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calves sieze up! Watch

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    Hi,

    im hoping there is a physio out there!

    i strecth for 30 mins before running, using a book of stretches and theres about 25 i do.

    when my calves are relaxed i can run 10km easy in 1hr. im aiming to do a 20k mini marathon.

    when my calves sieze up i cant even make 10mins due to it being so uncomfortable.

    the tightness is mostly in the calf muscles just above the ankle and the lower half of the calf..within a few minutes of running it all becomes very tough and tight there and for example, circling my ankle in the air becomes difficult.

    i have new-this-year running shoes hat ive used for a few months - aesics nimbus 12 which are great for me as i have a high arch.

    i would so welcome any advice! i just want to be able to run!

    thank you!
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    30 minutes of stretching!!!
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    (Original post by *Stargirl*)
    Hi,

    im hoping there is a physio out there!

    i strecth for 30 mins before running, using a book of stretches and theres about 25 i do.

    when my calves are relaxed i can run 10km easy in 1hr. im aiming to do a 20k mini marathon.

    when my calves sieze up i cant even make 10mins due to it being so uncomfortable.

    the tightness is mostly in the calf muscles just above the ankle and the lower half of the calf..within a few minutes of running it all becomes very tough and tight there and for example, circling my ankle in the air becomes difficult.

    i have new-this-year running shoes hat ive used for a few months - aesics nimbus 12 which are great for me as i have a high arch.

    i would so welcome any advice! i just want to be able to run!

    thank you!

    Nowadays people advise you not to stretch before running, as it stretches the muscles and they can't contract back once you start running... I think you should only stretch afterwards, but if you really do want to stretch before 30 minutes seems way too much... You only need to stretch the muscles that feel tight before you run
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    Never stretch before a run. Do dynamic exercises which replicate the movements that you will be doing in your sport. With running, you might do some skipping, some leg swings or any number of the 100000001 different warm up exercises there are. You could even just skip the whole warm up thing entirely and just run steady for the first 5 mins of your run before increasing the pace to your usual. Reason you are cramping is that you stretch your muscles out so much, and then you go for some hard activity. The sudden shortening of the muscles causes you to cramp.
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    Dynamic warm up before as above like walking lunges, legs up jog, legs to bum jog, star jumps etc...
    Foam roll (can also do this with a tennis ball / medicine ball / lacross ball ...) before and after exercise.
    Keep yourself hydrated.

    Static stretches are done a few hours after exercise.
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    (Original post by Ironmike)
    Never stretch before a run. Do dynamic exercises which replicate the movements that you will be doing in your sport. With running, you might do some skipping, some leg swings or any number of the 100000001 different warm up exercises there are. You could even just skip the whole warm up thing entirely and just run steady for the first 5 mins of your run before increasing the pace to your usual. Reason you are cramping is that you stretch your muscles out so much, and then you go for some hard activity. The sudden shortening of the muscles causes you to cramp.
    I disagree. I have recently started running again after being on crutches for 2 months. I was told to stretch my calves alot before running again. Someone else told me not to worry about stretching and just to ease back into running. I stupidly followed the later and now have a screwed up arch (flattened arch) as my foot now rolls inwards, which I know it's from not stretching my calves. I went back to running very gently and as I increased it I noticed the sharpest pain in my right arch imaginable. Now my foot is screwed to put it simply, and I find it hard even walking.

    To put it simply stretch your calves OP and hold each stretch for 30 seconds. Do a short run to get the muscles warm (like 5 mins) then do calf stretchs. Trust me its very important to stretch your calves, so keep doing it. It sounds more like your achilles so make sure you do that stretch too. Also try orthotic insoles to make sure your gait is right. If you get custom ones done properly they can help you so much. I can't walk at all without mine, no joke.


    I have also noticed alot of women runners have horrible gaits. They're ankles always look unstable and roll inwards which would screw up your achilles no doubt. Don't run in the kitchen now....


    Edit: Who negged me? I'm negging every post till someone comes forward lol.
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    (Original post by TheWaterfield)
    http://www.exrx.net/ExInfo/Stretching.html



    Study references at the bottom of the page. Basically do what ironmike said.
    So what exactly is functional flexibility? If someone were on crutches for a long period of time, would you recommend them stretching their calves before running again, or just ease back into running without stretching?
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    (Original post by Lamps08)
    I disagree. I have recently started running again after being on crutches for 2 months. I was told to stretch my calves alot before running again. Someone else told me not to worry about stretching and just to ease back into running. I stupidly followed the later and now have a screwed up arch (flattened arch) as my foot now rolls inwards, which I know it's from not stretching my calves.
    How do you know?

    Far more common causes are genetic (eg; you had this condition previously but were asymptomatic - being overzealous with the running, muscle atrophy, etc triggered it), being severely overweight or atrophy (ie; due to underuse from being on crutches for 2 months).

    (Original post by Lamps08)
    So what exactly is functional flexibility?
    The amount of flexibility you require to do a chosen sport or exercise. A gymnast needs a different level of flexibility and in different areas to say a bicyclist.

    It's an interesting topic because tight muscles store elastic energy and improve running economy. It about trying to find the correct balance between preventing injuries and maintaining performance - it isn't as simple as stretching everything as much as you can.

    If someone were on crutches for a long period of time, would you recommend them stretching their calves before running again, or just ease back into running without stretching?
    Dynamic stretches yes (eg; walking lunges, leg swings, squats, duck walk, etc).
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    (Original post by ch0c0h01ic)
    How do you know?

    Far more common causes are genetic (eg; you had this condition previously but were asymptomatic - being overzealous with the running, muscle atrophy, etc triggered it), being severely overweight or atrophy (ie; due to underuse from being on crutches for 2 months).



    The amount of flexibility you require to do a chosen sport or exercise. A gymnast needs a different level of flexibility and in different areas to say a bicyclist.

    .

    So how much functional flexibility does someone need to run? i.e Is any stretching necessary?


    My right calf is now really small compared to my left.(Has been for the last 3 years lol) About half the size I reckon. I don't put as much pressure on the right side now, and therefore more on the left, so even after 1 game of football my left calf gets bigger and my right one doesn't change.(I don't play football alot) My claves have always been pretty big so you can really notice the size change, and even team mates say its really weird. I did go for neurology tests but nothing came back, and its obvious its wasted because of lack of use.

    My guess is that because my calves were so tight, my foot had to compensate by over-pronating, and thus now have really small calves because my foot and calf doesn't work efficiently. All I know is that I seriously screwed up my rehab....because I didn't do one haha. All rehab guides for sprained ankles include calf stretching, not strengthening, so my guess is that its tight calves not weak calves that have buggered me.
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    (Original post by Lamps08)
    So how much functional flexibility does someone need to run? i.e Is any stretching necessary?


    My right calf is now really small compared to my left.(Has been for the last 3 years lol) About half the size I reckon. I don't put as much pressure on the right side now, and therefore more on the left, so even after 1 game of football my left calf gets bigger and my right one doesn't change.(I don't play football alot) My claves have always been pretty big so you can really notice the size change, and even team mates say its really weird. I did go for neurology tests but nothing came back, and its obvious its wasted because of lack of use.

    My guess is that because my calves were so tight, my foot had to compensate by over-pronating, and thus now have really small calves because my foot and calf doesn't work efficiently. All I know is that I seriously screwed up my rehab....because I didn't do one haha. All rehab guides for sprained ankles include calf stretching, not strengthening, so my guess is that its tight calves not weak calves that have buggered me.
    Your ankle rehab for a screwed up ankle and related weakness in calves should have been lots of eccentric loading exercises. Latest research points towards this as the best way to regain full functionality as quickly as possible. An example of this would be doing heel drops on one foot.

    The fact that you aren't putting as much pressure on your right foot as you used to is why your calf muscle is wasting. You need to address this asap. Your left calf shouldn't be getting bigger after one game of football. If it was I would be very concerned - could point towards compartment syndrome, but even with that, you shouldn't notice any substantial change in size. I should imagine if they had done a proper neuro test on you, they would have been looking at things like this anyway.

    I'm currently working in a busy outpatients department, and see a lot of people with serious muscle imbalance. This can lead to a lot of further complications for joints as they are not properly supported. You state that you know your re-injury was definitely caused by not stretching your calves, but a tight calf wouldn't cause your foot arch to collapse. Again, if you have suffered a collapsed arch, this is something that needs to be looked at by a skilled professional.
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    (Original post by Lamps08)
    All rehab guides for sprained ankles include calf stretching, not strengthening, so my guess is that its tight calves not weak calves that have buggered me.
    Can I ask where you have got this information from? If it was from a professional then I would be surprised. Initial post injury treatment is restoration of ROM as pain allows, but after that it certainly isn't!
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    (Original post by Lamps08)
    So how much functional flexibility does someone need to run? i.e Is any stretching necessary?
    How long is a piece of string? It depends on your activity level, what you've done, what you do, etc. The only person who can really advise you is a decent physio.

    Personally I can't remember the last time I put time aside to do dedicated static stretching. Dynamic stretches, warmup exercises and the odd bit of foam rolling seems to suit my demands down to the ground.

    My guess is that because my calves were so tight, my foot had to compensate by over-pronating, and thus now have really small calves because my foot and calf doesn't work efficiently. All I know is that I seriously screwed up my rehab....because I didn't do one haha. All rehab guides for sprained ankles include calf stretching, not strengthening, so my guess is that its tight calves not weak calves that have buggered me.
    Your calves and your arches are two very distinctly different and detached structures - as I've said already it's extremely unlikely that tight calves are the cause of your overpronation (in fact I can't find it documented anywhere). It is far more likely that the muscles in your arches have atrophied in response to lack of exercise (like your calves and most of the musculature in your lower body) or that you had this underlying problem previously and you were simply unaware of it.

    As for stretching and gentle exercise to rehab sprained ankles that is in the very acute phase and mainly to prevent adhesions forming and maintain ROM, not prevent overpronation.
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    (Original post by Ironmike)
    Your ankle rehab for a screwed up ankle and related weakness in calves should have been lots of eccentric loading exercises. Latest research points towards this as the best way to regain full functionality as quickly as possible. An example of this would be doing heel drops on one foot.

    The fact that you aren't putting as much pressure on your right foot as you used to is why your calf muscle is wasting. You need to address this asap. Your left calf shouldn't be getting bigger after one game of football. If it was I would be very concerned - could point towards compartment syndrome, but even with that, you shouldn't notice any substantial change in size. I should imagine if they had done a proper neuro test on you, they would have been looking at things like this anyway.

    I'm currently working in a busy outpatients department, and see a lot of people with serious muscle imbalance. This can lead to a lot of further complications for joints as they are not properly supported. You state that you know your re-injury was definitely caused by not stretching your calves, but a tight calf wouldn't cause your foot arch to collapse. Again, if you have suffered a collapsed arch, this is something that needs to be looked at by a skilled professional.

    Thanks for your help. After a game of football I notice my left calf is bigger- probably just the initial reaction of using it. My calves have always been abnormally big and gain size very quickly(well not with the right one now obviously). Even when I was a kid I had really big legs compared to my team mates, whilst my upper body is skinny.

    My left shoe wears out really badly as well- again probably twice as much as my right one does. I just looked at an old pair of shoes and my right one looks pretty new whilst the left one looks a good year old.

    What would cause my arch to collapse if it wasn't tight calves?


    edit: I will take a picture of my shoes to show you what I mean about the tread difference...
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    see attached
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    (Original post by Lamps08)
    Thanks for your help. After a game of football I notice my left calf is bigger- probably just the initial reaction of using it. My calves have always been abnormally big and gain size very quickly(well not with the right one now obviously). Even when I was a kid I had really big legs compared to my team mates, whilst my upper body is skinny.

    My left shoe wears out really badly as well- again probably twice as much as my right one does. I just looked at an old pair of shoes and my right one looks pretty new whilst the left one looks a good year old.

    What would cause my arch to collapse if it wasn't tight calves?


    edit: I will take a picture of my shoes to show you what I mean about the tread difference...
    Don't stress about taking a photo, I can picture what you mean. Having flat arches isn't something to be worried about, unless it is something that has onset. Tight calves won't be the reason that your foot has collapsed, forget about that one.

    If your arch has suddenly collapsed, and you know for sure that you used to have an arch there, but don't now, my immediate suspicion for someone of a young age would be a problem with either the ligaments of the foot, or the tendonous insertions. Rheumatoid Arthritis for example can destroy joints and tendons in the foot and cause it to lose it's shape. Without having your foot infront of me, it really is impossible to come to any sort of clinically sound conclusion as to the cause of your problem. You mention you play football. Can you remember a trauma to your foot that caused your arch to go? Your initial injury that had you on crutches - what happened?

    Assuming you have intact structures in your foot, quite possibly the best way for you to go would be the use of shoe orthoses to give you an arch. You can do strengthening exercises such as scrunching your toes up as if you were trying to pick a tennis ball up with your feet, but I'm not sure about the clinical effectiveness of this as It isn't necessarily a weakness with your intrinsic foot muscles.

    Only way you will get a proper diagnosis and potential treatment is to go and see someone.
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    (Original post by Ironmike)
    Don't stress about taking a photo, I can picture what you mean. Having flat arches isn't something to be worried about, unless it is something that has onset. Tight calves won't be the reason that your foot has collapsed, forget about that one.

    If your arch has suddenly collapsed, and you know for sure that you used to have an arch there, but don't now, my immediate suspicion for someone of a young age would be a problem with either the ligaments of the foot, or the tendonous insertions. Rheumatoid Arthritis for example can destroy joints and tendons in the foot and cause it to lose it's shape. Without having your foot infront of me, it really is impossible to come to any sort of clinically sound conclusion as to the cause of your problem. You mention you play football. Can you remember a trauma to your foot that caused your arch to go? Your initial injury that had you on crutches - what happened?

    Assuming you have intact structures in your foot, quite possibly the best way for you to go would be the use of shoe orthoses to give you an arch. You can do strengthening exercises such as scrunching your toes up as if you were trying to pick a tennis ball up with your feet, but I'm not sure about the clinical effectiveness of this as It isn't necessarily a weakness with your intrinsic foot muscles.

    Only way you will get a proper diagnosis and potential treatment is to go and see someone.
    I have seen a few ppl. Only one of the sets of orthoses I have actually help a bit. My foot strength is fine. I have a high arch on standing but as soon as I move I overpronate and my ankle rolls inwards and my arch collapses so my foot is completely flat on the floor.

    The problem I have is that my ankle rolls in so much so, that for my ankle to be iin a neutral position I have to walk on the outside of my foot which is effectively why my little toe is just a blister all the time .



    edit: I fractured my fibula originally-was on crutches for 7 weeks. Just went straight back into playing football. I just remember feeling a really sharp pain on the inside of my ankle.
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    (Original post by ch0c0h01ic)

    Your calves and your arches are two very distinctly different and detached structures - as I've said already it's extremely unlikely that tight calves are the cause of your overpronation (in fact I can't find it documented anywhere). It is far more likely that the muscles in your arches have atrophied in response to lack of exercise (like your calves and most of the musculature in your lower body) or that you had this underlying problem previously and you were simply unaware of it.

    .
    Try google my friend.
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    (Original post by Lamps08)
    Try google my friend.
    I have multiple times, feel free to enlighten me.
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    (Original post by Lamps08)
    I have seen a few ppl. Only one of the sets of orthoses I have actually help a bit. My foot strength is fine. I have a high arch on standing but as soon as I move I overpronate and my ankle rolls inwards and my arch collapses so my foot is completely flat on the floor.

    The problem I have is that my ankle rolls in so much so, that for my ankle to be iin a neutral position I have to walk on the outside of my foot which is effectively why my little toe is just a blister all the time .



    edit: I fractured my fibula originally-was on crutches for 7 weeks. Just went straight back into playing football. I just remember feeling a really sharp pain on the inside of my ankle.
    As a stab in the dark, did they specifically check the common peroneal nerve? This nerve innervates peroneus longus and brevis which are the main muscles involved in slowing down the pronation of your foot as you land. The course of peroneus longus also takes it underneath the foot to insert onto the medial cunnieform and the first metatarsal. Peroneus longus is an important muscle for the maintenance of the transverse arch in your foot, in other words, the part of your foot that has potentially gone flat. When you fracture your fibula, it is not unheard of for you to also disrupt the common peroneal nerve as it wraps around the head of the fibula, thus de-innervating or compromising the strength of your peroneals. This would lead to a flattening of the arch of your foot as the muscle has lost its contractile strength, and in effect is too weak to either prevent excessive over pronation, or to maintain the arch in your foot. This is the line of investigation that I would go down with you.

    Who was it that did a neuro test on you, and have you been to see a specialist podiatrist or physio? Not a bloke in a tracksuit at your local trainers direct store, but a specialist? Have you noticed any difference in sensation down the outside of your legs? You would be looking especially for an altered sensation around the L3 dermatome (the fibula head/knee region) and a weakness on resisted ankle eversion. You would also experience a decrease in plantarflexion (standing on your toes) strength, and this may lead you to incorrectly believe that your calves have got weaker, when actually it is the secondary plantarflexors (peroneals) that are in deficit.

    If you have been properly assessed, this should all make sense to you as it is the very basics that any good outpatients physio or other specialist would do along with other neuro investigations.
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    (Original post by Ironmike)
    As a stab in the dark, did they specifically check the common peroneal nerve? This nerve innervates peroneus longus and brevis which are the main muscles involved in slowing down the pronation of your foot as you land. The course of peroneus longus also takes it underneath the foot to insert onto the medial cunnieform and the first metatarsal. Peroneus longus is an important muscle for the maintenance of the transverse arch in your foot, in other words, the part of your foot that has potentially gone flat. When you fracture your fibula, it is not unheard of for you to also disrupt the common peroneal nerve as it wraps around the head of the fibula, thus de-innervating or compromising the strength of your peroneals. This would lead to a flattening of the arch of your foot as the muscle has lost its contractile strength, and in effect is too weak to either prevent excessive over pronation, or to maintain the arch in your foot. This is the line of investigation that I would go down with you.

    Who was it that did a neuro test on you, and have you been to see a specialist podiatrist or physio? Not a bloke in a tracksuit at your local trainers direct store, but a specialist? Have you noticed any difference in sensation down the outside of your legs? You would be looking especially for an altered sensation around the L3 dermatome (the fibula head/knee region) and a weakness on resisted ankle eversion. You would also experience a decrease in plantarflexion (standing on your toes) strength, and this may lead you to incorrectly believe that your calves have got weaker, when actually it is the secondary plantarflexors (peroneals) that are in deficit.

    If you have been properly assessed, this should all make sense to you as it is the very basics that any good outpatients physio or other specialist would do along with other neuro investigations.

    Thanks for your reply. This is what one of the letters from a neurologist said:

    Neurologically there are no abnormalities of power, reflexes or sensation, and he can hop quite normally of his right foot. There are no lumbar sacral vertebral abnormalities. His right calf is obviously thinner than his left, although it is of normal contour and therefore not necessarily pathologically wasted.

    Just to make sure that the right calf thinning is constitutional, rather than representing any neuromuscular lesion, I am arranging electromyography. However I have fully reassured Mr. X that I fully expect this will be normal. Otherwise I have reassured him that I find no evidence of a neurological lesion.


    I never went to the elctromyography
 
 
 
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