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Calf Injury

AndySimpsonAndySimpson Posts: 7
For background: I'm 49 and used to race on the road in my teens, early twenties. Trained intermittently during the intervening years, not to any great standard, but basically kept myself ticking over. In 2006 I was upping my training; going to the gym and riding increasingly on the road. Unfortunately, I suffered what initially felt like a groin strain, but after it didn't heal as quickly as expected, and after seeing a sports physio and my GP, it was diagnosed thru' a MRI as a labrum tear in my hip. One operation later and after many years of on and off training I'd got to a point of not being sure I'd train again as my hip was still fragile. However at the end of 2011 I started mountain biking, starting off with little ambition, but from slow starts and through most of 2013 I'd built up to doing 30+ mile rides, on and off road.
I was very cautious, not increasing intensity or distance too quickly, and warming up/down and stretching etc., to help my middle-aged body stay healthy ;)

Anyway in September 2013, I was increasing the difficulty, as my ambition was starting to grow ;). I was finding, however, that towards the end of longer rides, my quads and calves were beginning to cramp. I attempted to fix this by increasing my fluid and food I took in before and during, but it still happened. Anyway in mid-September '13, I planned a 26 mile loop, with a vague idea of doing 2 laps (I look back now and wonder why, after months of building my training so carefully, I was planning a jump from 38miles max to 52; crazy!) anyway at the end of the first loop, my legs were quite painful, and obviously the sensible thing to do was to cruise home and live to ride another day. Nope, I did the second loop, cramping badly towards the end.

I cruised the last mile, just pedalling in a low gear, then did my usual post ride routine. However, when I sat down, my calf cramped badly; I stretched it out, but the pain remained, getting worse over the next 48 hours.

After 4 weeks I saw a sports physio, who gave me excellent advice. But even so, and even after the intervening weeks and months of no training, physio exercises (using a physio roll) the injury remains. It had got to the point recently, that I couldn't feel anything under usual daily activities, so I tried (literally) 10 minutes on the turbo trainer, in a low gear, gently pedalling. It was fine initially, but after a week the calf feels very tight and quite sore.

Therefore... what advice could someone offer me? Especially on the following points:
Is 6 months an excessive time for it to heal?
Is my age a factor in that?
Is the tightness I felt after the last attempt at training, reason enough to stop training, or would regular attempts help, or would they cause more harm?
Physio roll stuff apart, are there any known treatments that could aid the recovery?

Sorry for such a long post :) It's all a bit frustrating; I've stopped bemoaning my lost fitness and now just miss riding my bike. Any help/advice VERY gratefully received!


  • ZingzangZingzang Posts: 196
    As far as I know, tears in your hip labrum (or any labrum) do not self-heal; they need surgical intervention. I'd suggest that if your hip is causing you pain again then more tearing may have taken place since you had your op and you may need another one.
    Another point. When you had your scan did you find out what condition your hip joint was in generally? Do you know the condition of the head of your femur and the socket? These might be expected to be showing some signs of deterioration even in a normal, i.e. non-athletic, 49 yr old.
  • Thanks Zingzang. Sorry I maybe wasn't clear; its the calf injury I did in September that's the problem, not the hip :)
  • MattMTBMattMTB Posts: 95
    My boss had a similar sounding cramping issue with his calf which was cured through acupuncture. He had three or four sessions over the course of ten days or so and the cramping completely disappeared and hasn't returned. It (allegedly) releases the tension in the muscle. Got to be worth a try? :)
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