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6539 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: Mar 2, 2012 2:54 PM by Nathaniel Barber
superbuffbob Amateur 16 posts since
Dec 21, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Feb 27, 2012 4:22 AM

Calf Pain - new runner - Possibility Creatine ?

Hi all ,


I started the c25k prgramme just after the Holidays at the back end of December and everything was going well until I had  what felt like a heart attack in my calf. Since then both calfs have been very tender and I get pain from the moment I move from a walk to a run.. I have had some massage and that helps loosen up the calf area but the pain never really goes away.. Its deep in the underbelly of the calf  ( the Soleus , I think ) just about where the Achilles joins the calf muscle.




I am spending serious time stretching both legs and feel that its not a stretch problem..One thing I did read is about the use of Creatine( see here for one of the articles ) , the problems started about three weeks ago and I did start on Creatine about that time. I googled and read up on the possibility of leg cramps with creatine use and its seemed possible but maybe I am just grasping at straws. I am off the Creatine now but wondered if anyone had any insight to this cramp-creating link.


Cheers in advance.

Almost 50 years young - was about 340lbs, now about 180 lbs and just started running for the first time in 28 years

Started the c25k dec 2011 and will move onto b210k once I have completed it

First 5k booked for 18th March 2012 - Malaga Spain

First 10k booked for May 27th 2012 - London UK

Super Buff Bob

  • danhouse1 Amateur 8 posts since
    Jan 16, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Feb 27, 2012 6:32 AM (in response to superbuffbob)
    Calf Pain - new runner - Possibility Creatine ?

    Have you been weight training? And possibly have overly developed calves, which has shortened and tightened the muscles.? Have you been running down hill?


    I'd say you need to stay on level, even surfaces for now, and stretch every day. What you are describing is common problem and may have nothing to do with a supplement..

  • skypilot77 Legend 1,077 posts since
    Dec 16, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Feb 27, 2012 7:03 AM (in response to superbuffbob)
    Calf Pain - new runner - Possibility Creatine ?

    I do not know your activity level prior to starting the c25k but I suspect this has something to do with the legs rebelling against the added activiy level.


    This may have more to do with your stride while running than anything else. Faster turn-over of the feet is preferable than extending the stride.


    My suggestion is take a week off and see if there is improvement. Try shorter strides and turn your feet a little faster and see if the soreness continues.


    I know nothing about creatine, admittedly. But this sounds like normal stuff runners put up with as they learn how to run.

  • freudandbeck Amateur 8 posts since
    Jun 23, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Feb 28, 2012 12:46 PM (in response to superbuffbob)
    Calf Pain - new runner - Possibility Creatine ?

    Any swelling of the leg and/or does the pain in the back of the calf occur when you lift your toes upward?  Be careful of deep vein thrombosis. Men 30 years of age or older sometimes begin to experience this issue when they become more active. It is potentially fatal if you form a clot and move it into the lungs with exercise. I don;t mean to scare you, because it could very well be something else, but it is worth considering just to be on the safe side. Consult your physician if the pain lingers when you are not running and/or if you notice any swelling.

    The Whole is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts

  • Nathaniel Barber Rookie 2 posts since
    Mar 27, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Feb 29, 2012 1:56 PM (in response to superbuffbob)
    Calf Pain - new runner - Possibility Creatine ?

    Superbuff, I believe I can confirm that it's the creatine with about 99% certainty.   Not to say that the cause/effect association between creatine and cramping isn't without controversy, but I wonder how much of the "controversy" is contived so as create doubt about whether their truly is an association.  At least I'm not cynical ...    But my experience is very similar to yours.  About 10 years ago I tried creatine and suffered exactly the same symptoms.  After starting the creatine, when I'd go on a run I'd start to feel a vague tightness developing in the lower part of my calf by the 1/2 mile mark.  By the time I was 3/4 of a mile out, both calves calf were rock hard and every step was painful.  Yeah, I agree that I felt like the soleus.  Then I'd walk for a while and try to work off the cramp, and it would feel OK when walking, so I'd try to start up again.  But within a few strides, wham, it was back .  If I persisted in trying to run, the tightness would move right on up the leg, to the quads and hams.  I had to walk back home more than once.  Then I did some online research and found a forum in which people were reporting adverse effects of creatine and severe muscle cramps was a complaint that appeared over and over.  It might be possible to alleviate the cramping without stopping the creatine if you increase your fluid intake: 


    "Creatine supplementation often causes weight gain that can be mistaken for increase in muscle mass. Increasing intracellular creatine may cause an osmotic influx of water into the cell because creatine is an osmotically active substance [10]. It is possible that the weight gained is water retention and not increased muscle.The retention of water may be connected to reports of muscle cramps, dehydration, and heat intolerance when taking creatine supplements.It would be prudent to encourage proper hydration for creatine users. Further research is needed to investigate these and other possible side effects." 


    But if you increase your fluids, be aware that excess fluids pose their own risks -- like hyponutremia, and that is definitely a devil you don't want to dance with.  So I just stopped taking the creatine.  Within a couple of days I was back to normal;  5-6-7 mile runs, good pace, no cramping.  My advice?  Throw it out.  Eat a good diet with healthy protein.  And I also agree with most of the other advice in this thread just because it's fairly good advice in general:  stretch (after warming up); don't extend you're stride in front thus causing you to heel-strike -- shorten your stride so that you're landing on your mid or forefoot and your foot fall is directly under your center of gravity; and consult your doctor, just in case.  

    Generally, as long as you feed them a healthy diet, humans don't need supplements like creatine. 

    Good luck.

  • Nathaniel Barber Rookie 2 posts since
    Mar 27, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Mar 2, 2012 2:54 PM (in response to superbuffbob)
    Calf Pain - new runner - Possibility Creatine ?

    Mr. Super, I've been thinking of trying out some calf compression sleeves myself.  I'll be interested to read your posts about your experience with them.  Good luck out there in that 5K! Or should I say, mucha suerte!   Congrats on the great progress you've made with your health and as a runner.  Keep it up! 

    Best wishes from the other side of The Pond.

    Nat (yes, a he).

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