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Calves and Achilles

Posted by BryanS on 9/25/02 at 11:17 (096191)

This is more research from rec.running, linking 'knotted' calves to Achilles pain. Also stretching knotted calves will put more stress on Achilles. I tried putting my leg over a chair and testing my calves the calve with PF and achilles problems was much more tender. I am going to give it a try.

http://www.mindfulness.com/of1.asp

Tendons for all intent and purposes are not suppose to stretch. The muscles above the Achilles tendon, soleus and gastrocs are suppose to do what muscles do: Contract and relax. Your calf muscles are contracting but only partially relaxing. When a knot in the calf occurs it tightens up to protect itself and won't let go when you stretch it. If you continue to stretch, you stretch the good muscle fiber on either side of the knot. It, over time, gets over stretched and joins the knot. The end result is that you end up saying, stretching doesn't work. It would if only you could stretch the knot.

First work out the knot in the calf. Sit down. To find it, put your belly of the calf muscle over the knee of the other leg. Move the knee back and forth in the belly of the calf and you should find the knot. Remember when a muscle is sore and contracts, in the contracted state it doesn't let you know it's sore, until you start to feel around.

Put your calf muscle over your knee, a railing, the back of a chair. Remember >it's the back of the calf muscle. You put the belly of the muscle over the >back of the chair, or railing or knee. Slowly (lovingly) rotate it back and >forth, that is side to side about a inch. Slowly move(slide) the leg up or >down the back of the chair, etc. so that you 'lovingly massage side to side >the entire belly of the calf.

Remember it you go too deep, too fast, too hard, you will only get the muscle to tighten up even more---getting the opposite of what you want.

But remember your body is a system, so you may take the pressure off the Achilles, but the calf may be due to an overly tight shin muscle which only partially relaxes when the calf muscles are contracting, causing the calf problem. And the shin may be cause by the quad or ham from the other leg being >tight so that you get more impact on the leg with the calf problem caused by >the shin problem caused by..... And the reality may be due to the way you sit >at your desk all day in poor posture which causes.....

Anyway, see if you can massage out the calf. Then you can slowly start to think about the form and style of running.

Let me know how it goes with the calf. Remember, what I'm sharing is folklore. That is, if it works use it. If it doesn't, don't give it any energy, Just chuck it out and look for something that makes more sense and works.

Remember 'DO NO HARM'

Re: Calves and Achilles

Ellen J. on 9/26/02 at 08:42 (096258)

Hi Bryan,
Thanks for that post. I've been getting calf cramps in one leg lately and will use the info you provided to work it out rather than trying to 'stretch' it out, as I was trying to do earlier.
Ellen

Re: Calves and Achilles

Kathy G on 9/26/02 at 08:49 (096259)

Hi Bryan,

Interesting post. One of the most painful aspects of PF for me was the knots I got in my right calf. It was what eventually made me go to PT (which wasn't a great success but that's another story). I do regularly 'stretch' my calf muscles by doing Julie's stretches and standing on a tilt board. If I don't do that, the spasm comes back. When it's particularly bad, my wonderful husband, bless him, can usually fix it by massaging my leg and concentrating on the knotted muscle. What irritates me is that I never know what causes it to get so knotted - it doesn't necessarily correspond to my activities. The next time it bothers me, maybe I'll try your method and give my husband a break!

Thanks for the info!

Re: causes of muscle cramps

Ellen J. on 9/26/02 at 09:07 (096263)

Well, the last link I tried to post didn't work, but I'll try again with this link. It is about the causes of muscle cramps and I found it to be more informative than other sites. http://health.discovery.com/diseasesandcond/encyclopedia/554.html
Ellen J.

Re: causes of muscle cramps

Pete R on 9/27/02 at 06:30 (096301)

KNotted muscle can be to do with the trigger points in our bodies, legs etc which refer pain elsewhere i.e the foot, Carmen has posted info on this under 'myofascial pain'

Re: causes of muscle cramps

Kathy G on 9/30/02 at 09:36 (096513)

Thank you for the link, Ellen. Interesting, as I do have one leg longer than the other. I just brought in my orothotics for an 'overhaul' and asked my Pod if we had done anything to take that into consideration and we hadn't. This time around, he's adding to one of them to compensate for the difference. Interestingly, since going without the orthotics, and just wearing my running shoes with the insert he gave me way back when all I had were the symptoms of a neuroma, the calf pain has come back fairly consistently. I have been stretching and using the tilt board a whole lot more. Obviously the orthotics did something to control whatever is causing that problem. My calf doesn't hurt in the back; just on inside of my leg and I can feel the knot. I'm trying magnesium as suggested by Brian but see no difference yet. I'll keep on trying and man, I hope my orthotics are ready soon!

Re: causes of muscle cramps

Ellen J. on 10/01/02 at 21:11 (096656)

Hi Kathy,
I'll have to ask my new pod about leg length difference when I see him at the end of the month.
Sounds like your orthotics were actually helping you, so it's nice that you have one more piece to the puzzle. Sometimes it's so hard to figure out what the feet need.
I keep waking up with calf muscle cramps in the leg that has my bad foot. Then when I try to walk on that leg after getting out of bed, the cramped muscle pulls on the fascia. I guess I have to wait until the cramp is totally gone before walking on it.
What a pain in the rear all of this is!
Anyway, I hope your new orthotics feel great and work well.
Ellen

Re: Calves and Achilles

Ellen J. on 9/26/02 at 08:42 (096258)

Hi Bryan,
Thanks for that post. I've been getting calf cramps in one leg lately and will use the info you provided to work it out rather than trying to 'stretch' it out, as I was trying to do earlier.
Ellen

Re: Calves and Achilles

Kathy G on 9/26/02 at 08:49 (096259)

Hi Bryan,

Interesting post. One of the most painful aspects of PF for me was the knots I got in my right calf. It was what eventually made me go to PT (which wasn't a great success but that's another story). I do regularly 'stretch' my calf muscles by doing Julie's stretches and standing on a tilt board. If I don't do that, the spasm comes back. When it's particularly bad, my wonderful husband, bless him, can usually fix it by massaging my leg and concentrating on the knotted muscle. What irritates me is that I never know what causes it to get so knotted - it doesn't necessarily correspond to my activities. The next time it bothers me, maybe I'll try your method and give my husband a break!

Thanks for the info!

Re: causes of muscle cramps

Ellen J. on 9/26/02 at 09:07 (096263)

Well, the last link I tried to post didn't work, but I'll try again with this link. It is about the causes of muscle cramps and I found it to be more informative than other sites. http://health.discovery.com/diseasesandcond/encyclopedia/554.html
Ellen J.

Re: causes of muscle cramps

Pete R on 9/27/02 at 06:30 (096301)

KNotted muscle can be to do with the trigger points in our bodies, legs etc which refer pain elsewhere i.e the foot, Carmen has posted info on this under 'myofascial pain'

Re: causes of muscle cramps

Kathy G on 9/30/02 at 09:36 (096513)

Thank you for the link, Ellen. Interesting, as I do have one leg longer than the other. I just brought in my orothotics for an 'overhaul' and asked my Pod if we had done anything to take that into consideration and we hadn't. This time around, he's adding to one of them to compensate for the difference. Interestingly, since going without the orthotics, and just wearing my running shoes with the insert he gave me way back when all I had were the symptoms of a neuroma, the calf pain has come back fairly consistently. I have been stretching and using the tilt board a whole lot more. Obviously the orthotics did something to control whatever is causing that problem. My calf doesn't hurt in the back; just on inside of my leg and I can feel the knot. I'm trying magnesium as suggested by Brian but see no difference yet. I'll keep on trying and man, I hope my orthotics are ready soon!

Re: causes of muscle cramps

Ellen J. on 10/01/02 at 21:11 (096656)

Hi Kathy,
I'll have to ask my new pod about leg length difference when I see him at the end of the month.
Sounds like your orthotics were actually helping you, so it's nice that you have one more piece to the puzzle. Sometimes it's so hard to figure out what the feet need.
I keep waking up with calf muscle cramps in the leg that has my bad foot. Then when I try to walk on that leg after getting out of bed, the cramped muscle pulls on the fascia. I guess I have to wait until the cramp is totally gone before walking on it.
What a pain in the rear all of this is!
Anyway, I hope your new orthotics feel great and work well.
Ellen