I am Jen, Jen I am

my journey towards happy and healthy healing…inside and out!

the calf is calling the shots

Before my surgeries I had ankle pain, arch (plantar fascia) and knee pain. My calf muscle never bothered me. My cal muscle also never really developed. There was this weird disconnect happening between knee and ankle.

Surgery has fixed  this disconnect.

Now, I have NO pain in my knee or ankle. The muscles around my knee and ankle….now that is a different story. I have suffered with sore muscles almost every day since I started walking after the cast was removed. My quads have continually reminded me that knee is now working properly and so are they. Since the quads are not used to working properly, they are sore just from daily moving. My ankle is so much more stable. This means the muscles in the bottom of my foot are much more stable. I still have pain on the inside and bottom of my foot. It is not arch pain like I had prior to surgery…this pain all stems from the muscle that runs down behind my knee down my calf and under my heel.

Somewhere deep in my calf I get a muscle spasm. When I was going to PT twice a week, Doug would work that knotted muscle out. Seriously, the man would “dig” his fingers in there and we knew he had the right spot because I instantly would sit straight up and make one wicked face!

That shit effing hurt!!

But now, I am on my own.

Sorta…I did email Doug. He suggested I try deep massage using the rolling pin version of a foam roller. I asked him about compression sock or calf sleeves but he seems to think they won’t help me. He would know.

Then later on, I was g-chatting with Deb.  Deb and I have been talking rehab since before I had my surgery…because she had hip replacement in October (?)…we chatted about my calf.  Deb wondered if I was going to ditch my weight workout. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the weights I thought about scaling back on but rather the cardio.

I think this calf issue is my body’s way of telling me I have been doing too much. I logged a lot of time on the recumbent bike and the elliptical (cross ramp) last week. I may have completely and totally overdone it! We all know how I tend to jump in headfirst. I was so excited about my gym groove. I did too much. The cardio was really too much. The constant contraction and release of calf muscles while ellipticalling and biking at the gym were just too much.

Deb suggested I cut back on the cardio, at least until my calf pain is under control.  I did not want to have to stop the cardio but I knew something had to give.  It makes sense, I know it but I don’t have to like it! Today I went to the gym and it was weights day anyway (because I took yesterday off because my calf hurt so damn bad) so I thought I would experiment with not using cardio.

Normally on weights day, I would warm-up on the bike or cross-ramp elliptical for 15-20 minutes and the do weights and maybe hop back on one of the machines for 15-20 and then stretch.  On off days, I just do the cardio machines and stretching while Kerry does her weights. Today, I listened to Deb and I cut out the cardio completely. I warmed up with a set of squats then took some time doing PT exercises and calf stretches. Then I completed my weights workout (#NROLFW, S1, WO A). I ended with a good stretch.

I won’t lie and tell you my calf is pain free but I can honestly say, it is nowhere near where it was last night. If last night;s pain was a 7 (on a scale of 1-10) today post workout was a 2-3.

This is enough to convince me to give cardio a break. This will truly give me a chance to see if I like or love or hate weights. I think I don’t hate weights. Easing calf pain (or at least not worsening it) puts weights one step above cardio…at least at this moment in time.

I have to change up some of my plans, for now:

  • I will switch my weights days to Tuesday and Thursday (I usually meet Kerry so this is perfect) and Saturday.
  • NO CARDIO at all for next week (at least, maybe 2 – calf is calling the shots so I can only guestimate).
  • I will do an at-home yoga workout Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

It is not always easy listening to my body and doing what is right for my current needs. Currently, my calf is screaming for me to pay attention. I need to slow down and take good care of my calf.  I am going to put the time and energy I DESERVE!


seriously, this is effing hard! I really thought it was going to be so much easier once I joined a gym and PT was over. NO, it is the complete opposite. It is harder now. I have more work to do…mental and physical.

whoever said this or life for that matter was gonna be easy?!?

no one!

So, I say adios to my beloved cardio and hope with all I have that my calf pain goes away and I learn to LOVE weights!


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