Sunday, February 04, 2007

Calf Update

I didn't get to see my ortho guy on Friday, but the calf seems to be responding well to the traditional RICE approach. I can walk slowing at a normal gait and walk upstairs carefully without pain. Walking downstairs is still problematic.

Since I’m nowhere near running on the calf, I got in an hour on the elliptical machine at my gym on Saturday and another hour on Sunday. I kept my HR right around 120 (70% HRmax) both days. I also reversed direction every 10 minutes and, parenthetically, conclusively demonstrated that the elliptical machine does nothing for your calf muscles. After each hour of aerobic exercise, I had no soreness in the calf area at all. Since I was at the gym, I also got in a 4x20 set of leg extensions both days to start to do something about building up my quads.

I appreciate all the comments you left over the weekend. Each of you gave me something to think about and really helped me move forward. My biggest concern at the moment is WHY. I can deal with the recuperation time (that doesn’t mean I like it), but how do I prevent this from happening again? I noticed that I have the same soreness on the right calf up near the medial head of the gastrocnemius; which may imply that the right side is every bit as weak as the left that pulled. After all, it’s pretty weird for someone to tear a muscle stepping off a landing. It wasn’t like I was out playing basketball or volleyball or something else where I was jumping up or landing on my toes. I was just stepping off a landing onto the first step in a standard household staircase.

For now, I’ll continue with my active therapy (using the elliptical machine) and light stretching. At this rate, I should be able to start walking again this week sometime. I won’t even try to run on it until the pain is completely gone.

Thanks again, you’ve been great. Have a wonderful week running.


Ewen said...

It could have been the sudden movement. Perhaps there's an underlying weakness there.

A few weeks after you've resumed running, a variety of calf strengthening exercises should help with prevention.

Lana said...

Glad to hear your calf's a little better. Keep up the RICE for sure!

BTW - I tagged you. See my last post for details.

Mike said...

I'm thinking it's the soleus too, and I think perhaps all the travel so soon after the marathon might not have helped the situation (sitting still either cramped in an airplane or a car).

I know everyone is telling you to get it checked out, but I know if I were in the same situation I would probably be doing the same things you are (cross-training, NOT seeing the doctor and occasionally looking up to the sky, shaking a fist and saying WHY ME????).

I think different muscles take different amounts of time to recover from a traumatic event like a first marathon with serious hills. While strengthening the injured area (once pain-free) is probably a good idea, it's very possible the connectors are just as much or more to blame (achilles/other heads of the calf and such).

I think this sort of thing just happens sometimes too, like Duncan's ankle sprain. Good luck and fast recovery.

olga said...

I am with Ewen on Why? I remember you very fast track repeats. Slow building of strain. Weak muscle that needs some other routine besides running? Hope your way of dealing with it will bring good results. Be patient. Hmm..yeah, the advice is still the same:)

J~Mom said...

Phil, It really might be worth a visit to a physical therapist just to have your legs evaluated. I was so shocked in the wealth of information I got from my pt in a few short visits about my knees. I think I saw her six total times and I have not had any knee pain since. At the time I went in the pain was so intense that I couldn't even kneel on my knees. Anyway, you have had enough going on with the foot numbing and now this that at least an evaluation might serve to be very beneficial. You are very smart to wait until the pain is gone before running again. I did that with my foot and it hasn't bugged since that initial flare up.

Thanks for the comments on my idiot run Sunday. You might as well know I can be an Ibuprofen abuser. But I am very careful not to do it before I run...for the very thing that happened (tummy trouble). I go to church with a nurse and she saw me take four at once and just about fell out of her chair. I will not do that again. Well not anytime soon. :>)

Deene said...

good idea to take it easy until it heals. take care.

Neese said...

and one might have thought running a marathon would of caused some trouble, but NO, a household landing! isn't life strange in that way? hope it continues to improve

Anonymous said...

I hate to break it to you but your calf injury, it might just be a what happens as you get older. Despite trying to be as careful as possible, I've had calf injuries that came on for no apparent reason, and I'm a few years younger than you. Patience, patience, patience. It will slowly get better.

DawnB said...

Hang in there Phil. Keep doing what your doing. The elliptical is a great substitue, I love the one with arms.

stephruns said...

Have a speedy recovery…many ways to work-out. You are on the right track!