I mentioned earlier this week that I had some pain in my right calf. It mainly felt tight and after a warm up would go away for the most part. Until Monday. I was out doing some intervals, and my calf never fully warmed up. And then it just started hurting so bad while I was running that I had to limp back to my car without completing my run.
So, of course, I googled. What could the issue be? I ruled out Achilles tendinitis. And I didn’t think it was a strain of the the larger calf muscle, the gastrocnemius. It was further down on my leg, a few inches above my ankle. What seemed to fit was the strain of a muscle I had never even heard of before, the soleus.
Let me take a minute here to say that I am not a doctor. I don’t know for sure if what I have is a soleus strain. It just seems to make sense to me. Take this handy PDF that explains the differences between strains of the two main calf muscles: “Soleus strains…often present as a tightening over days or weeks. They can also feel like soreness that gets worse whilst running and eventually causes the athlete to stop running, either during that run or subsequent runs.” That sounds exactly like my problem.
Basically, whenever my knee is bent and weight is transferred to that leg is when it hurts. I confirmed this by trying some single leg bent knee calf raises. They are no problem on my left leg but on my right leg make me wince. Navigating stairs hurt, especially going down stairs.
The solution is the typical RICE advice: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. I’m taking a week off from running, icing my leg (most) every day, and elevating as much as I can. It’s also completely wrapped up in athletic tape right now. Also, ibuprofen is nice, but I don’t want it to fool me into thinking my leg is better when it actually isn’t, so I take it sparingly. So my next weekly report will be pretty sparse, and I guess I need to include these calf raises in my normal daily stretches from now on.