Two torn muscles and a stress reaction

The results from the MRI on my left calf are in.

“…intermediate grade myotendinous junction partial thickness tear of strain injury of the medial head of the gastrocnemius muscle in the mid-calf…” “Low grade myotendinous junction tears or strain injuries of the proximal soleus muscle in the upper calf both medially and laterally.” “… low grade tibial stress reaction.”

So what the heck does this mean? I believe it means I have a Grade 2 tear in my gastroc, several Grade 1 tears in my soleus, and a Grade 1 stress fracture of my tibia.

Gastroc and Soleus

So what does that actually mean? Well, according to my physio: “You’ve done your leg good!” (as in bad).

Actually, it’s not too bad. A Grade 1 injury usually means up to 2 weeks recovery; Grade 2 means 5-8 weeks; Grade 3 can take 3 months or more, and sometimes require surgery. Grade 1 tibial stress fractures are common in distance runners and do not always lead to an injury.

So that’s good news – no surgery, no surprise injuries. It’s all treatable with rest, acupuncture and massage – pretty much continuing what I’ve been doing for the last month anyway.

What I’m not sure about, is how far through the 5-8 weeks am I? I did this injury five weeks ago and it is not much better today. I guess that means I still have another 5-8 weeks to go.

Unfortunately I have the Noosa Triathlon booked in 5 weeks. With this diagnosis, I might not be able to run the 10km; if it hasn’t improved from now, I’ll struggle to walk it. I’ve got three weeks before the 50% refund deadline – after that, they keep the lot! We’ll wait and see…

And it certainly doesn’t fill me with confidence for the epic Tararua Mountain Race in March!

Calf MRI showing Grade 2 tear

MRI cross-section of calf (you get hundreds) – “Mmmmm. Steak!”

All those injuries in one leg – I do wonder what they’d find if they scanned my right calf, which has been my main problem leg over the last two years!

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2 Responses to Two torn muscles and a stress reaction

  1. I love MRI images a bit more than I should. That said when I got a back scan I spent a while looking at them thinking “WTF IS THAT? IS THAT NORMAL?” for about 2 weeks before I got to see the consultant!

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