Evil shoes the culprit??

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by Joseph, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. Joseph

    Joseph Barefooters
    1. New Mexico

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    Hey all... Just wondering what you guys think. Everything has been going well with the running. I was up to 4 miles for a "long" run, running about 3 or 4 times a week, and all was well. I was even adding in a back to back run, though the day two run was very short, but everything was clicking pretty well. Then a week or two ago, I was on a run and my right calf tightened - BAD! Like a cramp, but not a cramp. So I walked home and rested for a few days. Tried again. This time my left calf tightened - BAD! Both times it was around the 2 mile mark, so not even close to pushing it distance wise or anything like that. This gave me great concern and I started analyzing (which is my way) everything to find out the problem.

    The only thing I came up with is that I switched my work shoes a couple weeks before the first attack. I went from 3 or 4 year old shoes with pretty much no support, to using my old ultra-supportive running shoes with about 100 miles on them (still plenty support left). I currently work in a bakery, so I am running around for 8 - 10 hour shifts, pretty much without a break, or much of one. So I thought that might be the problem?

    I switched a couple days ago to canvas shoes with no real support, and after that first day, I have to say my legs felt a difference, especially my lower leg and ankles. They felt more tired at the end of the shift then they had been. I ran 4 miles today, and even though my calves were getting a little tight, nothing severe happened.

    What do you think? Could those shoes have caused that in such a little time? Or is it something else?

    Thanks all!
     
  2. ajb422

    ajb422 Barefooters
    1. California...

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    So depending on where on your

    So depending on where on your calf you are talking about I had the same issue for awhile. Mine was lower than what I'd really consider my calf though. But a bit to high to be my "ankle". I found that walking in anything exacerbated my rather severe pains terribly. Including shoes I'd been fine with a few days before. I spent a couple months or so wearning nothing but huaraches, flipflops, ballet flat type shoes and taking those off whenever I had the chance. Eventually it went away and I can wear whatever I want again without it being a problem.
     
  3. Joseph

    Joseph Barefooters
    1. New Mexico

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    I would say it is mid-calf,

    I would say it is mid-calf, and mostly on the sides of the leg rather than directly in the back or meat of the calf. I don't know. I wear VFFs or go BF as much as possible, but I have to wear shoes at work. I am switching career paths soon, so the shoes won't be an issue in the near future, I'm just curious if the shoes could be the cause. At least I am able to switch to shoes with very little support in them... Legs feel pretty good right now, so I might try a short run tomorrow...
     
  4. Neil_D

    Neil_D Chapter Presidents
    1. Australia
    2. Presidents

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    Hi Joseph,I had exactly the

    Hi Joseph,

    I had exactly the same situation around 9 months ago where I had my left calf tighten when I was out on a run, I was at the furthest point on the run so I had to walk 6km back.

    I rested it for 2 weeks then gave it a test run, I ran 2km and it tightened again.

    I rested another week and tested it, 2 km and it tightened.

    After 4 weeks it fixed itself then on the very same run my right calf tightened. It was very frustrating.

    Now, what do I believe it was?

    My theory is this.

    It started off with form, not necessarily bad form but tense form. A tense muscle will be a fatigued muscle and more likely to tighten.

    I think in the run that started the problem I wasn't bending the knees enough and I was pushing off slightly. After that point the psychology part kicks in. Once you have an injury and try to get back to running your mind is focused on waiting for the pain to return and that in turn can cause the muscle to tense and then tighten and you are back at square 1.

    I went back to doing the Pose drills and that sorted the problem out, I cut out the miles for a few weeks and just did drills and small runs.

    In an interesting discussion on the board a while back about whether barefoot running would naturally make us run correct of if you had to learn to run, I maintain you have to learn and you have to have a good knowledge of what you are doing and why. If it wasn't the case then there would be nobody on the forum giving up their tales of woe and injury.

    The Pose running book has a good section on psychology and how our thoughts can cause injuries to occur and I believe this is very true. You have to focus only on the present, not on what might happen in the future or else you may end up sabotaging yourself.

    Regards



    Neil
     
  5. JosephTree

    JosephTree Barefooters
    1. Pennsylvania

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    I don't know, but the nearest

    I don't know, but the nearest I had to such discomfort / pain was based on what I think of as developmental adjustment which occured about 3 months into my start of BFR. I'd get out to 2 or 3 miles on a run and feel just miserable -lower legs both tight and throbbing. It wasn't bad enough for me to have to walk home. I could stop, stretch my calves with toe drops and such and knead the offending extremities. They would then relax enough to carry on.

    Strangely, I've been re-experiencing the lower calf misery just the last few runs as I'm weaning myself off the VFFs that I relied on to get out in the winter.

    Good luck!
     
  6. hmduey

    hmduey Barefooters
    1. Florida -...
    2. Florida -...

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    I had a similar problem when

    I had a similar problem when I transitioned out of shoes, and then when I transitioned back into them (only because I'm stuck in a boot, so I have to wear a correspondingly high brick on the other foot).

    Unfortunately I anticipate having it again when I transition back out of shoes when my leg is healed.

    I never had too much problem running, but my legs would be really sore sometimes, seemingly for no reason. I finally found the correlation to wearing clunkers at work and being barefoot (or nearly) 100% outside of work. Once I started only wearing sandals and moccasins the problem went away, like ajb described above.

    Good luck with it, and make sure you don't overdo it and completely tear that muscle or something. Ignoring a boo-boo can be bad (and you could end up in a boot for months, which seems like forever). ;-)
     

  7. Joseph

    Joseph Barefooters
    1. New Mexico

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    Thanks for the responses. I

    Thanks for the responses. I initially wrote it off to a form issue, specifically the bending of knees, but then I really focused on that and they still tightened. I thought maybe I was not running relaxed, so I tried focusing on that as well. I also thought maybe it was just "growing pains". My calves have really responded to running BF and have grown significantly in size and strength. It has only happened on a couple of runs, and now seems to be fading. I thought it was interesting and a big coincidence that the onset seemed to correspond to the switching of shoes, and the fading seems to have corresponded to the switching of shoes. Could be a coincidence, or maybe not???

    Anyway, always good advice to not overdo it and I am learning not to push through stuff that should not be pushed through. And I have not even considered the psychology of injury, so that will be something to look into for sure. Makes sense though. If you are concerned that you may get injured, I think it would be super hard to relax.

    I think I'll roll everything out today as well. It also amazes me how a pain in the calf could be due to problems elsewhere in the the body - it is all so interconnected...



    Thanks!!
     
  8. dmcchesney

    dmcchesney Barefooters
    1. Michigan
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    I had similar problems when I

    I had similar problems when I started running in VFF. The thing I changed that got rid of the calf pain was, letting my legs relax. At first I was so concerned about forfeit landing that I was flexing my toes downward to force me to run on my toes and have no heel strike. Once I learned that was killing me I have had zero pain sense. Maybe try and relaxing your legs and/or change your gait and where your feet land..



    I would never wear those "shoes" to work. I would definitely recommend buy a pair of minimalistic shoes with zero drop or a minimal one. Merrell's glove series and New Balance Minimus's are good options while at work. (I had that same problem and hated everyday of it!)
     
  9. ajb422

    ajb422 Barefooters
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    It does sound like it was in

    It does sound like it was in the same area as mine. I did run through it but it wasn't severe pain, just strong discomfort. For quite some time actually I went with the "ignore it and hope it goes away". I think probably a month or more. I chalked it up to growing pains when a week of rest didn't make it better and said whatevs and ran. This probably wasn't smart but I'm a very impatient person. I did actual shod running or walking during this time though because it hurt too bad. Then I got a stress reaction and had to take 5 weeks very near completely off running. It was still there when I started again only much less pain-ish intensity (I continued to ignore it) ramped up mileage as if it didn't exist (again probably not smart) and it went away a few weeks later. I don't know what would of happened though if I hadn't gotten the bone issue and had to stop running. Maybe it would of gotten alot worse. Who knows.
     
  10. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
    1. Nomad

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    Have you thought about having

    Have you thought about having your blood tested to see if you are low on calcium and/or vitamin D? Deficiences can lead to muscle fatigue, weakness, and cramping in your leg muscles.
     
  11. Joseph

    Joseph Barefooters
    1. New Mexico

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    I don't know...ran 4 miles

    I don't know...ran 4 miles Thursday and calves were a bit tight, ran 2 miles Friday and they felt good, and today they feel completely fine... Plan on running 4.5 or so tomorrow. Guess we'll see!
     
  12. C. Beth Run.

    C. Beth Run. Barefooters
    1. Texas - Dallas
    2. Texas - Austin

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    Glad it's feeling better,

    Glad it's feeling better, Joseph!



    I think if your shoes have a thick heel (as most running shoes do) it makes sense that your calves might freak out. Basically you're holding your calf muscles in this tightened position (due to the heels on the running shoes) for lots of hours, then totally stretching out those same muscles by running barefoot. Your theory makes sense to me....
     

  13. Second Wind

    Second Wind Barefooters
    1. Tennessee

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    Hope things are better now!

    Hope things are better now! I think simply some rest and recovery will fix it for you. Running barefoot/minimalist you are using muscles (especially in your calves) that you've never really isolated before (especially while running) and even when you feel like you're finding your groove, it still takes time for those calve muscles to adapt!

    (not to mention, as Beth said, if your 'rest' time is spent in highheels (aka running shoes) then that's not helping your rest cycle!)

    Once you lock one up in a cramp, it just takes a few days and some rest and care to get it where it wont cramp up on you again. Stretch a lot (After your run - and then periodically throughout the day just as you're working), watch your salt intake, and re-fuel with some Potassium.

    The least fun 'fix' is ice. Sounds counter-intuitive since ice causes a "draw up" effect, but if you'll soak that leg in cold water or even just 'massage' it with an ice cube After a run, the cold actually helps remove lactic acid that's built up in that muscle (which causes it to cramp). Even though your 2nd day run is short, sounds like this started happening after you added it, and that's just a day where you're hitting it again and now allowing the lactic acid to disperse on it's own.



    Good luck! And congrats on all the progress and mileage!
     

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