Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Torn Calf Muscle - Part II: My Sports Doctor Appointment

My Torn Calf Muscle - Part I: Doctor Referral

November 3rd - Initial Appointment with a Sports Doctor

Funny to feel happy about seeing a doctor!

I was assigned to Dr. J. I arrived at my appointment armed with plenty of questions and a calendar record of all my runs, my injury dates, etc. The doctor laughed at my preparedness and we got down to business.

The highlights:

  • I made an error in judgment running "too soon" after my injury at the half marathon. She reprimanded me this - LOL! However, I defended myself by telling her that if my calf had hurt, I would never have continued running. Unfortunately, it only felt like a tight muscle at the time, a cramp, rather than an injury. She agreed that hindsight is 20/20. :)
  • I explained that in the time between my walk-in clinic appointment and this one, my left calf had actually 'worsened.' I experienced sharp, shooting pains up my leg when cooking at Thanksgiving (on my feet in the kitchen for a longer-than-normal time period), and that it bothered me (ached; shooting pains; tightening along the calf in waves), usually after I walked the dogs and after yoga, even though it felt fine while participating in physical activity.
  • I repeated to her what the walk-in clinic doctor had advised me. She frowned and made a few facial expressions, indicating her disapproval of this advice. However, she didn't say anything negative about it, but simply said that I was able to be pro-active about my healing.
  • My absence from running will be for a longer period of time. :( I was 4-1/2 weeks into my "6 weeks off" advice from the walk-in clinic. Dr. J told me that I would need to be off longer, that it would be closer to 8-9 weeks before I could run again on a treadmill with a physiotherapist in a controlled setting. I didn't like hearing that, but I admit it made sense to me. My calf/leg has hurt more in the last two weeks that it did while I was running on it (!!) so I could feel that it wasn't going to be read for a return to running within another week or so.
  • Dr. J spent more time studying and touching my calf, and said that she could feel the difference between my right and left calf. She could also see an area on my hurt leg that was lightly protruding (swelling). She also poked around my calf, establishing where it hurt and where it did not.
  • When I told Dr. J about my achilles tendon injury from last year, and how I had been reading about injuries stemming from a previous injury or connected to another problem area in the leg. She was interested in this, asked me several questions about it, and spent a little time poking around my left achilles tendon.

So this is where I am at ... I have:
  • an ultrasound booked in a week for my calf and achilles tendon
  • a physiotherapy appointment booked for the day after my ultrasound
  • a follow-up appointment with Dr. J in two weeks from my initial appointment with her.
I was told that my leg will heal and that I will run again. :) However, this part of my leg might be a little bit of an issue for me in the future, in that I will need to really warm it up in the future (pay extra attention to ensuring it is warmed up well before a run).

I am feeling much better about my leg. I have gone from being told "nothing you can do about it" to an ultrasound (to see what it really looks like in there), several appointments with a doctor specializing in sports medicine, and a series of physiotherapy appointments. I am especially pleased with the ultrasound because I want a picture of what has happened to my muscle.

Physiotherapy Referral Notes:

DIAGNOSIS - L calf strain 7-1/2 weeks ago; suspect partial tear at MTJ 4-1/2 weeks ago

L Achilles pain 1 year ago - resolved on it own



COMMENTS: stretches; strengthening; ROM, proprioception; modalities



  1. Thinking about you lots! Great to hear the appointment was positive with the Sports Doc! You at Fowler?? I might DM you to get more info as I might need a referral myself!

  2. I think this is great news (relatively!). I would feel better knowing what is causing the pain, vs it being just a 'general running issue'.
    It sucks that you will be off running for longer than you expected, but hopefully you'll be able to heal to 100% and never have this problem again. I'm so excited for you to get back to running!!

    And thanks for all your lovely comments on my blog. I have been swamped with school and volunteering and PT work, I haven't run in 2 weeks?! :(

  3. You will heal, I know it! Good luck at the ultrasound. When you get back to running, I have an idea for you....
    Every morning before I run, I sit with heat under my calves. I started doing it one winter when my calves would cramp on runs and a coach suggested it. But now I do it every day. I drink my coffee with my legs up on the couch with heat under my calves and ice on my shins (I struggle with shin splints), and my calves are already warmed up even before I start my warmup!