White Willow Bark for relieving running pain

Question:

Cassie writes,

I bought the White Willow Bark @nowfoods and was wondering if you could tell me a little about it, or if I got the right one. I noticed here were two for sore muscles. I got it because my legs, mainly my calves, have been sore from running.

Answer:

Calf pain is a serious symptom so following a careful protocol to fix it before it gets worse is important.

So white willow bark has the active ingredient salicin, which is a mild anti-inflammatory. The effects are very quick (30 minutes or so), and white willow bark relieves pain by mitigating the inflammation, and thus the pain. However, white willow bark won’t solve the biomechanical problems that are causing the pain. That’s likely caused by an insufficient range of motion in a joint or a deactivated muscle group. I’d need to do a lower leg assessment to determine the cause. We can also strengthen the antagonistic muscle groups, the tibialis anterior which might help relieve the pain by causing your toe to flex. We several special machines for that. I’d also work in some myofascial release techniques with an ice roller.

The pains in your calves are likely an early warning sign of something more serious such as a future Achilles tendon injury or plantar fasciitis. So the white willow bark, in combination with other anti-inflammatories (we sell about 8 different types that work together), plus mobility training and isometrics on the tibialis anterior.  It would take about a month of training before we saw some overall improvement in the pain.  Also, taking a break from running while we repair the damage will expedite the recovery.

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