Thread: Side Calf Muscle Pain
07-27-2011, 01:30 PM #1
Side Calf Muscle Pain
I've been running for a month now and EVERY freaking time I run the side of my left leg between my knee and my ankle starts to hurt - it's almost like a muscle cramp feeling.
I searched these forums and searched online and thought dehydration (from using creatine - I lift on alternate days) could be a problem so I upped my water intake a LOT. I've also increased the amount of stretching that I do and focused on shin stretches and calf stretches.
I even changed what I do as far as warm ups (I run on a local high school track after work) - I stretch, walk a lap, stretch, walk a lap, stretch, then do my run/walk/run/walk routine (run the straights, walk the turns) for 2 miles - then another half mile walk for a cool-down, then stretch again.
But it NEVER fails that my left leg gets that cramped/painful feeling after about half a mile. Stopping and stretching during my run/walk sessions helps alleviate some of that immediate pain; but not all of it. The only thing that stops it completely is sitting down.
I just got brand new running shoes from a running specialty store a few weeks ago where they watched me walk and fitted me - so shoes aren't the problem. This is really starting to get annoying because I could RUN for a lot longer if it weren't for this annoying pain - my run/walk routine is getting too easy already. The elliptical at the gym just isn't cutting it anymore for cardio and the police academy requires running, not elliptical use.
Anyone else have this problem and found a solution? I really hesitate going to the doctor for this because it seems like a really stupid problem to be having, but I will if I have to.“Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.” ―Joe Clark
07-27-2011, 11:28 PM #2
- Join Date
- May 2011
Here's an off the wall question, is the track level? I ran on a track set up at the local YMCA and the small amount of banking that they had on the entire thing gave me horrible shin splints no matter what I did. Have you tried running anywhere other than the local track?
07-28-2011, 02:19 AM #3
07-28-2011, 02:21 AM #4Originally Posted by jj2260
I've tried running on a treadmill and I have the same problem...“Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.” ―Joe Clark
07-28-2011, 10:39 AM #5
I would get similar pains when I first started running... they eventually stopped. it could be those particular muscles are getting used to running. Now, I always walk for the first 5 minutes before I run for any duration to get the blood flowing. You are doing an awful lot of stretching during your routine. Try doing a light stretch before you get moving, and walk it for a couple of laps and then get up to a run. Some articles I have read suggest wearing a pair of compression socks afterwards to help with muscle recovery.
07-29-2011, 10:36 AM #6
I think I know what's going on now....
After doing some more research on the internet and finding "exertional compartment syndrome" http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/cy...iorcompart.htm and starting to panic because SURGERY is pretty much the only good solution, I went to the track again after work last night...
When I went to the track last night, I tried walking the entire time (2 miles), and my leg started to hurt again even after a mile or so. I even tried walking counter-clockwise on the track to see if the slant from the water runoff was the problem. It wasn't.
I figured all hope was lost and I was going to need to make an appointment with a doctor and face the inevitable.
So I started thinking - and I paid attention to how my foot is landing when I walk. Turns out - the side of my left foot is hitting the pavement first and that movement is causing the pain. When I went to stretch, my leg started to spasm. So when I got home I looked at the different variations of foot-landings - and I found "under-pronation."
Turns out - I may need to get BETTER shoes and some insoles. Hopefully, that's all it is. I may just need to buy another pair of shoes - possibly wear 2 different shoes (one for my left foot, one for my right) and possibly have a custom insole for my left foot. I'm going to go to the running store today and tell them what I found out and see what they suggest. Meanwhile, my wife works at a surgeons office so she is going to talk to the surgeon and see what he suggests.
I will update on here with the results. Hopefully, I can help someone else having this problem! Thanks for the help!“Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.” ―Joe Clark
07-29-2011, 12:22 PM #7
you should have already gone to a running store to get your run evaluated. Could very well be a pronation issue. Hope you find that shoes make the difference. The last thing I would ever want to consider is surgery. Good luck.
07-29-2011, 07:50 PM #8
Turns out it very well may be the shoes - and the salesman apologized for the mistake - everything, including the computer modeling program, shows that I should be wearing the shoes I have; but when I tried on the other kind the my leg felt 1000% better...
Hopefully, this solves the problem...“Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.” ―Joe Clark
07-30-2011, 11:09 AM #9
Yeah, it's pretty sad and I'm pretty pi**ed that I spent good money on a top of the line running shoe to find out it was the wrong kind...
I'm going in to talk to the manager today to see what they can do for me because they are a professional running store (where they have a reputation to uphold) and the salesman obviously messed up so I'd be stuck with a pair of useless running shoes that are only a few weeks old...hopefully, they'll do an even exchange or something for them...“Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.” ―Joe Clark
08-07-2011, 02:21 PM #10
For those of you who are having the same issue(s) - if stretching and shoes don't improve the problem - GO TO A DOCTOR!!!!
My problem didn't improve with new shoes, different shoes, hydration, or stretches, or even a different routine. I finally went to the doctor and he sent me to a specialist who gave me a short list of possibilities that it could be - all of which will ONLY be corrected by going to a doctor - and a list of tests I will need to have done to figure it out.
If only to save anyone from doing permanent damage to themselves - I will post the results of the tests and the diagnosis when I find out - I don't want anyone trying to 'fight through' the pain and end up doing irreversible damage which the doctor said very well could have happened if I kept trying to self-diagnose...“Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.” ―Joe Clark
08-07-2011, 03:27 PM #11
- Join Date
- Aug 2000
- Chicago, IL, USA
It seems to me that you should probably consult a physician.
Have you checked the possibility that one of your legs may be a bit longer than the other?
It's not very uncommon, and it can cause you to make compensatory muscular adjustment, when walking and especially when running.
That can put stress on the peroneal nerve. That stress can result in insufficient activation of the anterior tibialis muscle (the long muscle on the outside of your shin). That in turn can produce a failure to lift the foot sufficiently on each step, and that can produce pain. Of course proper diagnosis requires proper and competent examination and consultation.
You can self-check the function of the peroneal nerve by sitting in a chair and raising your toes so as to move the foot upward at the ankle joint. If one of your feet doesn't rise with the same facility as the other there could be a problem with that nerve (or with the sciatic nerve). You can also check by palpation for comparitive numbness in the area. Squeeze your fingers along the outside of your calf to do that. Please understand that the nociceptive (pain-sensing) neural pathway is somewhat distinct from, although connected to, the tactile so it's possible to sense pain while also feeling some numbness.
If you do detect a neural problem in the area you can do a simple exercise that won't hurt you even if it doesn't help. While sitting in a chair raise your affected foot (the heel can be on the floor) and hold it it raised for 10-20 seconds. Do that 10 times inside of 5 minutes. Follow that procedure 10 or more times a day for a month or so.
Best wishes to you and I hope you get past this.
Last edited by Monty Ealerman; 08-07-2011 at 03:37 PM.
08-07-2011, 11:16 PM #12
It could be shin splints. I had very severe shin splints (see: fractures) in high school and still do sometimes.
I never had them in only 1 leg, and there were other pains besides the outside of my shins, but that was one of the worst areas.
Do lots of slow, steady stretching AFTER your run, and try icing.
Also, try running on the grass and see if it gets any better.
Most importantly, consult a physician, because I surely am not one.
08-08-2011, 04:06 PM #13
Who would have thought that running would be such a problem?
I NEVER had a problem with running before I got a job where I sat for 8-16 hours a day for the last 5 years. Up until 2006 - I was never this sedentary. I have never had a problem skating, biking, or using the elliptical over the past 5 years though - it's only when I try to run or walk fast - which is the most dumbfounding part.
Lets hope the tests show something that can be expeditiously corrected.“Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.” ―Joe Clark
08-08-2011, 05:31 PM #14
- Join Date
- Aug 2000
- Chicago, IL, USA
Last edited by Monty Ealerman; 08-08-2011 at 05:39 PM.
08-08-2011, 11:22 PM #15
- Join Date
- Jul 2011
I recently started feeling pain in my shins, it was not that bad at first but it got worse. I had great running shoes, I used to strech, drink water and etc. Well the pain increased and it felt more like the bone was hurting other than the muscle and I had to stop my 3 mile runs. It took almost three weeks for me to heal and now I just started running but only for about a mile or two. During this time I researched and asked around how to make the pain stop because I need to train on my running and certain things did help but time played major role in it (although I am fully not recovered yet). It sounds like you have a similar problem so here is my advice. I noticed that once I run if I put my foot in a certain direction for example straight or curved to the side it effected my pain. So maybe you should see which direction you put your foot on the floor and what feels more comftorable. I also took some Ibuprofen about twice and it helped. I would also strech A LOT and put ice patches a few times on that area of the leg for about 20 minutes, about two or three times each day. I also used this cream called Aspercream Heat ( which is really not heat it actually feels cool) its a pain relieving gel they sell it at Wally world and similar stores. Also streching by standing on your feet and picking your toes up in the air while balancing on the heel of your foot. All of this helped me, so my advice is take time off and let your leg heal the more you run you're just going to put more pressure on it and cause more damage. I believe this is caused by not streching enough, hard surfaces and long distances. Once you start running again build your distance little by little so your legs can get used to it. Jumping to where you stopped will probably cause it to hurt again. Mine still hurts but I can run with it and I feel that it is going away and it is not nearly as bad as it was. Good Luck I hope it heals because I know its a pain.
Last edited by MsCMPD; 08-08-2011 at 11:24 PM.
08-12-2011, 09:52 AM #16
Ok - got an update...
So far the doctor has ruled out: blood clots, stress fracture(s), and pinched nerves/any nerve problems. Today, I go for an MRI to test for "Intramuscular Hemangioma" due to a birthmark I've had on my leg; which is, coincidentally, the leg I'm having the problem in. Two different doctors have suggested this is the cause of the problem and they say it isn't as rare as I think it is; although I've NEVER heard of it before. The only other thing it could be is "Exertional Compartment Syndrome" or just "Compartment Syndrome" - which the doctor is setting up a test which involves exercising until the pain starts and then testing the pressure in the muscle compartments in my leg.
Anyway - just figured I'd post an update because who knows who might also be suffering from pain that could benefit from this information. I'll post information as soon as I have a diagnosis and a solution to the problem; if only to help others having a similar problem.“Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.” ―Joe Clark
08-19-2011, 07:26 PM #17
- Join Date
- Aug 2000
- Chicago, IL, USA
although I've NEVER heard of it before. The only other thing it could be is "Exertional Compartment Syndrome" or just "Compartment Syndrome" - which the doctor is setting up a test which involves exercising until the pain starts and then testing the pressure in the muscle compartments in my leg.
Anyway - just figured I'd post an update because who knows who might also be suffering from pain that could benefit from this information. I'll post information as soon as I have a diagnosis and a solution to the problem; if only to help others having a similar problem.
09-04-2011, 10:25 AM #18
Ok, here's an update:
The MRI ruled out the Hemangioma. Everything was normal. The doctor sent me to do a pressure test and I scheduled one for the wrong doctor - a Vascular Surgeon - who did a vascular pressure test on my legs. He did find an abnormality in the pressure results and wants to see me again. So we'll see where that leads.
I went and saw another sports medicine doctor who can perform the muscular pressure test and I have one scheduled for the end of the month. He stated that the pain I'm experiencing and the location describes about 95% of Exertional Compartment Syndrome cases. However, the test sounds extremely painful and complicated (Yay, needles!!) and after the test the only real solution is surgery. But, at least I'm this much closer to finding out what exactly it is and getting it fixed!“Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.” ―Joe Clark
09-04-2011, 10:43 AM #19
If the pain only happens when doing long distance running, why not change to some other form of excersize, like bike riding? I used to do a lot of jogging, 8 miles was normal, but I wonder if human joints were meant for that kind of continuous pounding.
09-04-2011, 11:06 AM #20“Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.” ―Joe Clark
09-04-2011, 11:15 AM #21
But how often do you actually need to run? Don't you just do a required test every now and then? Seems like if you were in shape you could run. Sorta like the old doctor joke "Doc, it hurts when I do this". "Well, don't do that."
09-04-2011, 01:58 PM #22
I'm no where near the shape I want to be in right now. It seems sitting on my a** in dispatch for the last 5 years (my fault entirely) has wrecked everything I did for the 25 years prior to that.“Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.” ―Joe Clark
09-19-2011, 12:53 PM #23
The doctor sent me to do a pressure test and I scheduled one for the wrong doctor - a Vascular Surgeon - who did a vascular pressure test on my legs. He did find an abnormality in the pressure results and wants to see me again. So we'll see where that leads.
Here's a link for an explanation: http://www.livestrong.com/article/18...ment-symptoms/
I had to go to a Vascular Surgeon for the correct diagnosis and have a CT scan to diagnose it. I have one more test which involves injecting dye into my artery in my legs and watching the path before he can schedule surgery, but I FINALLY have an answer. Thank GOD I went back to him before having the extremely painful and risky muscular compression test with the Sports Medicine Doctor because it would have been a complete waste of time, money, and pain.
Like I said before - if this helps even ONE PERSON then posting it was worth the time. Hopefully, this last test will change it from 99.9% to 100% and we can schedule surgery to correct it and I can be back on my way to going to the police academy!“Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.” ―Joe Clark
09-19-2011, 09:47 PM #24
The compartment syndrome test was not that bad. I had it for my forearms.
M-11“All men dream...... But not equally..
Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it is vanity;
but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men,
for they act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible.....”
10-18-2011, 09:14 AM #25
Aortogram confirmed it - surgery scheduled for this upcoming Thursday.
If I push myself in physical therapy, I can get back to running in a month or so.“Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.” ―Joe Clark