Today I finally returned to the gym after 4 weeks pretty much bedbound. I still walk pretty slow and with a tiny limp that I imagine makes me look pretty funny. But today I put on my bathing suit, packed my bag, and went to the gym. I was a little nervous at first but then I just felt great.
What happened 4 weeks ago you ask? A torn calf or what I like to call my newbie bump. You see, I should have known better. I had been going to the gym pretty much everyday for almost 6 months. Every trainer and instructor has stressed every time the importance of warming up so I should have taken the time to do that instead of jumping into the class late without warming up.
Twenty minutes into the class I felt like something had popped inside my right leg. I could swear I even heard it although my classmates and instructors assured me that was not the case. I immediately was unable to put any weight on the leg and within 5 minutes was sitting and icing and elevating the leg. Somehow I learned that I could walk if I stepped on my toes and was able to drive, yes drive, back home where I kept the leg elevated all night.
Diagnosis: Grade II Calf Strain. Prognosis: 6-8 weeks. FML 😦
During the first 72 hours I took ibuprofen, and did R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). I was really lucky. It never bruised and after 72 hours I was pretty much pain free and was able to move around with crutches. I learned that compression socks are awesome and I will be buying me some more when I am able to get back to zumba classes. On that note, check out these super cute (yet bit expensive) compression socks here, here, and here. [talk to your doctor or trainer before using them]
After a couple of weeks I started taking arnica, massaging the leg and applying heat and by the end of week 3, I was able to drive, put weight on the leg, and walk s l o w l y without the crutches. I’ve been told that the scar tissue is weak and that I must continue taking it easy. Swimming was recommended as a low-impact exercise and once I have more strength I can try the elliptical. I’ll keep you posted.
Moral of the Story: Warm-Up
Although there is no way to know for sure what caused the calf to tear it “usually occurs through a sudden pushing off force or an over-stretching of the calf muscles.” That was exactly what I was doing and I was doing it quite often so why did this happen this time? My best guess is that the muscles weren’t ready for that exercise. So please, don’t skip your warm-up, like ever!
So that’s my story. Hey reader, have you ever suffered an injury? Share your story in the comments or link to your own post. Be well, exercise well, and never ever ever skip your warm-up.
Recommended Reading: The Real Reason You Should Warm Up.