T Nation

Calf Training Led to ER


I posted the other day about overtraining my calves and them hurting four days later. Turns out I went to the doctor and she sent me to the emergency room. I ended up pumping my muscles up so much that my enzyme count reached really high levels (almost 7000 - nomrally they are around 1000). As such, they kept me in the hosptial for 2 nights because with my count so high I had the potential to start breaking down protiens and putting my kidneys at risk.

They also gave me a DVT test to see if the pressure in my calves was so high that they would have to operate. Fortunately, they didn't have to and I was only on an IV which helped flush out my system.

Has anyone heard of this happening?


Nope, you're the first I've heard about.


wtf? how were u training your calves?


that?s some scary shit :smiley:
Never heard of


I did 4 tri-sets
1. Leg Press locked out and pushing up with the calves
2. Reverse press with the calves (works the solus muscle) - not sure of the name of the machine
3. Standing calf raises off a block without any weight.

I did 25 for each (or to failure which was less)

The Dr. said it was because of the calf and had it been say the chest I probably would have been real sore. As many of you probably are, I too am real confused.


Dave tells me to call you a pussy for training calves.

So there.


i train calves once a week, with at least 600-750 lb, 4x20, 4x10, 3x5,last one as many until failure. pussy that.


so pretty much they did nothing for you except an iv???


Ha ha. Nice reference.


It sounds like you had what's called "rhabdomyolysis". It is a situation in which muscle tissue is damaged so severely (due to the combined intensity and volume of your workout in this case) that it creates a tremendous buildup of proteins in your system, which can cause your kidneys to shut down when they can't remove them from your body fast enough. As you already know (I think), it can be a life threatening situation.

Your doc probably said the bit about your chest versus your calves because this condition happens more readily in the muscles of the limbs. The muscles of the arms and legs are compartmentalized by very thick layers of connective tissue. These compartments, which aren't as evident and rigidly separated in the muscles of the torso, allows for a significant build-up of the degraded proteins within the area of damage.

This build-up can lead to chemically induced damage and can also lead to increased pressure within the compartment causing further mechanical tissue damage and in addition to reducing blood flow in and out. Obviously, it is a vicious cycle.

I'm glad you got to your doc and got it addressed when you did. I'm also glad your doc paid attention to everything and got you taken care of.

All the best.


I am glad you could articulate that better than the Doc did. Right now I am icing one of the calves (the other feels fine). Doc said to keep it elevated, ice and no working out for a week.

Any suggestions on keeping all my hard-earned muscle this week?


I read the article too. Wish it came out earlier then it did


Yah just an IV with a saline solution. They might have put medicine in it, but I think it was more to just flush my system.


not saline, mind control solution. join us it's blisssss


Yes.yes and Yes.

Sounds more like Compartment Syndrome to me.

I had
a) crippling pain in my shins and calves
b) creatine toxicity
c) Pressure abnormalities

Unfortunately, I was a total dodo and kept training through it (training for a race, that is). 2 Surgeries and a year later... I'm just starting to train again. Recovering from a fasciotomy is painful and slow. They literally have to go open the compartment enough to welcome the oxygen/nutrient flow back in! ouch!

Get that stuff taken care of, my friend.
It's quite common for it to reoccur, or develop into a chronic problem if you don't get excessive rest.

Visualize (I'm standing by this one)

and repeat.

Good luck!


My DVT test indicated a pressure level of 40. Had it reached 60 they would have had to operate. They mentioned compartment syndrome as worst case scenario. How did you injure yourself?


I developed anterior compartment syndrome (and tore my soleus on top of that, in the L leg) from overtraining (as a runner).

From my understanding there are a few ways to develop this condition:

a) Overuse/Overtraining of the muscle which results in fatigue and muscle development that restricts oxygen/nutrient flow into the fascia (muscle compartments)

-This is possible in both, runners (endurance athletes) and in resistance training, from my understanding..which stems from recreational research, more than anything.

b) A sudden blow to the muscle

c) Silly (read: incredibly stupid) individuals who decide that they can run marathons as a Saturday activity without ever having run, period.

I hope that maybe I've been able to scratch at what you were asking?
I had a really great team of athletic therapists/chiropractor who helped me overcome my 3rd case of compartment syndrome sans surgery.

I honestly had to endure a prescribed weekend of complete and total house arrest with NO WAKLING whatsoever to kick it all off.

Hang in there!