Oct 21 2013
Hey all, some comments on my YouTube videos chronicling my progress a few years ago prompted me to post again. I was 40 when I ruptured it playing basketball. Here’s where I am today 3 years later - Still doing a fair amount of athletic things, 4-6 hours of Martial Arts per week (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai and Karate), Surfing and Mountain Biking and trail running sprinkled in between. Other than being half a step slower (due to age) and sucking wind because cardio has always been a challenge for me, I’m doing pretty good. I’ll have to admit that my right calf is about 85-90% where it was before the injury, and that it is probably 1.5″ in circumference smaller than before (I’m stocky and have thick calves anyways, so 1.5″ isn’t all that noticeable) but I can tell because it’s my own body. Perhaps, I healed slightly long or the 6-8 weeks of atrophy caused some muscle loss, I’m not sure.
Now I don’t notice the drop off in strength during endurance type sports, like running or mountain biking - even sprints and jump ropes aren’t noticeably different either. I’ve done some 10k runs and longer mountain bike rides with lots of elevation gain without any struggle with the ATRd leg. The only time I notice the weakness is when I’m doing martial arts and I’m kicking off the leg many, many times. I notice it when it starts to fatigue because it affects my balance and technique as you have to balance and pivot off the ball of your foot which relies a lot on calf strength.
I suppose I could really work hard and start doing calf specific strength exercises like I did in the first few weeks of PT to get it stronger, but I think the point is, I really don’t need to to enjoy the things I’m doing in my daily routines. These days, my calf is one of the last things on my mind. At my age and my activities, it’s more about being flexible and recovering from other injuries, like strained backs and neck or tendinitis in my elbow. Martial arts is rough on my body, but good for the soul.