HELP : Tight Calf when running

HELP : Tight Calf when running

Post by John-Francis Koeh » Mon, 13 Jan 1997 04:00:00


I've been running for 5 months and have grown to 'like' it.  I feel
energized and fit - even if it means the only time I can run is at 6:00
every morning because of my schedule.

My problem is that regardless of what I do (warm-up, stretching, etc.) my
right calf gets rock-hard when running.  Sometimes I think that this will
prevent me from running further or longer.  This happens especially when I
change the terrain I run on (for i.e.. running on sidewalk to running
through snow on sidewalks).

Does anyone have any suggestions ??

-
"When my sons grow up, punish them, men, and pain them in the very same way
I pained you, if they seem to care more for money or anything else before
virtue." - Plato, Apology.

 
 
 

HELP : Tight Calf when running

Post by Thom » Wed, 15 Jan 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

> energized and fit - even if it means the only time I can run is at 6:00
> every morning because of my schedule.

> My problem is that regardless of what I do (warm-up, stretching, etc.) my
> right calf gets rock-hard when running.  Sometimes I think that this will
> prevent me from running further or longer.  This happens especially when I
> change the terrain I run on (for i.e.. running on sidewalk to running
> through snow on sidewalks).

> Does anyone have any suggestions ??

John,

I have just recovered from a recent episode of a similar malady.  Over
the past 6 years I have sustained this injury three times.  Although it
may not be the same problem you are experiencing, here is what I have
learned:

The pain that I felt was a sudden tightness or "grabbing" of the
gastrocnemeus (calf muscle) halway between the knee and ankle.  It felt
similar to a cramp.  What my GP (Dr. Hawk, who was, btw, the backup
quarterback for Neil Lomax at Portland State in the 80's....but I
digress) told me was that this was caused by ADHESIONS in the calf muscle.
Normally muscle fibers slide back and forth against each other when you
run.  I'm not sure what causes the adhesions, but when they occur the
prevent the fibers from sliding and cause them to "hang up" on each other.
The calf muscle gets all pissed off and starts cramping up...the bodies way
of telling you "Hey buddy, gimme a break down here!".

Okay...so cut to the chase....

To alleviate these adhesions my doc recommended the following:

1) Stretch the HELL (his words) out of your calf muscles.  I do this by
*** my foot off the edge of a curb so that my entire weight stretches
my calf...Hold this for about 60 seconds, one leg at a time (no bouncing)
.  After about 20-30 seconds you will feel a burning sensation which
indicates your muscles are "releasing".  Repeat this a few times a day,
both calves.

2)  Lay off activities which cause this pain/tightening for a few to several
days.  Allow your body to heel...okay so you've mastered that part....

3)  Take some anti-inflammatories to reduce the swelling.

Of course you may have something entirely different, but hey cheap advice
is.......um........cheap.

Good Luck.

Thom "Not a Doctor, but and expert in pain" Trimble


 
 
 

HELP : Tight Calf when running

Post by John J. Montgomer » Wed, 15 Jan 1997 04:00:00

John-Francis,

There are others more knowledgeable about this stuff than I am, but I would
take a look at the shoes! Are they old, were they cheap, are they any good?
I spent the first several months of my revived running career in old shoes,
then cheap shoes, and I experienced the same problem you're describing.
When I finally broke down and spent the money for some real shoes, the
problem was gone, and I felt great!

What, your shoes are fine? Oh, never mind...

JM



Quote:
> I've been running for 5 months and have grown to 'like' it.  I feel
> energized and fit - even if it means the only time I can run is at 6:00
> every morning because of my schedule.

> My problem is that regardless of what I do (warm-up, stretching, etc.) my
> right calf gets rock-hard when running.  Sometimes I think that this will
> prevent me from running further or longer.  This happens especially when
I
> change the terrain I run on (for i.e.. running on sidewalk to running
> through snow on sidewalks).

> Does anyone have any suggestions ??

> -
> "When my sons grow up, punish them, men, and pain them in the very same
way
> I pained you, if they seem to care more for money or anything else before
> virtue." - Plato, Apology.


 
 
 

HELP : Tight Calf when running

Post by Doug Free » Wed, 15 Jan 1997 04:00:00

|>
|> To alleviate these adhesions my doc recommended the following:
|>
|> 1) Stretch the HELL (his words) out of your calf muscles.  I do this by
|>*** my foot off the edge of a curb so that my entire weight stretches
|> my calf...Hold this for about 60 seconds, one leg at a time (no bouncing)
|> .  After about 20-30 seconds you will feel a burning sensation which
|> indicates your muscles are "releasing".  Repeat this a few times a day,
|> both calves.
Thom, While I would not dare to second guess the Dr., I would like to add
that while stretching the calf is VERY important,*** off a curb or
stair is very likely to over-stretch the achilles/calf. I think
by stretch the HELL out of it, he means do it 3-5 times a day
while you over-coming the injury and then incorporate it in to daily life.  
There are stretches that are equally efective but less potentially harmful.
See pg 71 of Bob Anderson(two flavors of the wall stretch)

|>
|> 2)  Lay off activities which cause this pain/tightening for a few to several
|> days.  Allow your body to heel...okay so you've mastered that part....
|>
|> 3)  Take some anti-inflammatories to reduce the swelling.
|>
|>
|> Of course you may have something entirely different, but hey cheap advice
|> is.......um........cheap.

--
Doug Freese  All opinions are mine. IBM Tele: 8-293-8098

 
 
 

HELP : Tight Calf when running

Post by Thom » Wed, 15 Jan 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

> |>
> |> To alleviate these adhesions my doc recommended the following:
> |>
> |> 1) Stretch the HELL (his words) out of your calf muscles.  I do this by
> |>*** my foot off the edge of a curb so that my entire weight stretches
> |> my calf...Hold this for about 60 seconds, one leg at a time (no bouncing)
> |> .  After about 20-30 seconds you will feel a burning sensation which
> |> indicates your muscles are "releasing".  Repeat this a few times a day,
> |> both calves.
> Thom, While I would not dare to second guess the Dr., I would like to add
> that while stretching the calf is VERY important,*** off a curb or
> stair is very likely to over-stretch the achilles/calf. I think
> by stretch the HELL out of it, he means do it 3-5 times a day
> while you over-coming the injury and then incorporate it in to daily life.  
> There are stretches that are equally efective but less potentially harmful.
> See pg 71 of Bob Anderson(two flavors of the wall stretch)

Honestly...that is what he said.  Too stretch it VERY hard to help break
lose the adhesions.  Typical gentle stretching did not prove effective in
this case.  This type of stretching will not over-stretch your calf if done
gently (no bouncing).  This type of stretching is no different than the
stress induced on the calf by running up a steep hill.

Thom

- Show quoted text -

Quote:
> |>
> |> 2)  Lay off activities which cause this pain/tightening for a few to several
> |> days.  Allow your body to heel...okay so you've mastered that part....
> |>
> |> 3)  Take some anti-inflammatories to reduce the swelling.
> |>
> |>
> |> Of course you may have something entirely different, but hey cheap advice
> |> is.......um........cheap.

> --
> Doug Freese  All opinions are mine. IBM Tele: 8-293-8098


 
 
 

HELP : Tight Calf when running

Post by Ozzie Gonta » Wed, 15 Jan 1997 04:00:00

for 5 months and have grown to 'like' it.  I feel

Quote:
> > energized and fit - even if it means the only time I can run is at 6:00
> > every morning because of my schedule.

> > My problem is that regardless of what I do (warm-up, stretching, etc.) my
> > right calf gets rock-hard when running.  Sometimes I think that this will
> > prevent me from running further or longer.  This happens especially when I
> > change the terrain I run on (for i.e.. running on sidewalk to running
> > through snow on sidewalks).

> > Does anyone have any suggestions ??  John,

> I have just recovered from a recent episode of a similar malady.  Over
> the past 6 years I have sustained this injury three times.  Although it
> may not be the same problem you are experiencing, here is what I have
> learned:

> The pain that I felt was a sudden tightness or "grabbing" of the
> gastrocnemeus (calf muscle) haflway between the knee and ankle.  It felt
> similar to a cramp.  What my GP (Dr. Hawk, who was, btw, the backup
> quarterback for Neil Lomax at Portland State in the 80's....but I
> digress) told me was that this was caused by ADHESIONS in the calf muscle.
> Normally muscle fibers slide back and forth against each other when you
> run.  I'm not sure what causes the adhesions, but when they occur the
> prevent the fibers from sliding and cause them to "hang up" on each other.
> The calf muscle gets all pissed off and starts cramping up...the bodies way
> of telling you "Hey buddy, gimme a break down here!".

> To alleviate these adhesions my doc recommended the following:

> 1) Stretch the HELL (his words) out of your calf muscles.  I do this by
>*** my foot off the edge of a curb so that my entire weight stretches
> my calf...Hold this for about 60 seconds, one leg at a time (no bouncing)
> .  After about 20-30 seconds you will feel a burning sensation which
> indicates your muscles are "releasing".  Repeat this a few times a day,
> both calves.

> 2)  Lay off activities which cause this pain/tightening for a few to several
> days.  Allow your body to heel...okay so you've mastered that part....

> 3)  Take some anti-inflammatories to reduce the swelling.

> Of course you may have something entirely different, but hey cheap advice
> is.......um........cheap.

> Good Luck. Thom "Not a Doctor, but and expert in pain" Trimble


The post below is a layman's wording to explain what is known as
"applying transverse friction on a group of muscle fiber."  I do have one
concern about stretching a muscle too much because one can trigger the
stretch reflex which protects the muscle from being damaged.  Sometimes
the burning sensation in a muscle can be from the muscle being strained
and not letting go.  At other times the feeling of burning can be felt
when an adhesion or fascia lets go.  It would be a feeling similar to
getting an Indian burn.

Quote:
>Tendons for all intent and purposes are not suppose to stretch. The

muscles above the Achilles tendon, soleus and gastrocs are suppose to do
what muscles do: Contract and relax. Your calf muscles are contracting but
only partially relaxing. When a knot in the calf occurs it tightens up to
protect itself and won't let go when you stretch it. If you continue to
stretch, you stretch the good muscle fiber on either side of the knot. It,
over time, gets over stretched and joins the knot. The end result is that
you end up saying, stretching doesn't work. It would if only you could
stretch the knot.

Quote:
>First work out the knot in the calf. Sit down. To find it, put your belly

of the calf muscle over the knee of the other leg. Move the knee back and
forth in the belly of the calf and you should find the knot. Remember when
a muscle is sore and contracts, in the contracted state it doesn't let you
know it's sore, until you start to feel around.

Quote:
>Put your calf muscle over your knee, a railing, the back of a chair.

Remember it's the back of the calf muscle. You put the belly of the muscle
over the back of the chair, or railing or knee. Slowly (lovingly) rotate
it back and forth, that is side to side about a inch. Slowly move(slide)
the leg up or down the back of the chair, etc. so that you "lovingly
massage side to side the entire belly of the calf.

Quote:
>Remember it you go too deep, too fast, too hard, you will only get the

muscle to tighten up even more---getting the opposite of what you want.

Quote:
>But remember your body is a system, so you may take the pressure off the

Achilles, but the calf may be due to an overly tight shin muscle which
only partially relaxes when the calf muscles are contracting, causing the
calf problem. And the shin may be cause by the quad or ham from the other
leg being tight so that you get more impact on the leg with the calf
problem caused by the shin problem caused by..... And the reality may be
due to the way you sit at your desk all day in poor posture which
causes.....

Quote:
>Anyway, see if you can massage out the calf to relieve the Achilles. Then

you can slowly start to think about the form and style of running.

Quote:
>Let me know how it goes with the calf. Remember, what I'm sharing is

folklore. That is, if it works use it. If it doesn't, don't give it any
energy, Just chuck it out and look for something that makes more sense and
works.

--
In health and on the run,
Ozzie Gontang
Maintainer-rec.running FAQ
Director, San Diego Marathon Clinic,  est. 1975

 
 
 

HELP : Tight Calf when running

Post by Rocky Water » Thu, 16 Jan 1997 04:00:00

I have had problems with my calf tightening on me. However, with me it
was not a grab, but it would come on gradually. I found that doing
several things helped.

1. I was wearing my shoes too tight. Loosening the laces was the biggest
help of all.

2. I was running tight. Making sure that my shoulders were loose when
running helped to reduce the tightness in the calves when it started to
occur as well as postponing onset.

3. Continuing to run. I would run until the onset, then walk. Over time
the legs would adapt to running longer.

I also stretched, and continue to, but feel that was the least help to
the calf tightness problem that I had.

This has just been my experience, your milage may vary.

-Rocky Waters