"strange" calf injury - advice please

The last couple of days I've been having a strange calf pain that I could do with some advice on please.

I currently run 5 to 8 miles, two to three times a week over mixed terrain in Vivobarefoot Neo shoes, so very minimalist form - I have been been running like this for a year or so with no issues so am not suspecting overuse or over enthusiasm...

My two crimes may be a lack of quality strectching on the day before the injury surfaced as I was in a rush and got slack - secondly that same night my young daughter was ill and I ended up sleeping on her bedroom floor to keep her company and I got very cold...

The presentation of the injury is a very sharp pain in my upper/outer top quadrant of my left calf muscle when I walk or jump - like a very strong stiffness - neither heat nor ice offers particular relief, and regular stretching doesn't seem to do much either - normal walking leaves me limping a bit and it's definately stiff when I've been driving the car (I have an auto so don't use my left leg).

BUT - running actually seems fine and offers me some relief and easing of the symptoms, I am not using any sort of pain killer or anti-inflammatory, however I don't want to do more damage so what on earth have I done and what should I do to fix it???  Thanks in advance.


  • I had trouble with my calf muscles a while ago, kept getting shooting pains, stiffness and dead leg. It turned out to be ITB related and a few weeks with a foam roller sorted it out. See if you can borrow one from someone and give it a go?


  • Thanks, it actually got a lot better over the weekend without any real care or maintenance, but I did sleep in some very long very warm socks (sexy!) and I wonder if just the constant heat/compression helped??

    Foam rolling has been on my "must do" list for a long time so I actually bought a roller online to be delivered today.

    Between the foam rolling and better stretching I'm hoping this has just been a transient one off - maybe a deep spasm caused by my one very cold night.

  • From where you say this pain is I think you may have upset your popliteus muscle. Do you underpronate? That means you tend to wear the outside of the heal of your shoes; the two seem to go together. If you google this muscle and relevant stretches/excercises hopefully that will ensure it will not happen again.

  • Thank you SideBurn, I've just checked my Vivo's and yes what little wear is on the heel is on the outside edge as you suspected so I'll look into that muscle and see how I go.

    In other news the foam roller I bought has been great and I feel fabulous for using it - I can still feel that I've had a problem in that leg but it's holding up to (ab)use nicely again.

  • You and I as underpronators are a rare breed; remember this when you purchase your next pair of shoes. A good shop should know what you mean and advise accordingly.

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