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What To Do When A Muscle Goes ‘Twang!’

December 2, 2008

If you are a runner then you will at some point strain a muscle.  I did today. I didn’t expect it, and I didn’t feel it straight away. I blew a calf muscle, whcih is very common for runners. Of all the requests for “what should I do now?” that I get as a run coachmost of them are for calf strains.

I have spent a lot of money getting myself back on the road just before a major race and have built up a fairly good knowledge of what to do [with my body].

[Note: this does not constitute authoritative advice, only what I have found does the trick.Compare this to your own info and if you have a bad injury always see a physio.]

Here’s my plan of attack when I blow a calf muscle:

  1. Stop running straight away and get home a.s.a.p. so that you can ice it.
  2. I have a flexible ice pack and an elastic bandage ready always so that I can strap on the ice pack for 20-20minutes.
  3. Ice 3-4 times during the first day, try and stay off feet if you can.
  4. Wait for the pain[and any swelling] to go down, whilst you keep on icing. This should take about 3 days.
  5. Once the pain has gone you can start stretching and massaging.
  6. Always massage in the direction of your heart.
  7. The reason you must stretch and massage is to break up the scar tissue that initially helped knit your muscle back together.Once it has done that it needs to go.
  8. Start exercising again by walking first, then light jogging, eventually increasing back to full training. Don’t rush it or you will find yourself back at square one and with serious cabin fever!

Here’s a video on how to do calf stretches:

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