Do your calves hurt when you run? Be aware that this type of pain may be caused by both a tendon problem and a muscle problem. But depending on the intensity and characteristics of your suffering, vascular complications can also be the cause. Find below the essentials of what you need to know about your calf pain during a run.
How do calf pain manifest itself
Generally, calf pain occurs depending on the origin of the problem.
Sudden and very intense pain
This is a stretch that manifests as sudden pain in the calf. Extremely intense, this feeling of discomfort and pain requires immediate cessation of activity. And although it is perceived as a classic cramp, it is rather a much more serious case because the muscle fibres are also involved.
Generally speaking, this strain does not require any specific medical treatment. After observation by ultrasound, the calf heals in less than 15 days and the disorder of the muscle tissue is repaired just with a permanent bandage and total rest of the lower limbs. To soothe the pain, alternate hot and cold water on the painful area.
Mild pain with progressive intensity
When your calf hurts and the pain intensifies as you advance in the race, you are facing a contraction. In this case, not only does the pain tend to worsen, but in addition, the painful region hardens.
A few stretching exercises are then necessary to relax the muscle and allow you to resume the race as quickly as possible. Otherwise, continuous pressure of the calf for about ten minutes is also effective in relieving pain.
Severe pain with the impression of tearing
When you have severe calf pain and at the same time you have this loose feeling, you have a muscle tear. In addition to a hematoma that appears within 15 minutes, the pain is also accompanied by difficulty walking.
Treating a muscle tear involves immobilizing the leg muscles with a bandage for at least two weeks. As for the normal resumption of running activities, rehabilitation of at least 1 month is essential to promote the healing of muscle fibres and limit the after-effects. It is often necessary to carry a cane so as not to overstress the leg in question.
Sudden pain when starting
When calf pain occurs aggressively as soon as you start running, it is a snap, in most cases. What characterizes this type of calf pain is that besides having a sudden pain, you also hear a clicking sound coming from the leg . From being a delicate muscle problem, the breakdown results in a total impossibility of walking.
To support the diagnosis, an MRI and an ultrasound are necessary to confirm the breakdown. Surgical intervention is then proposed for a quick and effective repair of the problem. As for the resumption of physical activities, this can only be done after 4 or 5 months.
Sudden and continuous pain
If at some point you experience severe calf pain and it does not go away for more than a quarter of an hour, it may be a loose muscle. For this purpose, the muscle tissue dissociates from its envelope and an effusion is observed between the two.
Although no lesion occurs at the site of the envelope and muscle fibres, complete healing is mandatory before the effective resumption of activities requiring excessive use of the feet. Otherwise, a re-peeling can take place after a significant effort.
To cure detachment, a bandage is necessary over a period divided between 2 and 5 weeks. However, other medical treatments may be prescribed in addition, depending on the extent of the posting.
Strong pain accompanied by tingling
This kind of pain mainly affects sturdy calves. It manifests as high blood pressure inside a compartment of the leg muscles. The calf is thus asphyxiated and the entire lower limb seems suddenly paralyzed. This is a disorder called “compartment syndrome”.
To avoid complications, it is necessary to stop walking or running, and then elevate the legs. Massages and stretching exercises are also needed to heal this trauma. However, depending on the condition of the calf, surgery is sometimes indicated to remove the muscle from its shackles.
Painful, sudden and involuntary constriction
Better known by the term “cramp”, this pain often requires stopping physical activity immediately. It can occur as a result of intense effort, but its origin can also be a magnesium deficiency, dehydration, or excessive smoking. Fortunately, the cramp in the calf is still mild and the consequences are non-existent.
If you have a cramp, just pull your toes forward or step on your heels to relax your muscles. In less than a minute, the pain should go away. To avoid recurrences, wearing recovery socks is strongly recommended the night after the incident.
Instant pain with sudden numb foot
It is especially the pains of vascular origin which cause this feeling of helplessness of the lower limbs. To be sure of the diagnosis, stopping physical activity is therefore recommended and an emergency consultation is essential.
Generally, a Doppler ultrasound is performed to examine the condition of the veins and arteries. A treatment will then be indicated according to the results of the examination. Note that when the entire calf is affected, it is very often a trapped popliteal artery.
Precautions to take in case of calf pain
Note that a vascular, bone, or neurological pathology should never be ruled out as soon as it involves feelings of discomfort and pain in the lower limbs. At the same time, calf pain can be of no big relevance , just as it can be serious. A medical consultation is therefore recommended in all cases, especially if the pain tends to intensify instead of decreasing.
- Repeated cramps are not always of muscle origin but may be a manifestation of a blocked artery.
- Pain with inflammation of the calf mean phlebitis or embolism
In addition to medical treatment and rehabilitation exercises, a healthy lifestyle is also mandatory to limit calf pain, especially in the event of significant physical exertion. For this, it is necessary to hydrate yourself properly, to far fruits and vegetables, to limit sugar and salt, and to avoid animal fat as much as possible.
Calf pain can also come from poor transport of de-oxygenated blood out of the lower legs. When the calf muscles are too “tired”, they do not contract properly for allowing that transport. This is where Compression sleeves and socks can help.