Calf tears

One of the problems that I've had to deal with constantly are tears in the muscles of my calf. I have found a system that seems to work for me in getting back on the roads as quickly as possible and reducing the chance of a re injury. I put this hear because I'm tired of answering this question all the time. Easier to just point to this link.

Often these seem to happen around mile 20 of a marathon. They start as a cramp, and as I continue to run on it the muscle fibers tear in the area around the cramp. This leads to even more muscle damage. The day after the marathon, the calf is very painful to the touch and I can hardly walk on it. The pain can last for a while and the site of the injury becomes a locus for future injuries to the muscle.

When you injure the muscle tissue the body attempts to heal it. There is an inflammatory reaction around the site of injury and sometimes even bruising. As the body heals the damage, scar tissue can be laid down. You can feel this scar tissue with your fingers in the weeks after the injury as a painful knot deep in the muscle. In can sometimes feel like a hard marble imbedded in your calf. This is a knot of scar tissue and the remains of the inflammatory material. Even after there is no pain and you can run, if this knot is present it will be a site that re injures again. The idea is to get rid of this knot so the muscle can function more normally.

What to do

If you feel your calf cramp up and it becomes painful try these steps.

As always, this is what works for me. The best thing to do is to go see a physical therapist so they can give real professional help.


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David S. Hays, O.D.,dhays@davidhays.net