Repetitive Strain Injury/Calf tear

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Question
Hello Julie,

I am feeling incredibly frustrated.  I have run for quite a long time, and about a year ago was 30 minutes into a run when my calf suddenly pulled.  It was incredibly strange - I was already warmed up, and well into the run, and the muscle just sort of popped.  I bruised on the back of my calf, and had a lot of trouble walking for a few days after that.  I let the injury heal for a few weeks, and then went back to running.  

As I ran those first days, I could slowly feel the calf beginning to tear again - it was the strangest thing.  At a certain point, the pain came back sufficiently that I once again stopped running.  The weird thing here is that I could rest and get the calf completely pain free, but running again immediately aggravated the calf, no matter how long I rested (sometimes up to 3 months).

I have now stopped running altogether, and am doing CrossFit, which has me in the best shape of my life.  A couple weeks ago, while doing box jumps, I pulled the calf again, out of the blue, 20+ minutes into the work out.  I rested, went back, and now can hardly do anything without re-injuring the calf.

This is seriously starting to get me down.  Rest doesn't seem to help, and neither does warming up - I am actually pullling the calf 20-30 minutes into my workouts.  Any suggestions you have would be deeply appreciated.

Best, Micah

Answer
Hi Micah,

It's interesting, I just spoke to another athlete who is also having chronic calf pain that keeps re-occurring.  For some reason, athletes who have tight muscles pulling on the front of the pelvis and causing pressure on the sciatic nerve, have chronic calf spasms.  I don't know why it rarely happens to non-athletes, but it very frequently happens to athletes.

The first thing I'd like to have you do is to go to http://www.julstro.com and read all about repetitive strain injuries.  Then go to http://forum.julstrointernational.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=762 and read about each of the muscles that will rotate your pelvis down in the front and up in the back.  It's more involved than that, but you'll understand as you read the thread.

You can find a massage therapist who knows how to do trigger point therapy, or you can learn how to do it yourself.  I like my clients to learn self-treatment so they can continue their therapy at home, and do it frequently which will get the muscle to relax quickly, as soon as it starts to get strained again.  Since you're an athlete, it will definitely go into spasm again, but if you know how to stop it, it won't cause problems in the future.

In either case, I think you'll be able to reverse this problem and get back to exercising without pain.

Wishing you well,
   Julie Donnelly

Repetitive Strain Injury

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Julie Donnelly, LMT

Expertise

I can accept questions that relate to chronic or acute pain caused by muscle spasms and contractions. Repetitive Strain Injury is actually Cumulative Trauma to muscles. Releasing the spasm &/or contraction will relieve the strain that is felt at the insertion point on the bone. I am the co-developer of the unique safe-stretching program "Focused Flexibility Training," which combines easy instruction for self-treating spasms throughout your body with proven yoga stretches. I have recently authored two new books: "The 15 Minute Back Pain Solution," and "The Secret to Your Best Golf Game EVER!

Experience

Since 1989 I have been working with endurance athletes and individuals suffering from chronic pain conditions. I have authored seven self-treatment books and three self-treatment DVDs and I have developed the Julstro System for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, Trigger Finger, and other Hand/Wrist pain. I am a national and international presenter at conventions, seminars, and workshops. Principle topics are "Work Shouldn't Hurt," and "The Pain Free Athlete." In 2005 and 2006 I was the massage therapist for ultracyclists competing in the Race Across America (RAAM) 3000+ mile race from San Diego, CA to Atlantic City, NJ. I've taught the Julstro techniques to physical therapists at the Cleveland Clinic, to massage therapists in areas around the USA, and I've taught Julstro self-treatment clinics to dancers at Juilliard School of Performing Arts (NYC),the sprinting team at NC State, and I am working closely with several Olympic-hopeful. We have successfully eliminated the repetitive strain injuries that could keep them out of the Olympic Games, and the best part is they know how to do the self-treatments so they can stay pain-free and flexible.

Publications
Triathlete Magazine, Endurance Magazine, multiple national and international trade journals.

Education/Credentials
Swedish Institute of Allied Health, NY, NY - Initial education in massage therapy Licensed NYS Massage Therapist since 1989. SUNY Empire State College, Saratoga Springs, NY - B.Sc. degree in Interdisciplinary Health Education I was an Associate Professor helping to develop the massage training program for SUNY Rockland Community College

Past/Present Clients
Privacy prevents me from filling in this section without prior consent from my clients. Life Experience: I have been specializing in the treatment of chronic pain and sports injuries since receiving my NY massage license in 1989. A personal bout with carpal tunnel syndrome was the catalyst to my developing a self-treatment that heals the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome quickly and without surgery. My work with endurance athletes was the inspiration to teach people how to self-treat so they could stop pains even during a race or heavy training day. Both of these situations ultimately became the products that are sold on my websites: http://www.FlexibleAthlete.com and http://www.julstro.com. I currently treat people in my offices in Sarasota, FL, Cary, NC, or Pearl River, NY

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