I’ve torn my what? Gastrocnemius?

On Monday evening I learnt something new about my body, apparently I have a muscle in my leg called the Gastrocnemius. For those who don’t have a medical background it is basically the muscle at the back of your calf. The story of how I ended up learning about this muscle began on Sunday afternoon. As part of my training schedule to get me fit for the Birmingham Half Marathon I was due to complete a recovery run on Sunday afternoon. Half a mile into the run I was feeling great, better than I have done at any point in my training so far. Unfortunately that happy feeling wasn’t to last.

As my left foot landed on the pavement I felt a sharp, stabbing pain in my calf that stopped me in my tracks. It felt like a small dog had sunk it’s teeth into the back of my leg but looking down it was clear that I wasn’t being attacked by a vicious Jack Russell. Whatever I had done was muscular. I tried to take a couple of steps, hoping it was just really bad cramp but after two it was clear that this something more serious. I walked home feeling pretty pissed off, especially as I had been feeling so good. As soon as I got home I started trying to limit the damage by applying ice to my calf and taking painkillers.

The following day I went to the minor injuries department at my local hospital and had a rather bizarre check up. Fair play to the doctor, he was very thorough and put my through a series of tests to determine the extent of the damage. One of these tests involved me kneeling on a chair facing the wall while he tested my Achilles tendons. After he had made some notes he sat me down and told me that I had torn my Gastrocnemius. To which I replied “I’ve torn what?” He explained the two muscles in the calf (Soleus and Gastrocnemius) and the extent of the injury I had. His diagnosis was that it wasn’t too bad and I should be able to run again in a few of weeks. However when I did start running again I would have to take it slow and ease myself back into.

Having kick-started my half marathon training a few weeks ago I am now facing a short injury break whilst my Gastrocnemius heals. In the past I would’ve sulked for a few weeks and moaned about the running gods picking on me.

However I have decided to use this time proactively and work on my upper body and core strength. I am using the LDN Muscle Leaner Fitter Stronger book as a guide and will be following the Intermediate programme (minus the leg exercises obviously). It is frustrating to have picked up an injury but it nothing too serious and I just need to focus my energies on something else for a while.

The next few weeks will be a test but I will be stronger for it.



8 thoughts on “I’ve torn my what? Gastrocnemius?

  1. Sorry to hear about your injury, I do hope you feel better soon. The one thing I loved about this article is that despite the injury you have decided to focus on other workouts that will still make you feel stronger.

    P.S. We learn new things everyday hey, now I know about Gastrocnemius 🙂


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