Scar tissue in calf


 I hope there is someone out there who can give me some advice.

 I am 27 years old.  When I was training for the London Marathon 3 years ago, I tore my calf muscle (gastroc) on a long run.  Ever since then I have not been able to run much at all, I can sometimes run for 2-3 months, but then things get worse and I have to stop for a few months again.

I always have a constant feeling in my calf where the scar tissue is, it feels like something is always pressing lightly on the area and whenever I run this feeling increases to the point that it feels like it could tare at any moment (although it has never torn again since the first time 3 years ago).

 The scar tissue is about 2-3 inches below the knee and is towards the inside of the leg, almost inline with the band that runs behind the knee on that side.

 I have had many MRIs on my back and calf, the back shows some wear to the left of one of my discs, I can't remember which number but i've been told that the nerves from this disc travel down to the area where I am getting the problem, although I have been told that it is not very bad and should not be a problem.

 The MRIs I have had on my calf have never shown anything but I have had CT  scans more recently that show scar tissue.

 I have seen everyone and tried everything that I can think of.  I have seen surgeons, many osteopaths, Chiroprators, Physios, Podiatrists and more.  The treatment I have had so far is as follows:

 Accupuncture to whole calf, weekly for 6 weeks

Deep tissue massage, weekly for 2 months

I've had the area scrapped with an injection needle to increase blood flow then injected with some sort of protein, weekly for 6 weeks,

Regular chiropratic and ostepath treatment over 3 years which include doing countless hours of stretches constantly,

I've had orthotics taylor made, one pair for my normal shoes and one pair for my running ones. I have been wearing these for 6 months now.

I've also been seeing a personal trainer for over 6 months who is also a very experienced high level runner and he has been giving me various strenthening & conditioning workouts to do twice a week to work on weaknesses.

 I have got to the point now that I do not know where to turn next.  It has got to the stage that the first thought that enters my head every day when I wake up is "does my leg feel the same" and if it does then I'm in a bad mood all day because I can't think of anything else.

 At the moment I am so close to giving up and quitting running because I can't put up with being down about this injury anymore but on the other hand I can't deal with the thought of having to give up.

 If anyone has any ideas of treatments I could try or people I could see it would be much appreciated, I'm willing to try anything.

 Thanks for taking the time to read this.



  • Sorry, I also forgot to say I have another issue that has started about 3 weeks ago and i'm not sure if it is linked to my scar tissue.

     the inside of my right ankle has been sore (on the bone that sticks out) and during a run a couple of weeks ago I got a sharp pain in a muscle just under my knee (in the gastroc further up from my scar tissue)

     My chiroprator thinks this is a neurological problem because there is a nerve that links these 2 areas so he has given me stretces to try and help with this.


  • Steve - has anyone ever wondered if the feeling you have is caused by "adhesions"?  I'm not a medical person but I think they are caused by scar tissue sticking to the wrong areas. They are basically the body's natural reaction to trauma/injury and it is the bodys way of repairing what has gone wrong but sometimes it makes too much scar tissue.  This causes a problem by the new tissue pressing on nerves or filling cavities.

    You can google advice on adhesions - it is common with knee injuries.  My OH had problems with them after injuring his knee.  The adhesion needs to be broken away and this was done by massage though when he ran sometimes the adhesion popped away on its own.  He said it felt like the muscle wanted to tear again like the feeling you have.

  • Steve

    You said (dunno how to do those quotey things!image

    "I have have had many MRIs on my back and calf, the back shows some wear to the left of one of my discs, I can't remember which number but i've been told that the nerves from this disc travel down to the area where I am getting the problem, although I have been told that it is not very bad and should not be a problem"

    I have a similary problem with a disc in my lower spine (L5/S1) and have had untold issues with my leg and muscles because of it for the last 2 years and i was and still am at times, convinced i have some kind of soft tissue problem, but i don't, its the damn nerves.

     I would say this finding on your MRI is worth further investigation as it definitely could explain your ongoing symptoms and the damage seen on the scan does not always correlate with the level of symptoms ie some people have could have a lower spine MRi that looks awful but they don't not suffer symptoms whereas another could show some mild issues but have quite a few problems.Best person to see IMHO, armed with your scans, would be a neurological spinal surgeon. I wasted a good year and a half not to mention £££'s on physios, chiros, massage therapists and none of it really helped more than temporarilly.

  • Thanks for the advice, your problem does sound similar to mine, I'm booked an appointment with my surgeon now so that he can refer me to a Neurological spinal surgeon.

     The feeling in my calf does sometimes travel to different areas of the calf, so I guess that would also suggest nerves.

     Thanks again,

    Any more advice of anyone would be much appreciated.


  •  hope all goes well . would you mind letting me know how you get on?

  •      hello ..  i had a problem with a calf muscle for about two years. my doctor sent me homerton hospital sports clinic. the problem was running with tight calf s and not streching in the right order . warmup run  and stretch. i have been running  for about three months ,but its a slow job retraining the muscles

  • Hi Fikalina,

     I'm booked into to see an orthopedic surgeon next Friday so that he can refer me onto a Neurological one, so I guess it will be 2-3 weeks before I get to see one.

     I'll let you know as soon as I get any news.

    Thanks again


  • Cheers Steve.

    If possible, ask to be referred to one who specialises in spines 'cos not all do.

    Keep your chin up. I've been through almost exactly the same experience as you trying to find answers so I understand your frustration. Strangely enough, my issues all kicked of with a IT band flare up. Go figureimage

  • hey,

    ok i agree with the guy above on the adhesions bit....scar tissue if left too long can 'stick' to normal tissue and then cause it to function badly. i suggest you get it looked at by a 'PROPER SPORTS PHYSIO' not just any old one- someone who has dealt with adhesions before.

     treatment wise you can have surgery to remove it ( kelly holmes who i used to run with had this problem, she had it removed....) or someone can 'rip' it free yup rip...


  • Hey Steve, sorry to hear you’re struggling with the injury and unable to train properly. Have you ever considered having a Sports Massage? I am a Sports massage therapist operating in Wolverhampton if that’s any good?

    Having a massage would definitely help as the scar tissue you mentioned is the body’s way of dealing with any muscular injury. The problem is the body just lays down the scar tissue in a very haphazard manner and not in the direction of the un injured muscle. Therefore it will never be truly right until the scar tissue is straightened out and aligned properly with the rest of the muscle. The purpose of the massage is to achieve this. 

     Let me know your thoughts on my suggestion.


  • Thanks Fikalina,

     I don't know if its a coincidence but before my calf issue started I was getting alot of trouble with my IT band on the same side.

    What treatment where you given for your problem?


  • Hi Gemma,

    Thanks for the advice, I have been to many sports physios and other sports specialists but nobody has ever mentioned this to me.

    I have also been going to Pure Sports Medicine in London regulaly for a year now ( to see a couple of people there and they have never mentioned this.

     I will ask them and my orthopedic surgeon and see what they say,

     Thanks again


  • no worries steve,

    yeah honestly i have heard of this method, it prevents the scar tissue 'locking' to functioning tissues. it can be painful but it can prevent you having further problems or needing surgery. i obviously dont know the extent of the injury but if you say a scan showed that you have scar tissue, depending on the size of it- thats one option.

    have a root around first to get a bit more knowledge on the issue then see what the experts say. just another option to try if all others failed.


  • Hi James,

     Thanks for the advice,

     I have been getting sports massages for about 2 months now, the guy I see says he can feel the scar tissue and say he can feel it breaking up and that it gets a bit better each time. 

    I'm not 100% sure I can feel it though, it feels the same as the other leg to me.

    I will keep getting it massaged and also look into Gemma's suggestion that it may be adhesions.

     Thanks again.

  • Hey Steve,

    Well, the things that have helped me are an Epidural Steroid Injection and core/pelvic stability work and taking up swimming.

    I got referred for my first lumbar MRI by one of the sports docs at Pure! That led to my first ESI which didn't really do anything because turns out it was not quite in the right area. About 8 months after i decided to go to a neuro surgeon and he sent me for another MRI which was of a much higher quality than the first and shows a tear in my disc (very common with dried out discs) so he did another ESI at the level where the problem is and it does seem to have settled the inflammation down a bit. I may have another one.

     I also had a Nerve Conduction Study. If your issue is caused by a nerve being trapped somewhere in your leg by scar tissue etc, this test should show it up.

  • Hi Fikalina,

    I have had the ESI done at Pure,

    I'm wasn't sure it did anything at the time, but I did end up getting about 3 months of good running so maybe it was that that did it.

    I have also done months and months of core workouts and that doesn't seem to have helped, maybe i'll try the ESI again, it was Kalpesh Parmer that I saw.  Who did you see?


  • Hi Gemma,

     My main problem is that I am based in Guernsey so it is hard to see anyone that specialises in just sport over here.

    I travel to london once a month to see different people so I am able to travel to the UK when needed.

     I was just wondering, with your experience, is there anyone that you would recommend that I see about adhersion (preferabley in London).



  • Hi Steve,

    Totally understand... Gosh yeah bit difficult!

    I know one guy that I can put you in touch with that's a sports physio (not sure if he actually does or has experience specifically with adhesions but he works with many professional athletes and does specific research at a london university on sports injuries- so I'm pretty sure he'll definitely be able to help you- in fact I'm pretty sure.

    Is it ok if I give you his email address directly to you via your email as I'm a bit uncomfortable giving his details on public forum just in case... Email me on:

    And I'll give it all to you straight away ( I'll also give him a heads up to know you're contacting, I work with him quite often and know he's very good and nice.)

    That ok by you? Look forward to your email


    (Very happy to be able to help)
  • No problem hope you get it sorted.


  • I saw Mike Bundy. Nice guy.

    Sounds like the ESi might have done something for you then so yeah, getting another one might be worth a shot and then if that works, get the 3rd one.

    I think with degenerated discs its a matter of management rather than cure and hopefully being able to manage it so i can avoid a surgery, which for my problem would be either a fusion or a disc replacement.

    What kind of core work have you been doing? Did your MRI show any bulging of your disc by the way?

  • Yes the disc does show a bit of bulging.

    I never really considered that it was the ESI that had helped my in the past because I had so many different treatments at the same time, but it makes sense because something triggered my symptoms to fade and something has triggered them to come back and until now I could not think of what might have caused this.

    I guess I might need to go back every six months or so for another injection.  Do you need to keep having ESIs or is that it now that you have had 3?

     I have been working with a GB middle distance runner on my core stuff, he changes my plan every 4 weeks, he has me working on everything, I do 2 sessions a week and they take about an hour and a half to do.  He also writes my training plans for me and has made sure I do not increase my mileage too quickly.

    Do you still have some symptoms?  While I went a few month being able to train as hard a I liked the feeling was still in my calf but it was loads better and I did not have to worry about it no matter how hard I pushed.

     Thanks for all you advice, its been very helpful.

  • Hey, no probsimage 

    Yeah i have a mild bulge too, no nerve impingment though.

    ESI's are generally limited to 3 per year though you will find some docs who will do more than that but its not recommended as they can damage tissue in the area. My neuro does not like to repeat them for 2 - 3 years. I've had 2 so i've 1 more to go.

    It does definitely sound like it worked for you and got the inflammation down in the area around the disc which is probably why your symptoms faded away. I described it as like having the volume turned down on my symptoms.

    Yeah i do still have symptoms, mine are more in my hip/butt and lateral thigh with some tingling in my toes sometimes, but they are much improved compared to 1.5yrs ago, whether that is due to the ESI, the core/posture work, activity modification or time, who knows, probably a combination of all of it.

    There are surgical options for degenerated discs and they are Fusion or a Total Disc Replacement. Not sure that my symptoms are bad enough or limiting enough for me to feel happy about going through with such major surgery though, but at least there is that option and i also hope that some less invasive treatment is just around the corner.

    Feel free to send me an email if you want to discuss this more off the forum. i can also give you the details of my neuro surgeon if you are interested. He is fellowship trained and considered the best in this country, could save you a bit of messing about. He is London based.

  • Hi, Yeah that sounds great, I'm not sure if we have a neuro surgeon over here in Guernsey so I might need to see someone else.

     If you want to send me the details privately my e-mail address is /forum/smilies/confused_smiley.gif[/img]]

     Thanks again,

     I'll keep you up to date on my situation

  • Steve

    You have mail.

    Yes, pls do keep me updated. Seeing him myself again in the New Year.

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