Running off a calf injury
Updated: Mar 20, 2019
Is it time to tune into your feet and big toes?
Our physiotherapist, Claire Slater – Gallon, runs us through the the what, why and how to managing calf injuries.
Spring has sprung and it feels like a particularly busy time of year for running events especially in and around our area of St Margaret’s.
Maybe you are in the final stages of training for the big one….or like us just a regular Park Runner who just wants to see a bit of improvement in our times now the better weather is here…we all need to keep ourselves safe from injury and address any niggles before they become debilitating problems.
It is around this time of year that at The Training Works in St Margaret’s we start to get an influx of patients complaining of running injuries such as, Achilles strains, calf tears, hip flexor pain or plantar fasciitis. There’s a very familiar story that comes with the injury, normally beginning with, ‘I am training for a half marathon, or a 10km, or a marathon and after my long run I felt a twinge in my calf, hip, or knee…etc.
There is often a fear amongst our patients that we will suggest they stop running, which is rarely the case. We may, however, ask you to vary your training or slow down for a short period of time.
Calf injuries such as Achilles tendonitis, calf tear/strain, achilles rupture are common injuries related to physical activity, the cause is often due to overuse. Overuse simply means that the load going through the calf is too great for it to withhold, your brain therefore prepares to protect it, this protection comes in the form of pain and reduced movement, no actual injury has to occur for these two things to happen. If the force is so great, then injury and damage to the tissues may occur, his is much more rare so there’s no need to panic.
Pain does not mean you are not training correctly but it could mean that you need to listen to the pain and work out what your body needs. Your calf muscles are one area that might need attention they are hugely important especially for running. Pain is a form of protection, its what is meant to happen to help us navigate through training, it is not something to fear or feel downhearted, however this is easier said than done.
Your calf muscles are your power houses for running, they provide a huge amount of the power needed to propel you forwards. The calf muscles known as gastrocnemius and soleus are huge muscles located at the back of the lower leg. The gastrocnemius has two powerful muscles bellies and then continue down to blend into the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is one of the most powerful tendons in the body. Together they like to walk, run and jump and these actions should form part of your training programme.
Your training programme should include feet and calf exercises, such as toe yoga, heels raises, jumps and hops. In reality a lot of your strength routine probably already includes calf and feet exercises without you realising, for example squats and lunges will definitely target muscles in your lower leg.
At The Training Works we would teach you to be more specific and ‘tune’ into your feet and big toes as you move, it may sound strange but just having an increased awareness about how much or little your feet are contributing to your movements can make a big difference to your training.
Our advice is ask your osteopath, physiotherapist or yoga teacher to show you ways to connect with your feet and calf muscles more during your training and running, especially if you are training for an up and coming running event this Spring.
And finally wishing you all the best with whatever race/time/distance you are aiming for… we are here to help ease you over the finishing line.
Runthrough Wimbledon Half Marathon
7th April 2019 / Roehampton Vale, London
Putney & Fulham Half Marathon
14th April 2019 / Putney
Virgin Money London Marathon
28th April 2019 / London Marathon
Our local Park Runs
Bushy Park http://www.parkrun.org.uk/bushy/
Richmond Park http://www.parkrun.org.uk/richmond/
Old Deer Park http://www.parkrun.org.uk/olddeerpark/
Crane Park http://www.parkrun.org.uk/crane/
Starting training now for….
Richmond RunFest – 5km, Kew 10km, Half and Full Marathons plus Sunday Family Mile, Saturday Kids Mile