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1485 Views 3 Replies Latest reply: Aug 14, 2014 5:57 PM by JamesJohnsonLMT
pixelmech Rookie 2 posts since
May 2, 2008
Currently Being Moderated

Aug 7, 2014 9:35 AM

Calf and Foot

I'm starting up the couch to 5k after having not run for something like 10 years. In that time I have been active (a couple years skating inline marathons) just not running. I stopped running years ago because I kept piling up injuries. But I am at a point in my life where I have very little time but I have to exercise, and running seems to be the only thing I can work in.


Quickly about me - I'm 48, male, 5' 7" 210-ish. I'm very stocky/muscular, but also a bit overweight.


I am on week 3, workout 3 (today) of the program.


My issues are two. First, I have this odd foot pain. It bothers me more when I am NOT running, than when I am. It's on the outer right side of my foot, but it's incredibly hard to pinpoint. It's like a soreness more than anything. Often if I am sitting for a long time then get up, it's sore for a bit. Seems when I am active, it feels better. I have been icing it after each run, as well as on off days. I am concerned about this, because this was one of the things that stopped me running before. Last time it happened when I started pushing mileage to 5 mile runs. But I'm barely running right now. It does not seem to be getting worse, but it is not going away.


Second, my right calf muscle. I tried running a year or so ago briefly. But at some time, I pulled/strained/tore a muscle in my calf (I have no idea what actually happened other than it hurt). It took months to heal. Now it is something that I almost always can feel, even while walking ever so slightly. (I tend to be a really fast walker, might be why.)


When I run, I can feel this spot in my calf - and it feels like it juuuusssst about to go. But it doesn't. I am very careful to do my 5 minute warmup, and after I do some dynamic stretching and calf stretches. I wouldn't even characterize it as sore, it's just "there." It feels like if I pushed to hard, it would go for sure (so I am being careful.)


The calf is the other thing that stopped me running last time.


I am wondering if anyone has similar experiences, or can offer some advice. I really, REALLY need this running to work for me, I am at my wits end with fitness, this is all I can find time to do right now. Any insight is appreciated.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,541 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Aug 7, 2014 11:15 AM (in response to pixelmech)
    Calf and Foot

    I'm sure you'll get more knowledgeable replies, but briefly, I know the peroneal tendon runs along the outside edge of the foot.  That may be strained.  Google pain on outside of foot to see more and other possible explanations.  Here's one article.


    For the calf, if you have what is sometimes known as a "trigger point" in the calf, that can continue to cause problems for a long time if not specifically treated.  Here's an article that may help.


    Hopefully others will chime in with more expert opinion.


  • JamesJohnsonLMT Legend 1,291 posts since
    Aug 23, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Aug 14, 2014 5:57 PM (in response to pixelmech)
    Re: Calf and Foot

    My apologies for bluntness, but if you were piling up running injuries before, there's no reason to expect much different after a 10-year hiatus from the sport. Based on a pattern of unbalanced injuries and/or pain, I am going to guess that there are anatomical or physiological explanations for this, if not due to running on uneven surfaces. Such imbalances, if present, need to be addressed ASAP before piling on another injury to the previous list. In other words, if running is beating you up, stop the carnage.. Now.


    If you are running on roads, one subject often covered is how the left/right sloping of a road surface for drainage makes for a perfect storm of overuse injuries, since your muscles and tendons must unevenly compensate for this type of surface to keep you running level. Result? Strained tendons, etc. on one side.


    Alternatively, it is not often covered in most literature that most people, when measured, show one leg to be longer than the other, which results in similar injuries on even running surfaces, including treadmills. This "leg length discrepancy" may be due to actual differences in bone length or hip structure, or to unbalanced core musculature that retracts one hip socket joint more than the other. One can be compensated for with footwear modifications, the other retrained, respectively.


    Regarding trigger points, and/or micro-tear damage within the muscle, they can contribute to a problem without necessarily eliminating it when they are solved, ie: they can cause an imbalance in muscle tone that in turn, spawns other more serious injuries to tougher tissues like bone, cartilage, ligaments, or tendons. Always, always take care of them before this happens. A tight calf almost certainly has a trigger or two to disarm. Stretching does not usually eliminate them, and they often cannot be trained out. Manual therapy, even self-applied, can reset muscle tone for improving these injury-causing imbalances. Bone up on it, so to speak.


    I try to get people away from focusing on a particular injury, and instead on tracing back to an original cause. In the majority of cases, your body will heal itself, even from ongoing assaults on your anatomy due to training, within certain limits specific to you. What your body can't do is eliminate most of these causes for you. That is when you must pull back from your training long enough to get a professional assessment of your anatomical raw material, and the way you are inclined to use it. Most of these problems can be solved, if not directly by a pro, then with the assistance of his/her applied knowledge. Any running surface problem is easy to figure out yourself. Good Luck!

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