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  1. #1
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    Strange Cycling Injury... or ... Getting Old Sucks

    So I was out last night on our annual Halloween ride. And after riding a little while, I put my foot down at an odd angle and felt my calf ripple. One more step and I felt a gentle pop. And then I couldn't walk. So I rode the rest of the ride, since riding felt better than walking.

    But this morning, I can't walk without favoring that leg. It hurts, a lot. I played a few different sports and am familiar with pulling, tweaking and tearing muscles. But I've never pulled, tweaked or otherwise really messes up my calf. Does anyone have any wisdom that they'd care to impart? Recovery times, back on the bike times, etc.

    The ride was most excellent. A brisk evening in the upper to middle 30's. A slightly wet and slippery trail from the rains yesterday morning, starting a fire to warm up and great riding company. We started a little after 10:30 last night and finished up a little after 3:00 this morning.

    Happy All Saints Day, everybody.

    Ken

  2. #2
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    If it is muscle......20 min cold compress 20 min heat.......repeat. If you tore your calf muscle and it is anything like my bicep was, it could be a month.

    My dad who is now 73 says"gettin old ain't for pu$$ies"

    Rob

  3. #3
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    What you have most likely experienced...

    is a tendon problem. The mild "pop" that you felt is usually associated with the tendons. I've had a few tendon injuries, tendonitus etc. over the years so that "pop" is all too familiar to me. I would suggest that you have this checked by a doctor to be certain as tendon injuries if not diagnosed and treated can become chronic in nature. The basic treatment for tenon injuries is non-use! Of course this isn't really possible so limited use or avoidance of the initial motion or stress that caused the injury is usually what is recommended. Anyway, I would say get it checked out and confirmed. The recovery time is much less when you know what the problem is. For tendons it's usually a week or so of whatever the doctor recommends and then a week or so of taking it easy and you'll be good as new. Yes it sucks getting old. When your young, pain is gain, when your get older pain usually means you hurt yourself!

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  4. #4
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    Ken, sounds like you tore the head of your calf.

    http://www.medic8.com/healthguide/ar...cleinjury.html

    If pink hasn't already told you what's up, you may find that helpful.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenBones?

    My dad who is now 73 says"gettin old ain't for pu$$ies"

    Rob
    LOL....great quote (and I'm beginning to know what he means )

  6. #6
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    Thanks....

    Quote Originally Posted by mward
    Ken, sounds like you tore the head of your calf.

    http://www.medic8.com/healthguide/ar...cleinjury.html

    If pink hasn't already told you what's up, you may find that helpful.

    I haven't talked to Pink yet, but this sounds like what I have. I'm elevated w. ice right now.

    Ken

  7. #7
    Drinker w/ Riding Problem
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    in a couple of days...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken in KC
    So I was out last night on our annual Halloween ride. And after riding a little while, I put my foot down at an odd angle and felt my calf ripple. One more step and I felt a gentle pop. And then I couldn't walk. So I rode the rest of the ride, since riding felt better than walking.

    But this morning, I can't walk without favoring that leg. It hurts, a lot. I played a few different sports and am familiar with pulling, tweaking and tearing muscles. But I've never pulled, tweaked or otherwise really messes up my calf. Does anyone have any wisdom that they'd care to impart? Recovery times, back on the bike times, etc.

    The ride was most excellent. A brisk evening in the upper to middle 30's. A slightly wet and slippery trail from the rains yesterday morning, starting a fire to warm up and great riding company. We started a little after 10:30 last night and finished up a little after 3:00 this morning.

    Happy All Saints Day, everybody.

    Ken
    if you notice around your ankle and foot bruising black and blue, then you tore your calf muscle more than likely, happened to me a couple months ago, after trying to escape some yellow jackets on the trail, it took 6-8 weeks to heal w/ physical therapy.
    for now Ice and Elevation! oh, Pain Killers help too!

    once healed, start stretching those calves good before riding. good luck with the healing...this mean you're selling the Retrotec? i want it!

  8. #8
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    "pop"

    get the achilles tendon checked they tend to make a pretty big pop. That is the tendon that holds the calf muscle at the heel. if you feel around there and there appears to be no muscle where there should be one or your have a stange lump in the high up toward the knee then you know you tore something.

    Get it checked regardless. Hopefully it's nothing major but, an achilles tendon rupture in 50% of the cases need to be treated surgically and 48-72 hours is the "best prognosis" timeline on it.

    b.
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  9. #9
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    I will, thanks....

    Quote Originally Posted by bones
    get the achilles tendon checked they tend to make a pretty big pop. That is the tendon that holds the calf muscle at the heel. if you feel around there and there appears to be no muscle where there should be one or your have a stange lump in the high up toward the knee then you know you tore something.

    Get it checked regardless. Hopefully it's nothing major but, an achilles tendon rupture in 50% of the cases need to be treated surgically and 48-72 hours is the "best prognosis" timeline on it.

    b.
    I suppose it could be an achilles but it wasn't a big pop. And I didn't "hear" the pop so much as I "felt" it. It felt like a really loose rubber band being sort of snapped inside my calf. No pain from the pop, but I couldn't put weight on my calf.

    Regardless, I will get it checked out.

    Thanks,

    Ken

  10. #10
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    it varies

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken in KC
    I suppose it could be an achilles but it wasn't a big pop. And I didn't "hear" the pop so much as I "felt" it. It felt like a really loose rubber band being sort of snapped inside my calf. No pain from the pop, but I couldn't put weight on my calf.

    Regardless, I will get it checked out.

    Thanks,

    Ken
    sometimes you won't get a really loud pop, I had a 15-20% tear of mine last winter and although there was no sound to it, it felt like someone hit me with a badminton racket. All the "hallmarks" of any injury are still subject to the individual (obviously).

    good luck with it,
    b.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by brado1
    if you notice around your ankle and foot bruising black and blue, then you tore your calf muscle more than likely, happened to me a couple months ago, after trying to escape some yellow jackets on the trail, it took 6-8 weeks to heal w/ physical therapy.
    for now Ice and Elevation! oh, Pain Killers help too!

    once healed, start stretching those calves good before riding. good luck with the healing...this mean you're selling the Retrotec? i want it!

    I tore my calf muscle sprinting (not on a bike) up a hill. When it happened it literally felt like someone took a baseball bat to my calf. I nearly fell from the pain. Walking the 2 miles home was not easy.

    That happened when I was 24 and it took a good year before I could run or play basketball without much pain. 3 years later and I still feel it before I get warm. Once warm I can feel it but doesn't hinder me at all.

    I would go see a doctor. I didn't and probably would have healed a lot faster had I gone to one

  12. #12
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    Is this something that can be prevented, or is it merely an inevitable part of aging (i.e. components wearing out)?
    "We sat outside the dentist, tooting a horn on the guy's bike."-overheard in the Underground

  13. #13
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    depends again

    Quote Originally Posted by Christine
    Is this something that can be prevented, or is it merely an inevitable part of aging (i.e. components wearing out)?
    The tendon itself is flawed in that the blood supply is quite limited. Also, it's a relatively small structure that carries a huge amount of force/tension of both the gastroc and soleus muscles (very strong).

    Biggest key with prevention is to make sure that you keep the "calf" muscles properly stretched and strengthened throughout your life. If you have an ankle injury at some point, make sure it's rehab'd properly. Proprioceptive training after an injury is paramount (wobble board stuff). Hydration during exercise is a big key as well. Don't bring beer in your camelback...water bottle cage is ok though

    There's no relationship between getting older and wearing out though. Joints have that going for them. As long as muscles are well used and well treated they don't wear out.

    For perspective, I blew mine playing volleyball 6 hours after I did a 18km run.


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  14. #14
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    I agree it sounds like a gastocnemius (calf muscle) tear or possibly rupture of your Plantaris tendon (if you have one!) - NB that is very different from an Achilles tendon rupture.

    http://www.emedicine.com/sports/topic157.htm

    Hope it heals quickly.

    Richard

  15. #15
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    Met with my Doc....

    Quote Originally Posted by Rumblefish
    I agree it sounds like a gastocnemius (calf muscle) tear or possibly rupture of your Plantaris tendon (if you have one!) - NB that is very different from an Achilles tendon rupture.

    http://www.emedicine.com/sports/topic157.htm

    Hope it heals quickly.

    Richard
    He thinks it's a torn calf muscle as you, Bones and Dr. Ward suggested. I'm heading to a Sports Medicine doc this week that specializes in rehabilitating injuries.

    Thanks all for the feedback and perspective. I'm off the bike (again) for a while but with proper rehab, I should be fine.

    Christine: According to my doc, this type of injury is common in raquet sports, volleyball and soccer. In fact, the common vernacular for this injury is 'tennis calf'. It's caused by leveraging your calf in to a position where it winds up trying to do more than they're designed to do. In my case, I came around a corner and encountered a fallen rider. I unclipped and put my left foot down on a hill of slippery mud. My foot slid backwards with most of my weight supported by my calf. When I wrenched my leg a little bit, my calf gave me half the peace sign and that was that.

    Ken

  16. #16
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    I think your bone structure has been weakened by a lack of calcium. It might also be flesh-eating bacteria or gangrene setting in. Either that or it's a combination of tendons rupturing or ligaments or muscles tearing. Nurse... give this old man a drink, we're going to need to amputate quickly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Dr. francois

  17. #17
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    Good Old Tennis Calf. I ran across it when I had to research a few articles in college as a AT major. It happens in a lot of older tennis players. Use ice for the first 72 hours(general guideline) but I like to use it until the initial swelling(edema) has ceased and like everyone has said, elevate. Bringing heat to early can cause more swelling(edema). If you do have to be active during recovery, remember to ice as soon as that activity has ended.
    Last edited by 95Stumpy; 11-02-2005 at 03:47 AM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bones
    The tendon itself is flawed in that the blood supply is quite limited. Also, it's a relatively small structure that carries a huge amount of force/tension of both the gastroc and soleus muscles (very strong).

    Biggest key with prevention is to make sure that you keep the "calf" muscles properly stretched and strengthened throughout your life. If you have an ankle injury at some point, make sure it's rehab'd properly. Proprioceptive training after an injury is paramount (wobble board stuff). Hydration during exercise is a big key as well. Don't bring beer in your camelback...water bottle cage is ok though

    There's no relationship between getting older and wearing out though. Joints have that going for them. As long as muscles are well used and well treated they don't wear out.

    For perspective, I blew mine playing volleyball 6 hours after I did a 18km run.


    b.
    Also to avoid injury - two other elements - stretching and working the full set of muscles. Bicycling tends to overdevelop the gastrocnemius group (calf) but not the (tibialis) anterior group (front) or even the soleus is underworked. Several easy excercises (wobble board, foot reaches on a step, ankle roll) will help strengthen and avoid injury.

  19. #19
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    This is bad news....

    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    I think your bone structure has been weakened by a lack of calcium. It might also be flesh-eating bacteria or gangrene setting in. Either that or it's a combination of tendons rupturing or ligaments or muscles tearing. Nurse... give this old man a drink, we're going to need to amputate quickly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Dr. francois
    I was hoping to avoid amputation.

  20. #20
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    As presiding doctor in this case, I move we amputate your kegerator, and remove it to my premises, until your injury has healed. You have a co2 tank too, right?

  21. #21
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    What kind of barbarian do you think I am?

    Quote Originally Posted by mward
    As presiding doctor in this case, I move we amputate your coolerdor, and remove it to my premises, until your injury has healed. You have a co2 tank too, right?
    Of course I have a co2 tank. I think though, I would like to get a second opinion on this one.

    Ken

  22. #22
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    I am pretty sure Pink would back me up on this.

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