I had physical therapy today to stretch out my calves, hamstrings and hips. Beforehand, I was able to do the elliptical with no problem, followed by the calf stretches on a stair and calf raises on the Bosu ball. At PT, we started with some Active Isolated Stretching, which was a new term for me. This stretching is all about tightening the opposing muscle (from the one you are trying to stretch so that one can relax) and only holding the stretches for 2 seconds. The 2 second hold is to avoid activation of the stretch reflex; shorter stretching encourages a wider range of motion. The physical therapist said my hamstrings and hips are extremely tight. Just sitting all day at a desk can make your hips very tight. I really need to get better about stretching for enough time before and after running. She HIGHLY recommended yoga. I think we should probably do yoga as our cross-training day.
Then she did electrical stimulation on my muscles to help take down the inflammation – what a strange sensation! I could feel it much more in my right calf rather than my left (injured) calf. She said that’s because the fascia in my injured calf is acting as a buffer and dulling the sensation.
Sad news – she said not to run tomorrow. Or Saturday. Maybe Sunday. She said my calves should feel the same before I start to run. Shh…I jogged back from the gym this morning just to see how it would feel. It was a really short jog broken up by walking. Anyway, my left calf feels better than it did a week ago but still does not feel like my right calf. It’s incredibly frustrating just waiting for it to heal. However, I do think this all happened for a reason. Mike, Matt and I all need to be better about stretching out before and after runs as well as using the foam roller and the Stick to massage afterwards.
Here’s an article in Runner’s World about Active Isolated Stretching: http://www.runnersworld.com/injury-treatment/active-isolated-stretching-exercises?page=single