Saturday, March 24, 2012

Coddling the Calf

March 24 - Last weekend I ran a half marathon that wasn't planned. I did it because I've been feeling amazing. I did it because I want to maintain my fitness level for the next one that is on my schedule - the Cox Rhode Races Half Marathon. I did it because it was insanely fun to sign up at the last minute, and KNOW that I COULD do it.  

Feeling great at mile 2

The week prior my left calf muscles were a bit tight and spasming a little, so I took all the typical precautionary measures: ice, KT Tape, the stick, and foam rolling.

After the race I sported my compression shorts, compression socks, and decided to take a little rest. My legs were tired, but overall I was feeling pretty good. I was thinking I can do half marathons all the time!

On Monday, my calf was feeling very, very cranky = tight and tender. Uh oh. So I continued all of the above, took some ibuprofen and went to see the chiropractor.

Mr. Chiropractor adjusted my lower back, my hips, my ankle and my foot. Then he told me You have very little arch in that foot. WHHATT?  He explained that my calf muscles were working extra hard because of the lack of support in my foot. So I ordered myself a pair of made-just-for-me orthotics to go with my new pair of Nikes.

I skipped my scheduled run on Tuesday because the calf was still feeling ouchy. I continued to coddle the calf, even working it out using my wobble board; it's great for stretching and strengthening.

On Thursday it was feeling a lot better so I did a short trail run before another visit to Mr. Chiropractor. In addition to a full adjustment, I was told to get a sports massage.

So this morning before my appointment I went for a four mile run. I took the dog with me hoping he would prevent me from going too fast. My calf was still feeling a little stiff and I even had to stop to stretch it, but by the end it had loosened up considerably. Luckily my massage therapist is also a runner. She worked all the tight muscles in my legs, used hot rocks on my calves, and stretched out my quads and hips. She also suggested that I use heat before stretching and rolling my tense calf muscles with a tennis ball.

I am hoping to pick up the made-just-for-me orthotics next week and then put an end to this tight calf business. I am looking forward to another season of good running, fun experiences, and another pain-free half marathon!

How do you deal with a nagging pain/injury?
Do you think custom orthotics work?


  1. I'm really excited to hear how your custom orthotics are. I don't have those but I did get some semi-custom ones last fall and although they were great for walking, they weren't so great for running.

    As far as nagging injuries go, my aches keep moving around to different parts of my leg so in a way that's good. But I do take a couple of days off if things seem like they're settling in to one area.

    I hope your calf continues to feel better! There's nothing like rest and ice.

    1. I have used all the off the shelf orthotics and my chiro explained how those don't work for my problem. Custom are kind of expensive, but if they do the trick they'll be worth it!

  2. I hope you continue to heal and feel better!!! I've never used orthotics. I'm interested in reading what you have to say.

    1. Me too! Hopefully I'll have a good report =)

  3. a few thoughts, all of course from this non med professional, but gathered from reading, past experience and other professionals I have met with;

    1. it could be the way your run, you might be having your lower leg do too much work... you want the work to come from your upper leg and core, the big muscles.

    2. careful using the stick and foam roller on already tender calves,the calves are very sensitive and you an over irritate it very easily.

    3. also watch out that with tight calves, achilles issues are around the corner and you don't want to get into that nonsense.

    all injuries suck, but if you can nip it before it get's worse, rest is definitely best... when I had an achilles strain last summer, I went to spinning a couple times a week and backed off of any hill/speed work and running to 3-4x a week to nurse it back to health.

    curious what you think of orthotics, I just bought a pair this wk as well...

    hope you are feeling better soon!! being proactive is the best thing you can do!

    1. Thanks for your input. I find that some of the best advice comes from runners who have been there, done that!

  4. Hope you recover soon......that half in Quincy was fun, wasn't it?

    I'm just about ready to get out on the road again, and with 3 weeks left until Boston, it's about time!

    See you out on the road!

    1. Time of luck with the remainder of your training!


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