Does this sound familiar?
You’re a runner with a history of apparent ‘calf tears’. The repetitive 2-6 week cycle looks something like this:
- You’re fine for a period of time, and then soon after building your running distances &/or increasing your speed, your calf ‘goes’.
- Off for treatment which might involve ultra-sound, massage and the prescription of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation) and calf stretching.
- 2-6 weeks off running, then gingerly back to it.
- All is well for a while, then just when you’ve started to stop worrying, your calf ‘goes’ again.
- Back for treatment, this time with the instruction to rest ‘a bit longer’ and the repeat prescription of RICE and calf stretching.
This cycle can be repeated many, many times. The frustration is unbelievable and hours are spent on-line searching for answers.
Where is the ‘Why’?
Once again, the ‘why’ question is notable by its absence.
- Is it run technique? Has it been checked? Have corrections been made? Do you, as the patient, understand what you need to do to improve your form?
- Is poor footwear choice encouraging poor technique? Do you, as the patient, understand what constitutes appropriate footwear for good biomechanics whilst running?
- Is it really tight calves (hence the supposed logic of stretching them), or is the ‘pull’ coming from elsewhere?
- Is the calf tightness caused by active trigger points within the muscle tissue, which until found and deactivated (by you – as they respond best to treatment multiple times a day!) are likely to worsen symptoms if the prescribed stretching regime is the usual ‘30 seconds per stance’ protocol?
- Are the hip flexors short and tight, forcing the hamstrings into a lengthened and perhaps, weakened state, stressing the calves? In this case, appropriate treatment would include a programme including hip flexor stretching.
- Or are long & weakened hip flexors forcing the hamstrings to become short and tight, stressing the calves? [If hip flexor stretching was used in this scenario, the patient (you) would get worse!]
- Is a ‘forward head’ creating a forward lean, which when coupled with a poor choice of footwear, generates a heel-strike running action, alternately stretching the calves and then stressing them with the resulting toe-off?
So what CAN be done?
All these questions should get answers, not guesses and certainly not nihilism.
In an ideal world, a full CHEK assessment would give both answers and offer foresight into potential future injury problems, and the CHEK Corrective Exercise Programme would give the solutions.
Another option would be to book a T1 Injury Clinic appointment, which would get the healing started and offer enough insight to start the healing process. Sometimes Mother Nature just needs a little time for small improvements to make differences, and with the downward spiral halted, the upward healing curve often becomes exponential.
Many follow an initial injury clinic session with T2 Efficient Running Coaching to improve running form.