You are here:

Repetitive Strain Injury/Plantar fasciia/repeated calf strains


Dear Julie ,
I'm desperate for someone to fix me ! I have run since I was 12 - now 42 and have never had any issues...
16 months ago I began triathlon and love it. Running was my strongest discipline.
12 months ago I began signs of plantar fascia irritation in my right foot - had localized physio and foot taping that got me to the end of the season. I rested it to no avail . More physio and stretching prescribed - I could still run but both my calf muscles - where the Achilles meets the gastroc and soleus would ache really badly - sometimes until 30 minutes of running and then mildly decrease.
I began tri training again last September and when trying to run at a hard pace I tore my left calf . Rested two weeks, localized physio treatment and then first run session back I 'popped' the exact same leg same place. Rested again - it was even painful to walk .
Saw the chiropractor - immediate relief from the pain - was able to run/jog for 3 weeks. Then I had numb feet and really achy calves - same place in both legs as mentioned above . I was also seeing a different physio then. Y trainer referred me to the squad physio who dry needled the area which felt stronger but still ached badly when I ran.
I did a tri race last weekend and without warning popped the calf muscle in my right leg ! I couldn't walk!
So I'm really crying for help or a signpost as to where I could go next - the original plantar fascia is still there but is not that painful in daily life. If I press in the middle of my heel it is tender. After three physios the chiropractor and I have had calf massage and even Bowen therapy !! Which if I may add- I could not walk when I went in but could walk pain free afterwards ??! I am booked in now to see a recommended osteopath this weekend.
Any help or comment is welcomed - I'm desperate !!

Hi Sarah,

As you suspected, you have a repetitive strain injury of the muscles of your calf, but it is more involved than that.  I’ve been working with athletes for 25 years and I have found that when an athlete is having calf issues it actually is caused by a pelvis rotation that is ultimately putting pressure on the sciatic nerve.  It will be a lot easier to explain this if you would first go to and read the sections titled “Muscles and Pain” and “What’s Happening Exactly.”  Then if you read you can see the connection between all of the muscles that have an impact on your pelvis, and by extension to your calf and foot.  

Let’s start with the plantar fasciitis.  Everyone pays attention to the foot itself, but the actual problem is coming from the muscles of the lower leg:
1.   Your tibialis anterior (front of your lower leg, to the outside of your shin bone) inserts into the inside of your arch, along the first metatarsal (bone that connects to your big toe).  When this muscle contracts it lifts the inside of your foot off the ground.  
2.   Your peroneals are on the very outside of your lower leg and the tendons insert on the outside of your foot (fifth metatarsal) AND on the first metatarsal (alongside the tibialis anterior tendon).  When the peroneals contract they pull your foot up on the outside so you roll in toward your big toe.
3.   Your calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) insert into your heel and pull it up so you stand up on your toes.

You can see that these muscles are pulling your foot in three different directions, each of them putting a strain on your arch.  You feel the pain in your arch, just as you would feel pain in your scalp if you were pulling your hair on both sides and the front of your head.  Even though this is where you are feeling the pain, it’s NOT where you need to be releasing the tension.

After you have read all of the mentioned information, please feel free to return and we can discuss this further if you haven't already found your solution. But, I feel certain you will as the thousands (literally) others have been able to find and release the spasms causing this long list of problems.

Wishing you well,
   Julie Donnelly

Repetitive Strain Injury

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Julie Donnelly, LMT


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!


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.

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

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: and I currently treat people in my offices in Sarasota, FL, Cary, NC, or Pearl River, NY

©2016 All rights reserved.