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L Lower Leg, Other

2011-10-03 – ?

Grade: 2

Significant muscle wastage still in calf. Big non-muscle lump (15cm x 7cm) first noticed in October Varicosity? No pain.
Initially Beckham-leg. gradually got better.
April. Twitching furiously, still misshapen, not running evenly.
Physio. Comedy weakness compared with other leg. Some exercises to do, also core (in)stability.
August. Many exercises later, still misshapen, still weak, no improvement. Post-run aches always different to other leg, usually less tired. Maybe a nerve problem?

One year on, no progress.

Feb 28 : FASIC doctor. Has no idea, but reckons its not the gastrocnemius, but two other muscles basically inactive. Can't stand/balance on left leg or restore big toe to position. He reckons its nerve damage, unlikely to recover, but possible.

Referred to specialist. Still running lopsided.

Saw Dr Thomson - orthopedic. Uninterested and unconvincing. Definitely gastroc. Something to do with those scars on the leg Referred for EMG and MRI.

Letter from Mr McKinley "I now have the results of your nerve conduction studies which it was felt may just be as a results of irritation of one of the nerve roots" (n.b. root=top bit, in the back). The change in voice of the verb is the most instructive thing here.

EMG Moran. (convincing, competent, candid bordering on unprofessional)
spent a lot of time ranting about why I got referred to a podiatrist (Colin Thomson) for a calf problem with probable cause in the back.
Moran reckons its back to gastrocnemius wastage (Jane's idea). Examination wasn't as thorough, so I tend to believe FASIC on that. Also didn't see much wrong with firing muscles, so probably a trapped nerve back problem.

Sep 30. Dr Ray - orthopedic. More interested in his lunch.
(see training log)

Oct 11 Wrote to ask for details.

Oct 12 Calf circumference difference ~ 1in

Oct 13 Physio advice from Kim. Some hope that a nerve might reconnect.

Jan 14
Hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy.

There's probably no good way to tell someone they have a progressive, incurable debilitating disease. Probably the best is if its the fifth different diagnosis from the fifth different doctor on the same symptoms. It probably also helps if you already spent five minutes going through the MRI scan from the wrong patient. That way the patient is unlikely to believe a word you say and not get freaked by it.

Unfortunately, Jane tells me its all consistent with the twitching calves and random cramping at rest I've had for 30 years. And that the best way to delay onset is to exercise your legs.

So, this is the end of the story. From now on I'm running without a left calf muscle. It doesn't hurt, and eventually I can build up compensation for balance. But don't figure on racing at the top level competitively ever again.

2015 season: wastage still clear, but compensating muscles have improved balance significantly. WMA age-adjusted 5km time settled about 7% down on age 40, when overall I felt similarly trained.

2016. Mum is unable to walk around due to "wobbly legs", though the house and stairs are still fine for her. This hereditary neuropathy thing (on X-chromosome) is looking more likely.