Persistent calf injuries

Hi
Depressed first-time poster. I have had persistent reoccurring injuries in both calves going back over 2 years now. It is the same spot that keeps getting injured, alternatively in both calves... Right in the middle of the calf where the soleus inserts into the <span>gastrocnemius.
I have had 30 - 40 physio sessions at this stage (with 2 different practices) and I recently underwent a 2 month rehab program with nightly exercises (calf raises, hopping on one leg etc).
On 2 occasions now, the same calf has torn, in the physios office, during the final standing jump tests that were supposed to be the final test before getting back on a running program. I really feel like I am at the end of the road. There is talk about maybe getting a MRI done but, other than probably showing scar tissue on both calves, I don't really see how that is going to benefit me. 
This post is kinda a last resort to see if anyone out there has been in a similar position and/or has any thoughts or ideas of what I could possibly try next. I really feel that I've exhausted the physio route.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I am 48 years old but carrying no excess body fat. 
Many thanks 
James </span>

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Answers

  • Just had a very quick scan of that there and all I can say is wow! I will definitely take the time to read through everything in it. Thank you for taking the time to post this. 
  • WheelyneilWheelyneil ✭✭✭
    I had similar issues, sudden out of the blue calf strains, one leg after another. Always the same place, deep inside the soleus  muscle. Nothing really bad, but enough to stop me running for 2-3 weeks at a time. The solution for me was exactly as everyone says - increase cadence and strengthening the glutes and core. I also started wearing shoe insoles to support my high arches. I increased my cadence from 160-165 to around 175 on a steady jog, and around 180 at anything faster than 5min/km pace, increasing to 190 at 4min/km. Unfortunately there is no easy fix, the glute/core strengthening takes months of daily work and there are no shortcuts. I found it easier to do a bedtime routine involving hip hitches and calf raises on the stairs, plus lots of planks and glute bridges. It’s not fun, and it doesn’t feel at the time to be doing any good, but 2 years later I’m running faster than ever and no more calf strains. That said, I’m now suffering with a peroneal muscle/tendon problem, but I think I’ve just found the next weakest link as a result of running faster/harder.
  • Hey Neil, many thanks for your response. I very much agree with your ideas around glutes/hips/core strengthening...the sports injury specialist I am currently seeing has me on hamstring/quad/glute strengthening program as he feels it could be linked to the calves being overloaded. That is the first time I have had any advice in relation to cadence...I will be sure to mention that at my next appointment. In the meantime, I would highly recommend the blog above, kindly provided by raywood, for all things calf-related.
    Thanks again...
  • I posted about this very problem a few years ago on here. For 11 years I suffered with calf pulls. I saw every type of professional to solve it but never got an answer. Then, I happened to read an article titled "It's all in the hips" written by James Dunne on the Kinetic Revolution website. He explained that you can have the biggest, strongest glutes in the world, BUT, if you don't use them when running, somewhere else is doing the work instead, at a cost (Calf Pulls?????) I found it difficult to engage my glutes initially, as I had lost the neural connection. I couldn't clench my butt cheeks one at a time but after practice I managed to. Then, when I went running I started to clench my butt cheeks, which felt weird at first, but it made me engage my glutes as I ran. Haven't had any calf issues for 11 months now, and was up to 19 miles in preparation for 5 marathons this year before Covid . Might not be the answer to your problem, but might be worth a read.
    Good luck
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