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Michael Pierce

How To Relax Chronic Muscle Tension

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Michael Pierce
Posted (edited)

Dear Coach Sommer & GB Community,

I'm trying to fix a lifelong chronic soleus tightness. Basically when I pinch with two fingers the belly of my soleus muscle and it feels like a weight plate, rock hard. 

I've tried all sorts of things over the years: 2 physical therapists, rumble roller, foam roller, 400mg magnesium every night (still do), topical magnesium, Magic Wand, Theragun, heat, compression sleeves, gua sha (skin scraping), electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), prescription muscle relaxant, and more... While I've attempted lots of solutions, I'm still open to the possibility it could be that one or more of these things will work with the right protocol and done consistently.

Here's my theory about whats going on...

As a lifelong and former Nike sponsored runner, I believe running high mileage (100+ mile weeks) and intensity (3-4 workouts week) to be the root cause. While I never suffered any real injuries that stopped me from running in my prime, I'm now 33 years old and have had to stop running for years as result of frequent calf injuries. The inner soleus is often the tightest, most sensitive, and most injured. I think this is because I pronate when I run, placing excessive strain on the inner calf. Also the 60 reps of calfs is really the only exercise I get sore from. I also have a ChiliCube (temp controlled mattress cover) that I keep on 63 deg while I sleep. I sleep on my left, and the left soleus is worse than the right. This is my only hypothesis as to why the left side is worse than the right. 

I say all this to give context to my question...

What protocol (that's already successfully worked in the past) would you recommend to resolve chronic soleus tightness? Optimal frequency, intensity, and timing? Equipment?

All the best,

Michael

Edited by Michael Pierce

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Coach Sommer

Hi Michael,

Am I correct in understanding that you have not run for years, but your soleus are still excessively tight despite all of the therapeautic modalities mentioned above?

Yours in Fitness,
Coach Sommer

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Michael Pierce

Yes that is correct. I've haven't been able to run for years despite using all of the modalities mentioned.

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Anita Clarke

I have been going thru something similar to you but with the Gastrocnemius (since 2013)(Took years and many Dr.'s to figure out the culprit). After doing everything I could do, I am having a Strayer procedure done next week. Running was the first to go, but it didn't stop there, next it started to limit my GB work and then started to cause problems in daily life. This was over the course of years. I would go see a really good foot and ankle Dr as soon as possible.

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Michael Pierce

Anita, would you be willing to post an update or two on your strayer procedure? 

I'm also interested in hearing your story if you  wouldn't mind sharing - specifically remedies tried, and how you got referred for a strayer procedure.

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Anita Clarke

Sure.  Had it done last Tuesday, going to be non-weight bearing for a few weeks.  I just passed week one and other than doing alot of laying around it hasn't been too bad.

I jumped on this post because my issues have been quite unique and I could see some similarities

I will tell you what I would tell my 32 year old self.

When you stub your toe you put ice on it and it gets better. You know why it hurt and you know how to keep it from getting hurt again. 

When your toe is inflamed and you don't know why and your having trouble walking, you don't throw remedies at it and hope one sticks. You need to go in and find out whats wrong. This might be something beyond your control. Something mechanically wrong. You know its your lower leg, that is a good place to start. Go see an exceptional foot and ankle Dr and get some X-rays and let him look you over.  From there he can direct you where you need to go. Maybe he will send you to your primary to get some extensive blood work done.

As a side note, I am very lucky to have an exceptional foot and ankle Dr. 2 miles from my home. My Dr. told me that people who come into him or were directed to him with issues being caused by calf tightness are for the most part people in their 30's+. He said he see's alot of people with tight calves, however it isn't until they get into their 30's+ they start having issues. It has something to do with the age of the tendon and how supple it is. I would assume as an athlete it accelerates and exaggerates this process especially if you have not been doing proper preventative maintenance. 

I consider myself a decent runner and I only run like 20 miles a week, so for a guy who runs 100 miles a week to have an issue drop him down to 0 , I suspect this is something more directly related to the mechanical process of running than a small shortage of magnesium or the temperature of your mattress at night.

 

Good luck on your recovery,

If you have any more questions for me feel free to PM me

 

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