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Getting the right treatment for calf pain

Jan 10th, 2014

Marc asked The Guru for the following Physiotherapy Advice:

Hi,

I recently incorporated some hill sprints into my running schedule and soon started to experience issues with my left calf. At first it felt like a small bruise halfway down the inside of my left calf and I thought no more of it. After a week or so the pain intensified and began to stretch further down my calf. I rested for a week without training and then went for a gentle run. I was fine during the run but within a couple of hours the pain had returned. I’ve visited the GP who advised it wasn’t likely to be shin splints but could be a calf strain and to go away and rest it. I’m concerned that I don’t know what it is or how to treat it properly.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Jan 10th, 2014

The Guru Responded:

Hi Marc
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I think if rest has failed to get rid of the calf issue, then the cause of the calf issue is still out there….
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I think I’d also ease off the stretching. If you’ve overstretched your calf initially then you don’t want to keep on stretching. Allow it to restore to normal length, then when pretty pain free carry on stretching.
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Have a look at your running shoes, if they are old, need replacing and loosing control so allowing you to pronated too much then you’ll overload the inside of your gastroc muscle. If so, then change your shoes, avoid hills for the next 2 weeks as the new shoes break in, then restart the hill training.
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If it’s not your calf that’s at issue then don’t forget that referred pain from your sciatic nerve can feel like a calf strain but hates to be stretched….or even a stiff big toe can lead to calf muscles being overused…
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Hope this helps – gotta love your GP!!

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