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severe right calf pain/cramping and l5s1

I am a long distance runner and have been running half marathons, mostly, for the past 4 years. I'm a 37 yr old female. Last June I started experiencing lower right calf pain. It became worse pretty quickly and at the end of July, I began cramping in my calves the last half mile of a half marathon. I took a few weeks off, then began training very lightly for a Ragnar relay race in September. During the race, I experienced the most severe and horrible cramping in both my lower legs and the last leg of the race, it extended to my quads. I was literally alternating running on my heels and balls of my feet the last hundred yards, sobbing while doing it. It was horrible. I haven't been running since (Sept 7). My pain has gotten worse, I have discovered I am Vit D deficient for some reason, and I cannot flex my calves for more than a few seconds before they cramp. I'm having muscle cramps throughout my lower body and hip area that are pretty mild, but annoying. I finally went back to my Orthopedic and cried to him about it. He finally ordered mri's of my low back and lower legs. I go in Monday for a follow up. I saw the images and I have some bulging between L1 and L2, L4 and especially...surprise...L5S1. I, of course, cannot read them but I had an mri done 15 yrs ago and had a bulging disk then. So I utilized Google and am sure there is bulging. I don't know how bad or what else is involved. Anyone have similar experience? It has stopped my running in its tracks and anything that requires me to flex my calf muscles. Considering I have been in pain of this sort for 9 months now, what is the outcome likely to be? I also have numbing, burning and skin turning white of the 2nd and third toes on both feet, white patches on the bottom of my feet and the heels of both feet frequently hurt. I had severe IT band issues and did PT for that with a foam roller that was excruciating. It did get better. The Ortho said I had some bursitis of the right hip as well. My joints hurt all over, I've had lots of problems with my right side in general from my shoulder to my toes. I've also noticed I'm experiencing something like sensory overload on my skin, mostly waist down. It's so depressing and I feel like a hypochondriac when I start listing all this out. I need some advice and I need to know I am not alone. I've been to 4 doctors for this and they all shake their head at the calf pain and cramping like they have no idea but think it will resolve itself. I'm so frustrated, but looking forward to Monday when I find out the results. This is the first time I've posted anywhere and so I'm sorry if it is too long or rambling. Thanks for any help!
Frybaby 4


  • Frybaby: hi.

    Treatment depends on cause.

    Some possibilities come to mind. We are not doctors here, so can't give medical advice.

    Lumbar nerve irritation / damage initiating a protective muscle cramping scenario. Solution, reduce nerve inflammation / irritation with antiinflamtories. If disc herniaation is squashing the nerve, then a surgical microdiscectomy.

    Blood chemistry imbalance, many folks find magnesium and phosphorous OTC remedies do the trick. Use search function for keyword = cramp for more.

    Many doctors prescribe muscle relaxants, as cramping is common for many folks post operatively. Search on muscle relaxant.

    Let us know how you go with surgeon appointment.
  • frybaby4ffrybaby4 Posts: 3
    edited 03/01/2013 - 10:19 PM
    Thank you, Dave! I realized I had more info after reading your reply. I am suffering from stomach ulcers from grubbing on anti-inflammatories the past 9 months so my gastroenterologist said no way. I'm also allergic to all pain killers and I do have some muscle relaxants that I do ok with but I have four young kids and it's so hard to be sleepy when I have to take care of them... I have a little bit of a low potassium level so my Dr put me on a supplement as well as 5000 iu's of the vit d and so far no change. I could try adding the magnesium/phosphorus if she says I should. I'll search on that, thank you! I'll post after my appt Monday.
    Frybaby 4
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  • KeytanKeytan Posts: 41
    edited 07/02/2013 - 7:16 PM
  • Thanks, Keytan. I do that pretty frequently already but not much has helped. So my dr today said I have a torn calf muscle. I'm confused because there wasn't a moment that I remember tearing it and from what I read, they are pretty noticeable when they happen. I have ran a half marathon and over 18 miles during my relay race, not to mention all the miles spent training for this, all while it was torn, apparently. It hurt then, but not like it does now that I've stopped running on it and have been trying to alleviate the pain. It's been 6 months since I've stopped running and it still hurts like heck. He recommends I stretch it more and wait longer. Since I can't take anti-inflammatories because of my stomach, he recommended Tylenol. Frustrated... The disks weren't bulging enough o cause this pain, he said. Anyone else take this long to recover from a torn calf muscle?
    Frybaby 4
  • AllMetalAAllMetal Posts: 1,189
    edited 03/04/2013 - 1:18 PM
    I think you are amazing for training and running these races!!!! I have always wanted to do so...And four kids to boot! I certainly hope you are feeling better!!!! And I might throw in that my husband purchased epsom salt with mint extract... it was some "fancy" kind, more expensive than plain epsom. Bought it at Walmart.... but I swear it works better... maybe I'm crazy, who knows.... but worth a try maybe? I think it might have lavendar in it too.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
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