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Jogging & Running/Can running in compressions socks cause calf strain


Hi Nick,

Me again.  (:  Hey, so you gave me advice on healing my TFL tear, which has not flared up at all and also gave me advice on a calf strain.

I had been doing great with the calf strain and just got back up to 10 miles on my Saturday runs (2 months post calf strain).  My runs were good - - feeling energetic and pain-free, excluding a little Achilles tenderness in the opposite leg (ongoing for about two weeks).  It was tender if I pressed on it (holding it between my fingers) and somewhat irritated when I ran (not painful). I guessed that it was probably from compensating.  

Just before doing my third Saturday 10-mile run post-calf strain, I emailed my sports doc about the tender Achilles.  He suggested I wear compression socks when I ran.  So, I wore compression socks for the first time this past Saturday.  I ran 10 miles, but my body felt a little tired for the first time.  Was surprised because I thought the socks were supposed to energize your legs.  Well anyway, had enough energy left at the end of the run to accelerate the last half mile or so (as I had been doing since I began feeling healed).  I stretched a little,  went home, ate, and sat around in the socks for about an hour before I took them off.  After I showered and was leaving for the grocery store, about five steps down from my doorway, I felt a twinge of pain in my calf.  Walked to the second set of stairs and felt it again, stronger, and I ended up having to limp through the grocery store with a very mild calf strain.

My question is, is there any possibility the socks could have brought this on?  This is the only thing I changed since my calf had recovered.  

On a side note, I went back to the doctor on Monday, after the re-injury on the weekend run.  The doc couldn't tell me why it happened, but said my knees were out of alignment and did an adjustment.  Said I should be fine to run a couple miles this Saturday.  (Kind of annoyed that I have no definitive reason why it happened, so I can correct the problem.)

Anyway, I am pretty much pain free now.  I've been spinning all week instead of running and was going to try a 2 mile run Saturday just to test the calf.  I'm wearing the socks now at work, because I heard that it helps healing, but after running in them and having a strain reoccur, I'm afraid to wear them while I'm running.  I had been running in KT tape prior to getting the socks without occurrence.  BTW, my doc also said not to stretch during healing or after.  He's an advocate for dynamic stretching, which I normally do before I run.  I've decided to stop doing static stretching altogether.  

I have no pain now in my calf now, would it be okay to roll it (it's been 5 days)?

Opinion?  Is it possible the socks could have been the culprit prompting the reinjury?  

Thanks Nick.  I really appreciate your advice! (;

Hello again. I'm sorry to hear of the strain. I'll give quick answers and then a more in depth one.  

Rolling will be fine as long as you don't cause an increase in pain.

The only way the socks caused your calf strain is if you ran differently because of them. This is a possibility, but not a high one.

The compression socks are designed to increase the pressure in the interstitial space which causes an increase in pressure in the veins so they don't which leads to an easier time for the blood to get back up to your heart. This may have caused your legs to fatigue via blood leaving your legs faster; it may have caused you to have an extra "spring" in your step which would cause you to fatigue faster; or it may just be coincidence.

Here's my advice.

1) Find an ankle movement that hurts.
2) Find an ankle movement that after doing it 30 times lessens the ankle movement that hurts.

For instance maybe sitting and bringing your heel off the ground hurts (seated calf raise). If after leaving your heel on the ground and bringing the ball of your feet off the ground 30 times you bring your heel off the ground (seated calf raise) and it doesn't hurt then you've found an exercise that you should do a lot.

Don't focus on what is out of alignment. Focus on movements that reduce pain. That's your body telling you that those movements will help you get better.  

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Nick Rainey


I can answer questions about pain and training program. If there is a question about running that I don't know then I'll do some research and make sure I provide you with an answer.


I'm a Doctor of Physical Therapy. I'm a track and cross country coach. I train clients throughout the year. I've helped prepare athletes for their NFL Pro Days. I've written articles on running. Finally, those that I work with have less pain and run faster.

American Physical Therapy Association- Sports Section

The 6 Week Workout Program- I'm the author of this book Research Made Simple for Physical Therapists- I'm the author of this Kindle book

Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Doctor of Physical Therapy BS in Exercise Science NSCA- CSCS and CPT USA Weightlifting Level I NPI- Certified Posture Specialist Total Motion Release Level II Certified Dry Needling

Awards and Honors
National Posture Institute's International Perfect Posture of the Year Award 2011 Clinical Excellence Award- Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions Aegis Therapies Scholarship recipient

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