Forum: Highland / Highland - Adult Dancers

Tight calves & Achilles Tendons - Please help!!
By TamrasMom
On Tue Jun 14, 2011 07:07 AM

Over the past 3 months I've been suffering from progressively stiffer and tighter calf muscles and Achilles tendons. When I wake up in the morning, it takes a few steps before I can actually walk properly and after less than one hour dancing, I'm in agony.

I stretch constantly; ice them after dancing and have sought massage therapy treatments, all to no avail. They just keep getting tighter and stiffer and progressively worse.

Has anyone experienced this type of injury before and how did you combat it? I have medal exams on Friday and the competition in Antigonish coming up. I've already reduced the number of exams I'm taking because I simply cannot get through all the Highlands, nationals, jig & hornpipe in one day due to pain.

Please help!!

14 Replies to Tight calves & Achilles Tendons - Please help!!

re: Tight calves & Achilles Tendons - Please help!!
By kinsidhe
On Tue Jun 14, 2011 07:56 AM
Hi,

I'm no expert by any stretch-I dont know if you are sore from overuse or from injury so take what is useful and leave the rest.

I have found the Tigerbalm is really wonderful for relaxing and soothing sore muscles and it even worked well when I pulled a muscle.

The down dog yoga stretch is a really nice stretch for the whole back of the leg and I know sometime the calves over tighten to compensate for tight hamstrings. If you can manage it perhaps trying this stretch a couple times through out the day will help.

Time is probably going to be on your side if you can rest the sore bits-though i know with testing coming up that will be difficult.

Another suggestion is you might think about posting this on the injury board under advice cos I know there are few people there who do know what they are talking about who respond to people's queries and I have found them helpful.

I'm sorry you have going through this...I hope it resovles itself quickly.

My best wishes and good luck for your testing.
re: Tight calves & Achilles Tendons - Please help!!
By TamrasMom
On Tue Jun 14, 2011 08:17 AM
Thanks for responding so quickly Kinsidhe! I'll give the downward dog stretches a try and look into Tigerbalm. I've also just found the "injuries" board as well, so will give that a try!
re: Tight calves & Achilles Tendons - Please help!!
By highlandmum67
On Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:31 AM
It might be best to get yourself into a good Sports physiotherapist as quickly as possible. My youngest DD had a very minor ankle roll during a burns concert which we treated at home and she was back dancing within a day. Over the next 6 months she experienced increasing pain in her foot, which started after multiple days of dancing and gradually became so severe she couldnt finish a lesson without pain, couldnt walk and ended up in a airboot cast. A trip to sports physio and an MRI showed she had a bone bruise which had resulted from chronic tendonitis due to an old high ankle sprain. 4 months of physio 3 days a week and she is good as new but it was a lesson for us that sometimes even the most minor of injuries causes the body to compensate or work in a way that results in major injuries later. Best to get the experts to check everything out now so you will heal quicker in the long run.
re: Tight calves & Achilles Tendons - Please help!!
By dancersmom5
On Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:43 AM
I second the suggestion of a good sports physiotherapist. There is no substitute!! The physio we use has been fantastic for my daughter and really helped us gain insight as to why pain/injuries were taking place and assisted with treatment and injury prevention. If you are in that much pain there has to be a reason and better to find out from an expert what it is as soon as possible.
re: Tight calves & Achilles Tendons - Please help!!
By zig
On Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:08 AM
I would agree with going to a physiotherapist asap. i know they are pricey but as older dancers (me too) we cannot let things go, as any injury could shelf us. i am presently struggling with newly diagnosed tibial tendinitis and muscle damage in my right leg and ankle, so i hear your frustration. (I am going to antogonish as well). Below is my list of tricks for recovery from sore/overused muscles.
1. Put on a large sock(I use my hubbies) and pack it with ziploc bags of ice to make an ice boot post exertion.
2. Have a hot bath with loads of apsom salts.
3. Massage legs and calves with a535 or bengay lotion(like tigerbalm).
4. Do stretches post dance every time.... i know this one is hard.
5. take several days off per week to rest.
6. If very stiff/sore, go and practice your dances standing in a pool, it provides extra resistance without any impact.
Best of luck, and cannot wait to see the other adult dancers take the stage at NS!
re: Tight calves & Achilles Tendons - Please help!!
By TamrasMom
On Tue Jun 14, 2011 01:26 PM
THanks so much Zig, et al! I can't get to physio before my exams on Friday so have reduced the number of dances that I'm going to be tested on and have started the rest/ice/heat/elevation routine with Ibuprofen. Love the idea of an ice sock! I have a salt water hot tub, hopefully that'll work ;o)

Cheers, and look for me in Antigonish.... I wear a black & white tartan and I'm in my 40's!
re: Tight calves & Achilles Tendons - Please help!!
By alicatunh
On Tue Jun 14, 2011 07:16 PM
When I first started highland, even though I had lots of experience with other dances, I had the same problem. I am lucky to have a physical therapist for a mom - so she told me to ice and elevate for the first hour when i got home - don't even get in a hot shower before you get those feet up.

Other than rest and building up those muscles over time, what helped me was the right pair of walking shoes. I work in Boston, so part of my problem was dancing, having sore legs then walking a fast 2 miles in the wrong shoes. Figure out what kind of feet you have - go to a running store or even one of those "Dr Schols" insole machines - and get the right shoes. I actually wore my sneakers around work for most Wednesdays - the day after dance class- just because it was such a relief after I found the right ones. I have flat, wide feet and New Balance are a god send!
re: Tight calves & Achilles Tendons - Please help!!
By tavcandancePremium member
On Wed Jun 15, 2011 07:13 AM
Hi TamrasMom, so sorry to hear about your aches and pains, no fun! My daughter has very tight muscles and has to stretch constantly to keep her flexibility. She was suffering form sore calves and friends recommended this to us and she loves it!! You can buy these at The Running Room.

www.shop.runningroom.com . . .

www.shop.runningroom.com . . .
re: Tight calves & Achilles Tendons - Please help!!
By zig
On Wed Jun 15, 2011 08:25 AM
I will look for you! I wear dress blue ireland and am in my very late(cough cough) twenties:)
re: Tight calves & Achilles Tendons - Please help!!
By TamrasMom
On Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:54 PM
Thanks Alicatunh & TavDance. I have now stopped wearing any shoes other than ones that I can put my orthotics into and will definitely look into the muscle rollers! I had a private dance class today and it actually went pretty well. Must now ice and elevate!

Cheers,
re: Tight calves & Achilles Tendons - Please help!!
By MoMontreal
On Wed Jun 15, 2011 07:24 PM
Sorry to hear about your muscle problems. I was just talking about this with my athletic therapist this morning. She spent a good 15 minutes working a knot out of my calf, then more time on the Achilles tendon! She had me lie on my stomach with my foot up (bent at the knee) and massaged the tendon and rotated my foot around at the same time (not something I would suggest be done by an amateur). I agree with the others who suggest a good athletic therapist! They are wonderful! Also, don't wear high heels or flip flops! They are murder on the calves!

Good luck, see you in Antigonish!
re: Tight calves & Achilles Tendons - Please help!!
By TamrasMom
On Thu Jun 16, 2011 02:20 PM
Hi MoMontreal! Looking forward to seeing you in Antigonish as well. I've been getting massage therapy from a really great massage/athletic therapist for the past 4 months but there doesn't seem to be any improvement. The icing and Ibuprofen recently has been helping, as well as the salt water hot tubs.... hopefully I'll make it through my medal tests tomorrow (I already reduced the number of exams i'm taking due to this injury) and then keep fingers crossed that this regime will be okay for the competition!

Cheers,
re: Tight calves & Achilles Tendons - Please help!!
By TamrasMom
On Sat Jun 18, 2011 06:31 AM
Thanks to all for your comments and suggestions. I made it through my medal exams unscathed and my legs actually felt pretty good. They're a little sore this morning, but manageable!

Slainte!
re: Tight calves & Achilles Tendons - Please help!!
By Cheesemoo
On Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:32 AM
I agree with the physio recommendation if you can afford it! The good thing is, you're going to learn exercises that you can write down and use if you have this problem again, so you're not really paying for just a brief session. Especially when it involves the Achilles tendon, I would seek some medical help.

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