Sammy-Watson-InjurySammy Watkins suffered a new ankle injury during the Bengals game Sunday in what was his first time back on the field after a previous calf injury. While it is not uncommon to have another injury occur due to over compensation for an existing, this can especially happen in cutting or sharp stops in cleats just as Watkins did when he had to come back to the ball.  Following an injury, the tissue is typically less flexible, even as the area begins to feel better and a player starts to resume familiar activity. Likewise, smaller compensation injuries can occur with something even as simple as a new model of a running shoe that alters the gait cycle and changes a runner’s stance all the way up through the hips.  Pain in the calf is not a normal condition and should be an immediate sign to stop, evaluate, and reengage with different shoes, or more involved stretching, or remediation of a separate injury being compensated for altogether.

The main difference between pain and general soreness from an involved work out, can oftentimes be clear indication that a stress-related injury is brewing. When your foot lands and the arch compresses to absorb shock, a running shoe (with e.g., support directed at pronation to accommodate for a foot and/or ankle configuration that has been altered by an injury) may cause your arch to land in a way that redistributes impact from the ground unfavorably along the calf. Depending on the magnitude and frequency of impact, micro-fractures in shin can occur and the calf muscles can tear, all as a result of initially compensating for pronation. Protective compression sleeves for the calf, ankle and shin can help to some degree in providing support while ensuring range of motion. Particularly for something as vascular as the calf, other progressive exercises should be employed once pain settles in before taking it full speed back on the road or the field.

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