activity address the issue over time...I get the calf/shin pain if I stop training for any length of time or if I significantly increase my activities ...... just takes a while for the body to adjust imho
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  20. #20
    Senior_Member2 diff_lock2's Avatar
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    Is this pain the same like the first time you try to do max reps?

    I remember the first and only time we tried to find my max rep (squats). For 4 days I couldn't get in to or out of a seat with out tons of pain in the quads.

  21. #21
    Senior Member thehammerdog's Avatar
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    Dude I hear ya!

    The answer my friend is stretch and then stretch some more. ALso use the "stick" for massaging the calf.
    Here is a link at performance. I needed to get one ayer ago I developed Plantars faciatis very painful....took almost ayera to get under control..
    Good luck

    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...egory_ID=2416:)

  22. #22
    Junior Member traes26's Avatar
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    I am moving from running a marathon to trying my first tri this spring. So, not to shove aside what the Dr said, here are somethings I learned from all my running... during my first two months of marathon training my calves were sore non stop. I just kept running then one day it just cleared up. I firmly believe it was the fact that those small calf muscles just weren't strong enough to power my entire body for the amount of time I was running. It took a while for them to catch up with my quads, hamstrings and glutes. All muscles that are quite larger than your calf muscle.

    A piece of advice I was given from our local running store was to imagine "pulling my knees up" with my quads rather than "pushing" off with my calves. This mental picture really helped me take some of the strain off the lower legs and use some of the larger muscles and core muscles to power the run.

    Hope you can get back soon and finally conquer this painful hurdle.
    A year from now you'll wish you would've started today.

  23. #23
    Rider in the Storm
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    Quote Originally Posted by milhaus View Post
    Are you working on foot strength/flexibility?

    Take it slow, but consider working in some barefoot walking/jogging. If you're in a coastal climate, walking/jogging on the beach (the firm part near the waterline not the shifty sandy part) may do you some good. Start out very easy though. Your body will need a lot of time to adjust.
    I'm going to agree with the above post.

    Sponge, you mention flat feet and calf soreness and that you are looking for orthotics. Most orthotics address foot trouble that is often brought on by form/muscle weaknesses and imbalances. Sure, a heel lift might help alleviate some of the load causing the calf strain, but really the problem likely lies in your lack of muscle strength. A heel lift will just allow you to further neglect strengthening a muscle group that needs to be built up. Also, a heel lift might introduce further problems if you should become a more pronounced heel-striker...shin splints come to mind.

    Take milhaus' advice. Run slow. Run without shoes. Run little bits at a time, without experiencing the strain. Then, extend as you are able. I think you merely need to strengthen what sounds like a weak area. It will take patience and time...probably months.

    Just my opinion as a fairly accomplished marathoner.

    Edit: I now see the post about compartment syndrome. My understanding is that this can sometimes be caused by over-developed muscles placing too much pressure on adjacent, under-developed muscles. This can sometimes be solved by again, strengthening the under-developed set. Orthotics can sometimes worsen the problem because they allow the atrophied muscles to remain under-used and atrophied.
    Last edited by ChezJfrey; 02-06-08 at 02:43 PM.

  24. #24
    Back in the saddle Sponge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChezJfrey View Post
    I'm going to agree with the above post.

    Sponge, you mention flat feet and calf soreness and that you are looking for orthotics. Most orthotics address foot trouble that is often brought on by form/muscle weaknesses and imbalances. Sure, a heel lift might help alleviate some of the load causing the calf strain, but really the problem likely lies in your lack of muscle strength. A heel lift will just allow you to further neglect strengthening a muscle group that needs to be built up. Also, a heel lift might introduce further problems if you should become a more pronounced heel-striker...shin splints come to mind.

    Take milhaus' advice. Run slow. Run without shoes. Run little bits at a time, without experiencing the strain. Then, extend as you are able. I think you merely need to strengthen what sounds like a weak area. It will take patience and time...probably months.

    Just my opinion as a fairly accomplished marathoner.

    Edit: I now see the post about compartment syndrome. My understanding is that this can sometimes be caused by over-developed muscles placing too much pressure on adjacent, under-developed muscles. This can sometimes be solved by again, strengthening the under-developed set. Orthotics can sometimes worsen the problem because they allow the atrophied muscles to remain under-used and atrophied.

    I agree with you and Milhaus, I need to work on the shin/calf strength and taking it slowly/stretching seems to be working. I took 2 weeks off from running...took forever for my shins to feel normal again...and have been easing back into running shorter distances at a much slower pace...I hate it but I hate the pain more..

    The orthodics are going to be in tomorrow hope that helps too...I am not going to be running any marathon's just a few sprint tri's....trying to get a few pounds off this winter

    Thanks everyone for the feedback

  25. #25
    ROAD enthusiast revolator's Avatar
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    Few questions?

    - How much do you weigh?
    - What distance/time does your calf start hurting?
    - Incline/Hill running?
    - How clear is the pain difference between an injury vs. cramp pain?
    - Do you know the pace your usually running?

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