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Interesting new injury

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Interesting new injury

Postby Andinistaloco » Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:42 pm

...or maybe not. Is to me, at least. I tore a calf muscle about 3 weeks back and the thing's taking forever to recover. Any suggestions on things that've helped any of you? If I had to guess I'd say it's a grade 2 tear... swelling but no bleeding, lots of pain but the muscle's not bunching up or hanging. Getting better but really slowly and flexing still hurts. Ideas?

Thanks -
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Re: Interesting new injury

Postby Clark_Griswold » Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:51 pm

Andinistaloco wrote:...or maybe not. Is to me, at least. I tore a calf muscle about 3 weeks back and the thing's taking forever to recover. Any suggestions on things that've helped any of you? If I had to guess I'd say it's a grade 2 tear... swelling but no bleeding, lots of pain but the muscle's not bunching up or hanging. Getting better but really slowly and flexing still hurts. Ideas?

Thanks -

If you have "lots of pain" @ 3 weeks out into the healing process it may be more than you think. I suggest seeing a doctor.
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Postby chugach mtn boy » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:04 pm

When you're 90, things do take longer to heal. Say, I thought the SP software wouldn't accept ages over 86 ... how did you do that :?:
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Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:16 pm

Calf injuries are notoriously slow to heal. Have you seen a sports medicine doc or a physcial therapist?
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Postby chugach mtn boy » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:26 pm

Reinjuries are a big problem with a lot of calf injuries. If you are still having swelling after 3 weeks, you're doing something wrong, so it might be time to consult with a good PT.

One long-term tip I picked up from my PT (mostly applicable AFTER the symptoms are gone) is never, ever stretch your calves before exercise. I'd been doing calf stretches as part of a warmup forever because some coach told me to long ago. Things have been so much better since I cut that out ...
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Postby John Duffield » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:32 pm

chugach mtn boy wrote:
One long-term tip I picked up from my PT (mostly applicable AFTER the symptoms are gone) is never, ever stretch your calves before exercise. I'd been doing calf stretches as part of a warmup forever because some coach told me to long ago. Things have been so much better since I cut that out ...


+ 1

Optimum, is that you do an aerobic exercise first to warm the muscles up then stretch them.
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Postby chugach mtn boy » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:43 pm

I think it goes beyond that, John. The new research is that stretching, especially in this area, weakens the structure for a while, and so any stretching in this area should be not just post-warmup, but post-workout.
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Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:43 pm

chugach mtn boy wrote:never, ever stretch your calves before exercise. I'd been doing calf stretches as part of a warmup forever because some coach told me to long ago. Things have been so much better since I cut that out ...


I've been running for 26 years and haven't stretched since high school track and cross-country. Other than one rolled ankle sustained while trail running, I have been completely injury free.
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Postby KBurnett » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:52 pm

chugach mtn boy wrote:I think it goes beyond that, John. The new research is that stretching, especially in this area, weakens the structure for a while, and so any stretching in this area should be not just post-warmup, but post-workout.


Here's a reference to what you're referring to:

In addition, recent research has established an adverse effect of acute static stretching on various different maximal performances. Pre-event stretching has demonstrated an inhibitory effect on maximal force or torque production (Avela, Kyrolainen, & Komi, 1999; Behm, Button, & Butt; 2001; Evetovich, Nauman, Conley, & Todd, 2003; Fowles, Sale, & MacDougall, 2000

and a link: http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199 ... acute.html
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Postby Rocky Alps » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:08 pm

A month ago I sprained my ankle playing basketball and didn't think anything of it, but the next day my calf muscle was really sore as well. After a week it didn't seem to be getting any better, and after I noticed chest pain when taking deep breaths a quick trip to the ER confirmed there was clotting in the vain and several of the clots had travelled up to my lungs. :shock: After several sprained ankles and pulled muscles in the past, it took me for a loop that this injury could be so different. At first it just felt like a pulled muscle, but after getting on blood thinners the pain localized near the top of my calf, almost at the back of the knee (where the remaining clots were collecting). It took three weeks before I could even flex the muscle without significant pain. The clots are finally breaking up though, and it's feeling a lot better now.

If it's been three weeks then it probably is just a bad tear, but you should make a trip to a pt or sports medicine doc just to be safe. The one who sent me to the ER said that sometimes people can hobble around on a fractured fibula/tibia (can't remember which one) without even knowing it, and if it's taking longer to heal then there could be some tendon/ligament damage. Anways, a visit could definitely speed up the healing proces (they can show you the best exercies to do to make sure you don't work the muscle too hard).
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Postby MoapaPk » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:29 pm

The clot/embolism angle is interesting. I had a pretty bad calf muscle tear in early 2003, but ironically, I was on "blood thinners" (warfarin) at the time. The back of my calf was black and blue, down to my ankle, and the ankle was swollen for about a month.

But I don't recall exceptional pain. It hurt a little to walk, but within 2 weeks I was at least doing modest hikes (in fact, the day of the pull I was still 4 miles from the car, and limped out).

I was on blood thinners then because of a stroke the year before. I had a congenital hole between the atria of my heart (a PFO), and a clot was speculated to push through the hole, where it made a beeline to my brain. The PFO was not large; but I had such a high ejection fraction and strong heart, blood was crossing over with every beat. It was speculated that the legs were the only places where veins would be big enough (and flow was slow enough) for such clots to form (mainly fibrin, unlike clots in arteries), hence the warfarin.

I actually had a sonograms of the likely clotting areas in the legs, and no clots were found. Sonograms of the legs are actually pretty cheap and easy...
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Postby Rocky Alps » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:54 pm

Wow MoapaPk, that's scary stuff. That's good that you're heart's strong, but I guess in your case it sounds like that along with the hole helped the clot move up even faster. Anything involving clots is something that should be attended to immediately, and it's definitely made me re-think what levels of risk I'm willing to take.

The first time I tore ligaments in my ankle with a high angle sprain it was black and blue all the way from the middle of my foot up to my calf, but the swelling was minimal and I could walk pretty normal after a couple weeks. This time there was no bruising at all, but my entire lower leg was swollen (probably 3 inches larger in circumference than the other leg). They started me out on lovonox and coumadin (thankfully, I'm only on the coumadin now), and since they found I have the factor-5 leiden gene (which can cause clotting) I may be stuck on coumadin for life (have to wait and see how I'm doing in 6 months). Unfortunately part of the tissue in my right lung will end up dying, so just going up stairs gets me out of breath now. I'm sure the breathing will get better, but this has definitely made me re-think whether or not I want to make the jump to class 4 (when all I've done so far is trail hiking and easy class 3 scrambling), especially if there's no medical help for dozens of miles and bloodthinners cause me to bleed out after a significant cut or fall.

I'm as pre-disposed as anyone to just "walk it off" (up until a month ago I hated doctors offices and hospitals), but if you've got an apparently harmless injury that doesn't seem to be healing the way it should then it can't hurt to pay the co-pay and figure out what's going on. It took two sleepless nights (laying down or sitting against anything caused sharp pains and muscle spasms all down my right side whenever I took a deep breath, and even though I figured it was a clot I naively thought it would get better on its own) for me to finally come to my senses. X-rays and sonograms are relatively inexpensive, but I'm a bit nervous to see how much our insurance covers the CT scan.
Last edited by Rocky Alps on Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby DANNYC » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:56 pm

Go to the physical therapist. They see these kinda injuries everyday. I trashed an ankle last year and was on crutches and PT for 4 weeks. It takes a long time to fully heal. You may be able to hike or run on it in a couple months but it will probably take about a year to fully heal. My injured ankle is still slightly larger than my other ankle. There is alot of info on the net on ankle injuries & how to build stronger ankles. Come back slowly. It took me forever to be able to run again but I ran/hiked 31 (50K) miles last Sat. for the first time & I'm 40. Good luck & have patience.
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Postby Andinistaloco » Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:23 am

Lots of good advice here, folks. I should clarify that hiking doesn't hurt it really... just sports and climbing. Though it's getting better, it seems like it's taking quite a while to heal. But then, as CMB pointed out....


chugach mtn boy wrote:When you're 90, things do take longer to heal. Say, I thought the SP software wouldn't accept ages over 86 ... how did you do that :?:


Check out the date I joined... that's how I got to be so old. 8)
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