Emma asked the Guru about her Lower Leg Pain

Apr 07th, 2014

Dear Guru,

I am a competitive track/cross country distance runner, and over the last
couple of weeks, I’ve had bad pain in my calf/lower leg. I’ve had shin
splints in the past, and it doesn’t feel like that. It came on over the
course of a week or so, and I cannot pinpoint a specific painful spot, but I
cannot walk without limping! Running on it hurts slightly at first but the
pain goes away, at least until after I finish my run when I find I can barely
walk again! I took two weeks fully off on my coach’s advice, and the pain
went away, but it came back as soon as I started running again. For the past
week, I’ve just been doing my track sessions and the long run, cross training
instead of my easy runs, and RICE-ing as much as possible. But it isn’t
getting any better, and I’ve got a big race in a fortnight, so I’m really
concerned! What do you think it might be, and what should I do?

Many thanks in advance!

Apr 07th, 2014

The Guru Responded:

Hi Em

Calf pain can be due to the calf itself or from tissue (nerve) that runs through the calf itself, especially as this is pretty non de script pain.

Let’s say it’s the calf, and you’ve done nothing to it, then I think it may be due to an overuse and over stress type injury. For this I’d have a good look at your shoes to makes sure they are giving you enough control during pronation. If not, and your foot rolls in uncontrollably (and excessively due to distance) then you may keep over loading your calf. Stretching is the wrong option but getting control back is.

To see if it’s a nerve related issue see if you can make the pain worse by sustaining a provocative position and adding in forward bending (back!) with chin on your chest and see if you can influence the pain you feel – better or worse.

What makes it better or worse? Let me know.

The Guru
Six Physio

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