How (not) to treat a calf injury

Every now and then one of my body parts decides it’s had enough and goes on strike. At the start of the year it was my shoulder, but over the last month it’s been my right calf that’s rebelled. I struggled on with it for a bit, as I tend to do, until eventually it got bad enough to force me to rest it. This of course threatened disruption to the furry bottomed members of our family. Over the last few years they’ve been able to count on at least two, often three or four, beach runs each and every week – regardless of weather – and always with that all important off-lead-run-amok section in the middle. Suddenly the chief provider of these weekly jollies was out of action! I called them into the lounge, and broke the bad news to them as gently as possible.


I don’t get it Dad, I mean, you’ve still got three other legs you can run on, right?

I don’t think Biggles properly understood what I was telling him. I’m sure Beanie got it though, and she seemed genuinely concerned – not for my injury (obviously) but for the reduction in doggy service that it would cause. She took it upon herself to heal me in the fastest way she knew how! Later that day when I was on the floor foam-rolling my calf and doing stretches and glute activation, Nurse Beanie came to visit.

Now it has to be said that Nurse Beanie doesn’t have the greatest track record with her patients; a green monkey suffered repeated trauma whilst in her care, while an owl became an involuntary squeaker donor. Nevertheless, I decided to trust her and see what treatment options she would come up with. She began with acupuncture, repeatedly walking over my calf and hamstring while digging her nails in. This didn’t actually make the calf feel any better, but acupuncture does get used for some sports injuries so it didn’t seem unreasonable. Unfortunately, things went rapidly downhill from there. I’ve seen a few physiotherapists in my time but not one of them has ever tried to massage a sore muscle by humping it vigorously and letting a little bit of wee out. Nor have they ever snook into my pockets and tried to initiate a tug of war with a stolen poo bag.

Needless to say that particular therapy session didn’t fix my calf, but it did convince me of the need to maintain some level of weekly off-lead adventures during my convalescence. The next day we went for a gentle walk on the beach, but I still unclipped them for a short constraint-free romp. I was of course concerned that without the running they’d be less inclined to stay with me, but for once and against all the odds, they didn’t misbehave (much).





I stayed off running for a fortnight, during which we repeated the above walk several times. On each occasion both my little scallywags mostly behaved themselves. This week I had a couple of tentative but successful runs, and so today I took Beanie & Biggles for a somewhat vigorous 8k on the beach. When the time came for the off-lead section, the contrary little buggers promptly took off after some birds and left me eating their dust. In due course they returned to me for a handful of chicken, but only once they’d got themselves thoroughly covered in sand and seagull poo.

Beagles. You can always count on them to do the unexpected, unless that’s what you’re expecting.

2 Replies to “How (not) to treat a calf injury”

  1. Susan in DE

    Oh, Nurse Beanie … tsk, tsk, tsk. I don’t think the NMC would approve of your methods. But they are quite humorous, so thank you for that (Isn’t it said that laughter is the best medicine? You are certainly good at that!). Yes, it’s important to wear the little beagles out by alternative means, if necessary. I had a similiar problem in September and October, when I was recovering from having a startled horse jump onto my left big toe (imagine someone whacking your foot with a sledgehammer). Fortunately no broken bones, but there was much swelling, bruising and significant mobility issues for many weeks. My husband had to step in as the giver of long adventure walks, and Nurse Lady thought the best therapy was for her to sleep on my foot elevation pillows at any opportunity (Think “Princess and the Pea”).

  2. Paul Post author

    Yikes – that big toe must have been so painful, but it sounds like Lady made the best of the situation by hogging the pillows. You are however very lucky you didn’t have Nurse Beanie on hand to make your injury “better” :)

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