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 ?? 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
> 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
> 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.
>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.
>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.
>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.
>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.
>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
>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.
>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
In health and on the run,
Director, San Diego Marathon Clinic, est. 1975