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What exactly is dad bod calves? How does it occur, what can be done to prevent it and how do you get rid of it if you've got it?

Old man's calf is not a medical term but a collective name for acute pain in the calf that arises from small tears in the calf muscles. The name refers to the fact that it is primarily men over 40 who are affected.

The absolute most common causes of old man´s calves are that you put more strain on the calves than age and what perhaps the new amount of training allows. A classic example is a man who previously trained quite a lot, but takes up training after a few years with the same intensity as then but without preparation. The muscles cannot cope with the load they are exposed to and the muscles in the calves are not as elastic as they once were.

Symptoms of dad bod calves

Common symptoms of old man's calf are acute pain, stabbing, tearing or spasm in the calf. Most often in connection with an increased training dose, faster running than usual, e.g. intervals or rushes. It may feel like the condition comes on suddenly, but it may have been building up for a long time, eventually leading to damage.

The most common causes behind dad bod calves

A muscle is made up of a lot of small threads called muscle fibers. If they come off, a scar tissue softens on the muscle, which reduces the elasticity of the musculature. Poor circulation in the legs due to the increased amount of exercise or scarring from a previous injury that reduces blood flow.

The small tears occur in the transition between tendon and muscle. In this area we have receptors that control the tension in the hamstrings and muscles. One theory is that the ruptures occur to prevent the Achilles tendon from tearing. Physiotherapists also talk about the connection between calf muscles and stiffness in the transition between the thoracic spine and the lumbar spine. This may possibly affect circulation in the legs and running technique.

Emergency mode

In the initial stage, you feel an acute pain and stabbing in the calf and that it is difficult to support the leg properly.

In the event of severe rupture, it is important that you immediately stop what you are doing and quickly try to reduce the swelling by wrapping the calf tightly. By doing this, you reduce the rehabilitation time. The swelling occurs immediately after the injury, so it is important to be quick. Using compression stockings can also bring down the swelling.

After that, a high position is recommended to reduce the swelling. Sleep with your foot on a pillow, keep your foot on a stool when sitting on a chair, etc.

Rehab training

It is also important that you keep the calf moving. Massage the calf by, for example, rolling with a rolling pin or stick on the calf (not the front of the calf). Also rotate the foot back and forth, as well as large circular motions. Take it easy and carefully. Gradually increase the load after a couple of days with, for example, rubber bands.

When you can load the calves again, it is good to start with eccentric toe raises. The musculature must be mobile enough so that it can relax during the running step. It is important to start training as soon as the calf is strong and to get the circulation in the legs started. It is equally important to start softly and not overload the calves.

In case of stiffness in the back, see a physiotherapist to check if mobility is impaired.

Contact a physical therapist or chiropractor who can look over your entire movement pattern and give you an exercise program that is just right for your recovery.

Reduce the swelling with compression stockings

Ruptures that occur can cause the calf to swell quickly. By quickly pulling on a compression sock, you can reduce the swelling. This can also help reduce rehabilitation time.

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