Friday, 25 April 2008

pure muscle

i've been having some problems lately with muscle pain & cramps, mainly in my calves. & it's been getting quite frustrating - a lot of the runs that i've been doing, i've felt that i could have kept going for a bit longer, if it weren't for my calves cramping up. i'm pretty sure that this has to do with not stretching properly, combined with the fact that my calves & hamstrings are shorter than normal (i was a toe-walker for a while when i was little, which may have something to do with it!). what would be a normal range of motion for most people has always been a stretch for me (literally!) - i've never even been able to touch my toes. & although i knew this was most likely the cause of the cramping, i thought it might be a good idea to get some professional help - i've read some books & website about proper stretching exercises, but i'm not that great at following static pictured instructions, & find it much easier to learn something if i can see someone else do it.
so, i went to see emma, the lovely physiotherapist at achilles heel in glasgow, for some stretching advice. & i knew the situation was grim right from the start of the appointment - no matter what you've gone in for, it's never good when the professional takes one look at the offending body part & exclaims "oh my GOD!!!!". so it's confirmed - my calves, hamstrings, and hips are incredibly tight & tense, and a strict & extensive stretching regime was prescribed & demonstrated (& then i was tested on it to make sure i was doing them all properly). then, the session was topped off with a quick sports massage on my tight & crampy calves, which is when i was given the good news - although they're far too tight, which needs sorting, my calves have officially been proclaimed as "pure, solid muscle"!!!
now, i've always been a bit self-conscious about my calves - they're pretty chunky, compared to most people's. i can't buy boots higher than ankle-length unless they lace up - anything that pulls on or zips up simply won't go over my enormous calves (not even wellies, which are usually pretty wide at the top!). but now, i know the reason for my larger-than-life legs - an excess of muscle.
too bad then same can't be said of the rest of me - but at least i know now that from the knees down, i'm doing ok.

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