I’ve been having recurring issues to my left calf since early this year when I was training with the Mid volume SS plan.
Soon after starting the plan I got a bike fit, but ended up injuring my right hip flexor because I was overcompensating for a cramp/knot in my left calf.
After recovering I’ve been using my MTB a lot more, until one day - during a holiday where I’d been walking more than usual - I pulled my left gastroc while biking.
After recovering from that too I went back to road cycling but after a bit ended up with a really tight and painful soleus in my left leg. Again, this was after a holiday where I walked a lot more than I’m used to! Strangely, running on flat ground doesn’t seem to worsen it as much as road cycling.
It’s been nearly eight months of recurring issues to my calf now, so I’d really like to get to the root of it even if it involves taking time off the bike and running to jus focus on strength and flexibility. Has anyone else been through something similar to me? What would be your best advice to break this vicious cycle?
If you haven’t already, I’ll suggest a cleat position further back than traditionally. I have mine an additional 15mm from my Sidi’s original position and it has helped me a lot… And don’t walk as much.
I have had plenty of calf issues with a history of marathon running. Usually its calf flexibility with me - lots of heel drops off a step, calf raises using one leg and plenty of self massage with a wooden rolling pin - not a foam roller they are to big - around the lower calf/top of the tendon sorts it…the stretching being the key remedy.
I strained my calf cycling several years ago and it took a loooong time to fully recover and still I would say is only 90%. (the PT told me it would never be 100% due to scar tissue). It finally took a year off the bike for me to recover which meant losing all my fitness.
Now I have a strict maintenance routine for my calf - I stretch after EVERY ride and workout, foam roll every night, massage during the day, etc. If I ever miss stretching the calf tightens up and becomes painful. I also have to be very careful with any strength training i.e. calf raises. Too much results in a painful calf for several days. Fortunately I’m back to where I can ride as much as I want pain free.
I also pushed all my cleats mid-foot as mentioned above to reduce calf stress.
If you haven’t already go see a sports masseur as it might be some muscle scarring that’s causing the recurrence. Or use the rolling pin as someone mentioned previously. I had an issue a few years back where I just couldn’t run more than a mile or so without it pulling. Turned out to be scarring from a previous pull. Some cross frictional massage and I was good to go.