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Muscle pain in the calves?

Jaana Heino

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Since my ballet classes on Friday, my calves have been hurting. The pain feels exactly like the (healthy) pain you get from excercise, except that it is very much stronger.


We did a lot of releves in the Friday class, but nothing that I wouldn't have done before at classes, and I have never gotten my calves to this state. They are so sore that they hurt when I just move them sitting down in a normal position, and walking the stairs makes them cramp... both sides feel the same. I have done nothing but very gentle warm-up and stretching since Friday.


What reasons there are that could make them this much sorer than is usual for me? Would it be better to stay out of class while they are bad, or to try and take a class carefully?

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Hmmm - it's that time of year. Has there been an unusually cold snap, or a lot of precipitation where you are? Low temperature and low barometric pressure can combine to increase discomfort. I'd give things a rest for a couple of days, and since it's been awhile, apply contrast compresses, cold, then hot, as needed, and also whatever sports rub makes you feel good.

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Jaana, in addition to the above, I would just suggest that you do the basic runners' calf stretch several times a day, and always before class. Face the barre, or a wall or anything you can lean into, place one leg directly behind the other as far back as it will go with the heel on the floor. The front leg is bent, back leg straight. No turnout at all, toally parallel. Gently press the heel of the back leg to the floor and hold for about 10 seconds, and then do the other leg, and repeat.

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One needs to keep in mind that, often times, the pain we feel shows up at the terminus of the problem and is not actually the source. In this case, the pain could in fact be coming from your upper leg. In addition to the other suggestions already given here, I'd look at how well you're stretching your hamstrings and gluts. Releasing the gluts and stretching the hamstrings can help you calves.

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Glutes, please, or gluteals. Releasing one's glute is rather different from releasing one's glut! (Raaaaaaaalph!)

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Ah, the cold. Of course. Yes, there's been a sudden drop in outside temperature, and I have not bothered to dress my legs warmer even though I have changed to a warmer jacket and stuff. I can't believe I didn't realize that could be the reason. :)


Ms. Leigh, yes, I stretch my calves whenever I can, always before class and during it, too, if there's some time. The runner's stretch is good.


I did take the class yesterday (bad me), but it doesn't seem to have done any harm to the calves, even though we did a lot of things on demi-pointe that we usually do on flat. (That was so cool, I hope we'll continue that...) For some reason, I didn't get the cramps in class that I got going down stairs etc - probably due to good warmup.


They are better now. Still sore, but more in the normal way. I'll dig up my winter cloths this evening. :D

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