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Muscle pain, cramps, tightness and remedies


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Edit: I changed the topics name to not confuse readers looking for solutions. 

TL;DR - my shin splints were fortunately just a tight muscle in my calf.

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So it seems, I have severe shin splints. This is just my google-based diagnosis, I will verify it during this week, but all symptoms say it's that.

The pain is awful, I can't even squat, coz my leg starts to hurt. And the pain starts the moment I start working out....

So I know I have to rest. But I can't rest! I feel it's such a waste of time!

I'm thinking about training around this injury, but all options are out of question: no running, no kicking, no rope-skipping (which is probably the cause of my injury!!!), no shadow-boxing.

So what can I do? Do you have any idea?

I came up with:

- yoga

- training the upper body on the machines at the gym (booooring!)

- rowing machine (I have to try if it doesn't flare up the pain, legs are strongly involved here too, but I never used this machine)

Is there any way I can do some muay thai technique during this time? Any idea is welcome!

I had to give up tomorrows' sparring session at my gym because of this and I'm so angry, but I know anger won't help me fix it.

Just for the record, I already tried deep stretches of the calf muscles, anti-inflammatory medicine, kinesio taping and a self-massage. Oh and an excercise that strenghtens shin muscles.

I will go to see a physiotherapeut this week hopefully and consult with a shoe specialist if I need some special shoe sole made maybe. I want to go to my doctor and get a MRI, but this might be mission impossible, coz it's so hard to get to the doctor :/ and I can't do a MRI without perscription :/ It's so hard to get in to the doctor when you work during the day like I do...I need to skip work to go to the doctor, I don't like to do it, it sucks!!!

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Its interesting you think the skipping is causing it. I always found running to be harder on the shins than skipping. To add to your list you could also do body weight exercises(push ups, sit ups, dips, etc.). I never liked using machines because the movement seems so unnatural.  

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I don't really run, but I'm overweight and have started skipping rope a lot more than usual during the last few weks...I heard these 2 factors put together can cause it...i still hope it's just a minor muscle tightness, but it hurts soooo much I think it's not...

Thanks for the advice- body weight excercises make me think of TRX, which I like and I think I can use them!

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I always heard that shin splits were cause by calves overpowering the front shin muscle.  My calves are tiny no matter what I do.  I've never had shin splints even when I was a running addict.

I feel you on the injury.  I've been out 3 weeks due to a torn hamstring.  Pull ups and presses are my friend.

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Besides resting and maybe some ice treatment after moving (and after that keep it warm) no idea how to fix it.

I had it also before, a few times, it takes time to go away. I tried to keep training a bit and do the things that didn't hurt (much) but if just walking already hurt please listen to your body and take it calm! Don't let it become a bigger injury. And a TRX is so much fun :)

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But what is the difference between an injury and DOMS?

I'm training almost every day and my quads are sore all the time. And if I try to do a sudden squat motion with cold muscles they hurt like hell. ;)

There should be an accessible status screen that tells us when it's time to stop...

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Thanks a lot for the advice, I've already taken 4 days off, only did some yoga, stretching and a kayak trip :D yeah I know.. ;) Today's some strength training in line and TRX. Yeah they are a lot of fun! :)

Yesterday I went to a physio and I probably don't have shin splints, just an enormously thight muscle...although he felt some weird bump, so I will go check it at the doctors' soon, to rule out any bad things.

I have really tight calves all the time and I probably don't stretch them enough...so maybe it's the cause for this situation. I think it has to be connected to something else, because my knee has started to click(?) when I walk around the time the muscle tightness started, sooo yeah I think my body has just hung a big red flag asking for some rest :)

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Have you seen Sylvie's video on squishy shins? It might be useful. Also whenever my shins start hurting, which is about third day into my training week, I know I need to massage my shins. I use linament and mix it with tiger balm, and just massage, it kinda helps get it back to a base level of pain. If you've tried massaging, I would try doing it consistently, every day OR twice a day, and see if that helps.

EDIT: Video added above - Emma

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Have you seen Sylvie's video on squishy shins? It might be useful. Also whenever my shins start hurting, which is about third day into my training week, I know I need to massage my shins. I use linament and mix it with tiger balm, and just massage, it kinda helps get it back to a base level of pain. If you've tried massaging, I would try doing it consistently, every day OR twice a day, and see if that helps.

That's actually the first thing I did :) But Sylvie talks about conditioning your shins in these two videos I found, which is not where my problem was, coz it hurt at the side of my leg, not at the front-shin part.

Right now I still think it's a muscle tightness, so I'm massaging it. I even took a tennis ball to work and I'm massaging every hour or so :) :) I also read a lot abouth thight calves on runner forums and am trying various stretching approaches. I still feel the tightness, but I'm going to training today! :)

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That's actually the first thing I did :) But Sylvie talks about conditioning your shins in these two videos I found, which is not where my problem was, coz it hurt at the side of my leg, not at the front-shin part.

Right now I still think it's a muscle tightness, so I'm massaging it. I even took a tennis ball to work and I'm massaging every hour or so :) :) I also read a lot abouth thight calves on runner forums and am trying various stretching approaches. I still feel the tightness, but I'm going to training today! :)

how'd it go?

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The pain is slowly starting to fade, I bought some potasium and magnesium suplement and take it once a day, it helps a lot!! I was shocked, but after the first pill it actually started to be less cramped. I actually tried some muscle relaxing pill before, but it didn't help.

My trainer said I should try massaging the leg with thai oil before training, but I don't have it and I must order it online, so I can't have it like right now. I'm dealing with other warming up creams I have at home.

I also tape it for support before training with kinesio tape - but with a technique I made up on my own, but it helps! It looks like in the picture below (there is pink and skin-colored tape, so it looks weird, but I just had these two at hand). I don't know if you see, but the tape goes in a V shape from my achilles upwards around my leg on both sides, and then the vertical tapes are for the support of the muscles, starting at the bottom of the muscle :) :) Picture (I still can't work out how to post them)

During training I have to stop and stretch the calf every now and then, but I'm almost all good now! :)

And training-wise I don't do any jumps or rope-skipping for now, I'm also careful when I jog during warm-up - I try to run on the middle part of my foot and sloooowly. It gets a bit cramped during technique training, when I have to repetively lift the heel of the foot, but I can deal with this kind of pain easily. 

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During training I have to stop and stretch the calf every now and then, but I'm almost all good now! :)

I had incredibly tight calves for a really long time and found myself having to stop and stretch them a lot, too. It was only recently that I noticed that I don't get it anymore, but I was doing a lot of massaging and foam rolling. Foam rolling is painful and unpleasant but really works wonders. 

Strangely, when skipping, my calves become unbearably tight after a really short time and I can't hack it. I have no idea what that's about! I much prefer to run, anyway.

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I found that the Thai oil definitely helps me when it comes to muscle cramping and soreness, though I think it functions more as an anesthetic to dull the pain so that I don't feel it in training. Then afterwards since it got some blood flow the cramping has lessened. I hope you can get some, otherwise there are other things like tiger balm which I think does something similar, though I don't know if all the sweat in training will make it run off or something.

Funny Emma, I'm the opposite actually. My calves are super tight for ages after I do any sort of run, but I have no issues skipping rope.

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The pain is slowly starting to fade, I bought some potasium and magnesium suplement and take it once a day, it helps a lot!! I was shocked, but after the first pill it actually started to be less cramped. I actually tried some muscle relaxing pill before, but it didn't help.

My trainer said I should try massaging the leg with thai oil before training, but I don't have it and I must order it online, so I can't have it like right now. I'm dealing with other warming up creams I have at home.

I also tape it for support before training with kinesio tape - but with a technique I made up on my own, but it helps! It looks like in the picture below (there is pink and skin-colored tape, so it looks weird, but I just had these two at hand). I don't know if you see, but the tape goes in a V shape from my achilles upwards around my leg on both sides, and then the vertical tapes are for the support of the muscles, starting at the bottom of the muscle :) :) Picture (I still can't work out how to post them)

During training I have to stop and stretch the calf every now and then, but I'm almost all good now! :)

And training-wise I don't do any jumps or rope-skipping for now, I'm also careful when I jog during warm-up - I try to run on the middle part of my foot and sloooowly. It gets a bit cramped during technique training, when I have to repetively lift the heel of the foot, but I can deal with this kind of pain easily. 

If the magnesium supplement is helping, maybe try picking up some epsom salts and having a warm bath in them, if you have a bath.

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Emma, Steph, I have tight calves when I skip rope AND when I run :D I need to take a serious look at my posture, I think this is where the problem is. They say good shoes can fix a lot of problems.

Emma, I was told that I have this problem with skipping rope and tight calves, because I'm overweight, so it's interesting to know this also happens to people whose weight is okay. This shows me that there's not one and only solution to every problem...

Gavin, thanks for the advice, yeah I have a bath, I will look for this salt, probably under another brand name here, but I'm sure I will find it. :) I actually taken a quick look at Google and Epsom salt does so many good things! wow, I need to try it! :D

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  • 11 months later...

So it's been a year and I come across the same problem I had last year! My calf muscles are killing me!

Just to refresh my memory I looked through my blog and found the post I wrote about it last year, maybe someone can make use of that.

I put my whole experience with the tight muscle into a blog post! :D Finally something informative I can share with the community! :)

Blog post.

 

After the incident last year I got individually made shoe-insoles to correct my posture - which was something I suspected as a cause.

Now, the cramps come probably from doubling my training in the last week and my body can't keep up. 

I find the magnesium supplement and foam-rolling method easing the pain. I also did a massage yesterday and rolled my calves on lacrosse-sized rubber balls (it hurt!).

Over the weekend I will get a hold of Epsom salt and see what it brings me.

Is anyone else uncomfortable with muscle tightness? What's your remedy?

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I'm glad you found the answer to your calf problems! I just scrolled up and found that I posted on this a year ago saying that skipping fucks my calves up. Funnily enough, yesterday I tried out a new gym and their training started with a lot of skipping. As a result, I'm super tight today and walking funny. Lots of foam rolling for me today! I might get in the pool for a bit, too. I've never tried Rock Tape or anything like that, might give it a go. 

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Oooh Emma, that sucks! 

I'm using Rea Tape now, price/quality is pretty good. Rock Tape is hard to get here, but I heard it's really good quality. I'm pretty happy with kinesio taping, it gives you a little bit of support, like an additional liagment :) really comfortable. If you can get your hands on this tape, try it!

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I'm glad you found the answer to your calf problems! I just scrolled up and found that I posted on this a year ago saying that skipping fucks my calves up. Funnily enough, yesterday I tried out a new gym and their training started with a lot of skipping. As a result, I'm super tight today and walking funny. Lots of foam rolling for me today! I might get in the pool for a bit, too. I've never tried Rock Tape or anything like that, might give it a go. 

Omg this was my issue for the last month up until now. Shin splints suck! My calf muscles were so tight to the point I couldn't even walk anymore. My athletic therapist massaged my shins and also recommended that I wear compression leg sleeves. It has helped - but for now I can't train everyday.... so I have to skip every other day until I'm ready to go back full-time. 

 

I was told that after a long session of training, you can foam roll, massage your legs, have an icebath (just beneath your knees) and see how that goes. Taking some potassium/glutamine works too. But I feel your pain! 

 

Kinesio taping works like a charm (my only problem is the pain of pulling my leg hairs LOL when I peel it off) but I find that using those compression sleeves does some good work too. The one I have is by 2XU: http://www.2xu.com/ca/p/compression-calf-guards/UA1987b.html?dwvar_UA1987b_color=BLK_CPB#start=1 

The material is nice and does not chaff on your skin; sweat wicking too. Plus you can use it for at least 2-3 sessions and throw it in the wash, hang dry it and you're good to go. 

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So I'm reporting back after trying the Epsom salt bath. It's magic!

I read how much you should put into your bath and it varies. Some sites said that if you are a beginner at Epsom salt baths, you should begin with a small amount, like, a cup or something and slowly build up the amount with every bath. I could only get my hands on a 50g pack of Epsom salt, so I used the whole packet. It really works wonders for me!

The tightness in my calves dissapeared and even my strained back (yeah I hurt my back again) that was killing me all day long was much better. I woke up without any pain. Today I felt a bit of pain in my back, but it was much less and now I took a second bath, let's see if it helps again :D

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