Typical runner complaints: When the calf pinches again

Whether hardening, straining or cramp - problems with the calf are among the most common runner problems. What helps if the calf pinches? How to prevent calf problems and how do you get them under control?

Wade hardening

Runner disease Piriformis syndrome. Learn more now!

The calf hardening is a common runner suffering. Causes are overloading due to excessive amounts, a too fast increased running time or a running style change. Forefoot runners are particularly often affected because they cause high levels of stress on the calf and Achilles tendon.

Hardening is a local tension in the muscles. The strained muscle fibers press on the capillary and interfere with the blood flow to the muscle tissue. This can also lead to an inflammatory reaction.

Massage is the most important measure of calf hardening. It also helps to stretch the affected muscles regularly to lower the tone. Accompanying you can also use other relaxation measures such as sauna.

If you regularly suffer from hardening in the calf, you should let your expert analyze your running style. You may also be able to handle the complaints with orthopedic insoles.

As a preventive measure, you should only increase your running time carefully and not immediately start from zero on marathon. Most runner complaints occur from a weekly run of more than 30 kilometers. Therefore, start with shorter distances to start running and increase by a maximum of 5% per week. So you give your body enough time to get used to the running load slowly.

calf cramp

When calf cramp you have to distinguish between nocturnal spasms and those that occur under stress. In nocturnal convulsions is often a magnesium deficiency the reason. On the other hand, if the calf cramps occur while running, usually a combination of overload and lack of salt is the cause.

Wrong drinking can also be a reason for calf cramps in a marathon. If you drink too much low-mineral water and at the same time sweat out a lot of sodium, the mineral balance comes into imbalance. The result is convulsions.

For long runs, make sure that you have enough salt in your drinks. Most finished sports drinks mixtures already have a high sodium content, with even mixed spritzers you should mix a pinch of cooking salt per liter. An alternative is salt tablets for long running competitions.

Compression stockings may also help you prevent cramping. Although there is no scientific evidence, many runners report a pleasant feeling and fewer convulsions.

If you still have a cramp while running, first only stretching as an immediate measure. If possible, you should also take salt to normalize the mineral balance. As an antispasmodic, the active ingredient quinine has been found. You can get quinine, for example, in tablet form (Limptar N) without a prescription at the pharmacy.

The effect of quinine is considered safe, yet the intake can be associated with side effects, which is why some sports doctors have moved away from a recommendation again.

Calf strain - fiber tear

The difference between a strain and a torn muscle consists only in the quantity of damaged muscle tissue. The cause of a strain is usually a sudden, high tension in the muscles. When jogging, therefore, you rarely pull a strain or even a hamstring as a sports injury.

As a rule, strains occur during sprints or other piercing movements. It is therefore important to warm up before intensive running because it significantly reduces the risk of injury.

A strain can be recognized by the sudden onset of pain. In the case of a fiber rupture, bleeding will occur in addition to this and possibly muscle indentations will be felt.

As an immediate measure, you should follow the PECH rule:

(P) ause - immediately end the sports unit and spare yourself.

(E) is - cool the injured area as fast as possible.

(C) ompression - apply compressive bandage to reduce the spread of swelling.

(H) Store - Put up the affected limbs so the blood can drain more easily and not collect at the injured area.

Depending on the severity of the injury, you will need to expect a few days to weeks of recovery before you can fully recharge your muscles. No movement is not the right measure. As soon as you are free of pain, you should weigh lightly. Short, steady runs or ergometer training boost circulation and speed healing.

Also read: Sports Medicine: The runner knee

Jörg Birkel

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