Pain on outside of left calf muscle

Discussion in 'Ask the Docs' started by PatrickGSR94, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. PatrickGSR94 Barefooters
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    I will try to explain this in the best detail that I can.

    I have been walking and running barefoot for several months now (still mostly just walking). I have had sore calves from time to time, but now I have this annoying pain on the outer side of my left leg that I can't seem to shake, sort of half-way in between the knee and ankle. It's been continuous for 3-4 weeks now. Sometimes it's barely noticeable, but other times it seems like I can barely walk.

    Most of the time, if it's just a normal day around the house or office, I can walk normally with no pain. I really only experience the pain if there's any kind of pressure on the area of my left leg. An example is crossing my left leg up over my right knee, or if I'm on the bed or couch and my left leg hangs off the side. That's when I feel pain, and it's almost unbearable when the pressure is released (leg lifted up off of knee or couch, etc).

    Looking at this image, I believe it may be somewhere in the Plexor Digitorum Longus, along the left side of the lower leg:

    [IMG]

    If I try to run or even walk briskly as part of a workout, the pain will start to occur mainly during the part of the stride where my foot comes up off the ground behind me. I do not feel the pain when my foot comes down onto the ground or when weight is on it. After W1D3 of my E25K program on Thursday, this pain was bothering me. I took some Aleve on Friday and it was feeling better, but then I had to sprint across a busy intersection twice Friday evening while out shopping (wearing VFF's), and after that it felt like I could barely walk.

    At this point I feel like I should probably see a doctor, but not sure what type of doctor. I may just start with my regular Doc and go for my annual exam, which has no insurance co-pay, and then mention the problem while there. I'm really hoping it's not some kind of stress fracture or micro-fracture in any of the bones. However sometimes the pain does feel like it's coming from the bone, so I don't know.

    I'm guessing I need to take off from walking or running until I get this figured out.

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  2. Dr. Mark Barefooters

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    Patrick, As i always

    Patrick,



    As i always caution in these answers- it is hard to diagnose on line and impossible to tell you why the pain is there. There could be several causative issues.



    It sounds like it may be IT Band also...finding a good physical therapist, athletic trainer, or doc who undeerstands running is a great start point.



    you will figure it out.



    Mark

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  3. PatrickGSR94 Barefooters
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    Went to my regular doc for

    Went to my regular doc for annual exam, and asked about this issue. He pressed pretty hard on some areas of my calf muscle, but the problem is still there. He referred me to a physical therapist that I'm going to see on Tuesday.

    I did notice that I feel the pain more so in the middle on the outside of the Fibula bone. I was thinking it was more so in the muscle, but now I'm starting to suspect something to do with the bone, since the pain is there mainly when there is pressure on that bone, or in the muscles around that bone.

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  4. Dr. Gangemi_SockDoc Barefooters

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    Check out your peroneus

    Check out your peroneus longus muscle. It sounds like it's not happy and that will cause a pronation-supination imbalance. The p. longus starts at the fib head (outer lower leg bone) and goes down behind your outer ankle bone and then wraps under your foot attaching to the medial side, partly in the first metatarsal. I see this weakness a lot and the treatment is typically working out those trigger points in between the big toe and towards the bulk of your foot's main arch. Rub out any tender spots.

    When your foot comes off the ground - last part of gait cycle - is primarily supination so that's why I'd look at this muscle. And it will put a lot of pressure on your fibula, since it originates there.

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  5. PatrickGSR94 Barefooters
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    PT doc thinks it some kind of

    PT doc thinks it some kind of shin splints. I made the mistake of wearing my VFF's instead of regular office shoes, and of course got the standard lecture about how those shoes are horrible for running, no support or cushioning. blah blah blah.

    He also had the audacity to claim I have flat feet, despite my wet footprints showing only a narrow portion of the outside edge of my feet touching the ground when I walk. Then later when he got a better look at the soles of my feet, he said I have what he called a "flexible flat foot" in that I have a pronounced arch with no load on my feet, but then they flatten out when standing on them. Ummm isn't that how our feet are supposed to work anyway? At least he said he did not recommend any orthotics at this time.

    He did show me some good calf stretch positions I probably need to incorporate. Nevertheless, I do not think I will be returning to that doc.

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  6. NickW Guest

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    Be careful about the

    Be careful about the stretching Patrick. I had a calf injury that kept getting worse thanks to me being told to stretch. Kept tearing the fibers and so they would never heal, this went on for two months. I stopped stretching and within a week I was running again with zero pain and have had zero pain since. Sock Doc I know is really against stretching and so is TJ I think, and from my own personal experience I am too now. Good luck and I hope you heal quickly!
  7. Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    I am so against stretching an

    I am so against stretching an injury. As far as stretching before and after a run when you're healthy or just trying to strengthen the muscles and gain range of motion, the jury's still out for me, although what the Sock Doc says makes good sense to me. I was a gymnast, and I know that if I did not stretch before a workout or competition, I would have been in dire straights. I also believe that stretching helped me to be a stronger, better, more flexible gymnast. Sock Doc does agree with stretching for gymnasts and dancers, just not runners. I do know that for me, if I stretch before a run, I feel really tight, and it takes a long time for my calves to warm up and the tightness to go away.

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  8. PatrickGSR94 Barefooters
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    Well I went out walking BF

    Well I went out walking BF for a couple of miles today. After a short warm-up, I didn't really feel any pain in my left calf. Since I didn't feel any pain, I ran for a short distance 3 or 4 times during the walk. The most I felt was maybe a slight bit of soreness, and my left calf muscles felt a little tight, but no pain. Right calf felt perfectly fine the whole time.

    After finishing, though, the pain in the left calf, sort of on the back side but towards the left (outside) has come back, and the muscles still feel a little tight. Right calf still feels totally fine. At least at this point I can say it doesn't feel any worse than before.

    I have greatly increased my water intake over the past couple of weeks, and am currently on day 12 of zero soft drinks. I also take a multi-vitamin (generic Centrum) daily. So I'm pretty sure there aren't any hydration or vitamin deficiency issues.

    I rolled my left calf muscles last night on a thick 3" diameter cardboard tube, which of course has a harder surface than a foam roller. I'm not sure if I rolled it too much or not, I did it on and off for about 10 minutes total. Should I roll this muscle again this evening when I get home from work? Or should rolling be done immediately after running? Any thoughts or insight would be welcome.

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  9. Dr. Gangemi_SockDoc Barefooters

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    First - the rolling: the

    First - the rolling: the rolling - though this is better than holding a static stretch you really shouldn't have to always roll your muscles before or after any activity. That's no different than not figuring out why you always need to stretch a muscle - so that get's back into the Stop Stretching article. Check that out if you haven't read it.

    Second - your Adult Flinstone Vitamin. You call it Centrum. I tell patients they'd be healthier not taking a Centrum or GNC multi than taking one. They're crap. (can I say that on here? I did. Only if you sugarcoat it, Doc, as I did for you. See

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  10. Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    What about a prenatal vitamin

    What about a prenatal vitamin supplement, Dr. G.? Not that I'm pregnant or anything, just wondering. Hmmmm?

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  11. Dr. Gangemi_SockDoc Barefooters

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    Same with prenatals for the

    Same with prenatals for the most part. (not that I am saying anyone reading this souldn't not take one). The facts are that prenatals are just a multi with some more calcium, iron, and folate. The calcium is typically calcium carbonate (chalk) that isn't absorbed, the iron constipates the woman, and the folate is added in to hopefully prevent a midline lesion, such as heart problems and spina bifida, cleft palate. But those who have midline problems are actually shown to have folate metabolism problems where they cannot effectively metabolize folate into the active form (5MTHF), which you can only get in real whole food. So since 20% of the population cannot activate folate and 40% is said to activate it ineffectively, taking more synthetic folate typically does nothing. Most need to take the active 5MTHF form or get it in their diet.

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  12. PatrickGSR94 Barefooters
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    My wife had problems taking

    My wife had problems taking actual prenatal vitamins. So her OB/GYN said chewable Flinstones ones were fine.

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  13. Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Dr. Gangemi_SockDoc

    So THAT's why I was having such a hard time! And when I would tell my OB/GYNs, they would just look at me like I was stupid and "What do you want us to do about it?" Do you suppose they just don't have a clue?

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  14. Dr. Gangemi_SockDoc Barefooters

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    Flinstone prenatals? That's

    Flinstone prenatals? That's hilarious, and irresponsible at the same time. Maybe good if you want your kid to have some Bam-Bam or Pebbles genes; which might not be all that bad.

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  15. yallayalla Barefooters

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    Sounds like what I'm going through. How did you make out? Did you run while experiencing pain? I don't really have pain, just uncomfortable.
  16. PatrickGSR94 Barefooters
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    Haven't had any pain in at least 2 months now. It kinda just went away.

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  17. yallayalla Barefooters

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    So did you cut back on running? Keep on doing the same?
  18. PatrickGSR94 Barefooters
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    I cut back a little, but eventually it just seemed to fade away.

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  19. yallayalla Barefooters

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    I rolled it out using a ball last night, woke up to SEVERE pain- it felt like I sprained my ankle. Side of calf and front of leg both are in pain. What is the deal
  20. Dr. Gangemi_SockDoc Barefooters

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    Means you got a lot of tissue inflammation in the area and you aggravated it with the ball - too intense / deep could do it too.

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