Doctor update: You just need to stretch

Isometric calf stretch

Tuesday: no workout
Wednesday: bike to work, 25 min. total | ZWOW #35, 12:30 | upper body strength, 150 reps | abs & core, 150 reps


Sorry…. what?

I’ve now had an MRI, an electronic nerve test, a thyroid test and visits to various medical offices. All came back fine. I’m fit as a fiddle. The neurologist told me, “I don’t deny that the symptoms are real. But there is nothing wrong with you.”

And yet I still have numbness below the knees. I still get an obnoxious tingle-y muscle spasm sensation that is just horrible.Calf stretch downward dog

The conclusion during today’s follow–up appointment with my primary doctor is that I need to stretch.

This is mildly annoying to hear now, after everything else. And I should point out that I stretch very regularly, including calf stretches. I have a dance background and I’ve been active pretty much my whole life. I know how to stretch and I’m more flexible that most people I know.

That being said, I have always had a very short Achilles tendon. Like, 20 – 30 degrees less flexibility than the average person, according to the doc today. He thinks that, particularly when I run, this causes my upper calf muscles to essentially bunch up, which in turn blocks or shuts down the nerves in my lower calf. Not really sure how that works, but hey. He’s the doc.

And it does make sense. I just complained to Jon earlier this week that it’s hard to really stretch out my sore calves after a run because I can’t get deep enough to really stretch my upper calves. Damn Achilles tendon won’t let me get that far. So my upper calves have to compensate for the lack of flexibility in my lower calves when I run, which works and tenses the upper a lot more…. and then I can’t really stretch it out well afterwards.

calf stretch angle boardAwesome! I’m now supposed to go a physical therapist to show me good stretches for this, build an angled contraption to stand on (like this guy <– ) and stretch everything out at home… and he wrote me a prescription for compression socks because I asked. Doc doesn’t think they’ll really help, but I want to try. Hopefully they will ease the symptoms while I get my stretch on to fix the problem.

Who woulda thought that flexibility would be the cause….

Have any of you had a similar experience? Does the extra special stretching work and I can really have hope this will get better??

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5 thoughts on “Doctor update: You just need to stretch

  1. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. Having realized – well, so far it works – this week that my insane throat seizing up symptoms can be helped (maybe only if caught early, but still) by stretching my neck a certain way …….. this is particularly interesting to me. Last year when my choir sang Mozart, my throat got tight, and it would reappear the next day. Had to go on steroids to get through the concert, which then had not fun side effects. So it started again the other night, and after some quiet panicking, I accidentally stretched my neck in a way that seemed good, and kept it up and it went AWAY! I mean, my doctor said it was a muscle pull issue, so maybe I caught it early. Maybe those muscles of mine are short! Who knows! As for the other weird nerve symptoms I’ve gotten …. not sure if this is applicable, but will remember it …

    • Yeah, I thought of you this morning when he said stretching. (I also wonder if a chiropractor would help you if it’s a muscle thing. I know mine cracks my neck and makes it feel awesome; also helps with the migraines!) My nerve tests came back fine, so that doesn’t seem to be my issue. Well, accept doc said the upper–calf cramping essentially blocks the nerves below.

      I have no idea if this applies to you at all. But it’s at least helped me to bounce ideas/symptoms/treatments off you! 🙂

      • Yeah, I just don’t know – barely happens anymore, but it was movement and pressure that caused it (but not running necessarily – just swinging my arm could do it?) – in fingertips and toes mostly. Side of foot, etc. V. strange. Whooo knows.

  2. Pingback: Me & running don’t always see eye to eye | Piloting Paper Airplanes

  3. Pingback: I’m healed! | Piloting Paper Airplanes

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