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mysterious lower leg tightening. Need some help pls!

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Schuey
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wrichman
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mysterious lower leg tightening. Need some help pls! Empty mysterious lower leg tightening. Need some help pls!

Post  wrichman Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:19 pm

Hey guys, looking for some help: Over the past week, I've had 4 runs (out of 10) where my lower legs (calves or shins or both) tightened up w/in the 1st mile. They get hard as a rock, and it's painful and hard to run. Stopping to stretch doesn't help. I keep running through it and my legs eventually loosen up around 4 miles. Sounds like what I've read about Compartment Syndrome, but it goes away and doesn't happen all the time, so my PT says that's not the case. This happened during a recovery run, GA run, my 50k last Sat, and happened again today. During my 50k my entire feet also went pins and needles numb for about 10 minutes as well. I've been wearing new shoes (Brooks Pureflow), but I had been wearing them a good week before this problem started. My shoes are not tied to tight. I'm wondering if it's a hydration/nutrition issue, but I'm not doing anything different than before this started. Has anyone experienced something like this? Any insights?
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:09 pm

I think it might be a magnesium/calcium/zinc issue so try some supplements. I can tell you that I had a similar problem recently and remembering to take those supplements seemed to help. I also had issues wearing the Pure Flows though.
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Post  Nick Morris Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:03 am

Michele "1L" Keane wrote:I think it might be a magnesium/calcium/zinc issue so try some supplements. I can tell you that I had a similar problem recently and remembering to take those supplements seemed to help. I also had issues wearing the Pure Flows though.

I agree...and have had issues with my calves every once in a while. You may want to try enzyme therapy (supplements). It has seemed to work for me in the past.
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Post  wrichman Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:40 pm

thanks for the insight, Michelle and Nick. I'm leaning towards the shoes being the reason. I do take a multivitamin w/ magnesium, calcium w/ vit D, iron.
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Post  mul21 Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:16 pm

wrichman wrote:thanks for the insight, Michelle and Nick. I'm leaning towards the shoes being the reason. I do take a multivitamin w/ magnesium, calcium w/ vit D, iron.

For what it's worth, my initial thought was the shoes. I have a similar issue occasionally with a pair of shoes I haven't worn much.
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Post  Schuey Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:02 am

For as big of a fan of Brooks's that I am. Heck wore my T7 racing flats for the whole JFK 50 miler.

I would have to say their pure connect series should be called pure shit!
I have had a similar issue with my shines and calves while wearing my connects.

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Post  T Miller Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:36 am

My wife had compartment surgery in both calves and as I started reading your symptoms did not sound very similar. The numbness and questioning of the shoes does sound eerily similar to what I've observed while she was running prior to the surgery. I can't tell you how many times she had to stop mid run and would pull her shoe off because her foot was going numb and thought that the shoes were too tight. From what I can recall, I don't think the numbness ever went away as the run progressed. I know that she had had numbness that has gone away as the run progressed but I don't think that ever happened in association with her calves.

This is probably obvious but the numbness is from the blood flow being cut off. This is what happens with compartment syndrome but there can be other causes.

It could be an entrapped nerve too.

I think it is likely related to your 50 miler. I know my calves got extremely tight like they were pumped full of blood near the end of my 60k a few weeks ago.

Anyway, I'll have her chime in over the next couple days.
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Post  T Miller Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:13 am

I asked Wendy about it and she confirmed that the numbness with compartment syndrome never went away as the run progressed.

She thinks it is your Piriformis squeezing on your sciatic nerve causing the numbness and the feeling that your calves are tight. This same thing happens to her and stretching seems to help.
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Post  wrichman Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:13 am

Thanks Tim! the piriformis thing would make a lot of sense, since I've had upper hammy/piriformis problems over the past year. I'mm sit more on the lovely tennis ball and stretch.
Now which shoes to wear at Boston...
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Post  mul21 Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:06 pm

wrichman wrote:Thanks Tim! the piriformis thing would make a lot of sense, since I've had upper hammy/piriformis problems over the past year. I'mm sit more on the lovely tennis ball and stretch.
Now which shoes to wear at Boston...

Oh, how I hate my piriformis. And the stretching. And the tennis ball. Can you still run if you get it removed? affraid
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Post  Jeff F Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:39 pm

mul21 wrote:
wrichman wrote:Thanks Tim! the piriformis thing would make a lot of sense, since I've had upper hammy/piriformis problems over the past year. I'mm sit more on the lovely tennis ball and stretch.
Now which shoes to wear at Boston...

Oh, how I hate my piriformis. And the stretching. And the tennis ball. Can you still run if you get it removed? affraid

+1 I was thinking the same thing yesterday when my massage therapist was digging into my hip/piriformis. Slightly painful...
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Post  wendy_miller Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:38 am

I happen to be Tim's wife Smile I have had compartment syndrome and also (still) struggle with piriformis syndrome. The symptoms are VERY SIMILAR...except for one big difference. In CS, the pain gets worse as you go. In PS, it eases as you go.

I have had cortisone injections to my piriformis, which did wonders, but only lasted about 6 weeks. I find that if I stretch my piriformis a TON, I can get by without pain. I also take a muscle relaxer sometimes, as well as Neurontin. It's just something I deal with. It can ruin a run, but it always goes away by 5 miles.



BTW--Graston and ART only irritated this injury for me, so I stay away from that. But for all other injuries I'd suggest it.
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Post  carleenp Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:02 pm

I had a mysterious lower leg issue for some time that was right in the same area as an old stress fracture (low fibula right above the ankle). It would tighten up at exactly mile .8 and have the symptoms of compartment syndrome, but it was not CS, and it got better by mile 3 or so. I would usually have to stop and stretch several times and it would hurt and burn when I did so, but by mile 3-4 all was fine. I usually had a constant slight swelling over the area, but it was never painful except for the burning sensation when I first started running. An MRI showed nothing helpful.

My doctor was baffled, as was the physical therapist. The theory we went on was that it was scar tissue left over from the stress fracture healing that was causing irritation to the muscle, or perhaps a pinched nerve in the area related to scar tissue. Anyway, after about 12 weeks of Graston twice per week, it went away. We didn't see results until around week 8 of that. Now it will still tighten up once in a while, but only rarely (usually when my calves are particularly tight to begin with) and never as bad as it did before.
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Post  wrichman Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:20 pm

Thanks for the responses guys. Carleen, sounds exactly like what you describe, but I've never had stress fx in my legs. Thankfully, it hasn't happened in almost 2 weeks. In the end, I do think it may be the shoes, although I've run in all 3 brands/styles of my shoes without incident. To be safe, I'm going to wear my Mizunos w/ the Spenco inserts I've been wearing for 2 1/2 years for Boston.
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