Tennis leg is an injury caused by a tear to the tissue in the calf. This tear can often be incomplete, and it is usually only halfway down the leg. The injury, which affects mostly the calf but can also cause severe pain and leave athletes out of action immediately. The tear might affect the “soleus,” which is a deeper, smaller muscle located under the calf.
This is a common injury for tennis players. These tennis pros place pressure on their legs with sudden jumps and jolts in order to hit the ball. This sudden movement can result in injury.
How can a tennis injury happen?
Tennis players are always under immense pressure. Their legs are under constant pressure. They must be able to move quickly without any preparation and hit every ball that comes their way. The competition is both mentally and physically exhausting. It’s common for patients over 35 to experience it.
Repetitive movements, which are made in quick stops and starts, can often cause this injury. This causes strain and pressure to the lower legs. Sometimes, the injury is accompanied with a loud “pop” and then excruciating pain.
The injury’s name might suggest that it is only tennis, but in reality, it can happen to any athlete. This is a very common injury in sports and is often treated by professionals chiropractors Pretoria.
What are some warning signs?
- Sharp, burning pain radiating down the leg from the calf or lower portion of the leg
- The pain can be compared to being kicked in your calf
- Walking becomes difficult because of pain.
- The calf region is susceptible to swelling
- Treatment options for tennis leg
You should seek immediate medical attention if you have a leg or calf injury. There are many options for treatment, some of which include the following:
Elevation and Ice
The injured person must ensure they receive prompt care for their leg. To reduce swelling, elevate the leg and apply ice to it.
Physical therapy is often necessary to restore movement and function to the legs. This type of therapy can be used to treat the injury. Physical therapy may also include exercises for the legs or a workout to strengthen the injured leg. Some exercises can include heel lifts, stretching, and cardio workouts.
Chiropractic care is non-invasive, safe and effective. It is an excellent choice for helping with leg pain, such as those from playing sports. A soft tissue mobilisation treatment may also be performed by chiropractors.
To reduce swelling and ease pain, doctors will often prescribe an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen.
A doctor would conduct a complete examination of the injured leg. The examination could include xrays, a leg MRI and observation of areas that are hurting. Many times, patients struggle to walk after injury. This could indicate that the injury is tennis-related.
What is the expected tennis leg recovery period?
Most patients recover from injuries in 6 weeks. This recovery time will vary depending on the severity and extent of the injury. The risk of more damage is increased if you delay getting your injury to the legs checked.
How can I prevent tennis leg injuries recurring and becoming more severe?
It is essential to take extra precautions prior, during, or after a match in order to avoid repeated injuries. Sportpersons should warm up properly through cardio exercises such as swimming or cycling. It is essential to stretch before engaging in any sport.
Tennis players can sustain a leg injury. However, this is not true, contrary to popular belief. Sometimes, improper posture during exercise can cause injuries that will require chiropractic treatment.
Although you can take pain killers and elevate your leg to apply ice packs, it is best to get long-term relief. This is because chiropractic is focused upon the musculoskeletal structures and can greatly assist with pain management.
FAQ – Tennis Leg
What is Tennis Leg?
Tennis leg refers to an incomplete rupture of the medial (inside) head of the gastrocnemius (calf) muscle.
What is the time it takes for a tennis leg to heal?
Everybody is different. Some patients may experience a six-week healing period, while others might heal in less than six weeks. The severity of an injury can also affect the healing process.
How can you stop tennis a limb?
It is important to warm up properly before starting the game in order to prevent any possible injury.
Cardio along with stretching will increase blood circulation, and help loosen the muscles. Pretoria’s chiropractor can assist you with specific stretches to stretch your tennis leg.
What is a plantaris tendon tear?
The plantaris muscle is located in the calf and connects to the gastrocnemius. It is also known as a “tennis leg” or a rupture of the plantaris tendon.
What are the symptoms for tennis leg?
Some patients feel a sharp, burning sensation running down their legs and into their calf. Others describe the sensation as similar to being kicked in your calf. An injury to the tennis leg can cause inflammation and swelling of the calf.
Can a Pretoria chiropractor help me with a tennis injury to my leg?
The professionals at a chiropractor are well-trained and have the experience to deal with various injuries and sprains. Chiropractic care can help patients incorporate special exercises and stretches into their day as part of their physical therapy.
What causes Tennis Leg?
This usually results from a sprint or unanticipated change of direction when there is a sudden contraction of the calf muscle with the knee in a straightened (extended) position and the ankle bent (flexed).
Who is Affected by Tennis Leg?
Athletes participating in sports that require jumping, cutting or sprinting including soccer, tennis, and running are usually predisposed to tennis leg injury. This injury is typically seen in players aged 35 to 50. Interestingly, males are affected twice as much as females.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Tennis Leg?
- The pain character is often described as a sudden, sharp, burning sensation in the calf. Often times patients report that a snapping sound was heard.
- Activity is usually terminated due to the severity of the injury.
- After the injury there may be mild swelling and bruising, and the muscle may be sensitive to touch.
- Tip toe walking often results in increased weakness and pain.
How is Tennis Leg Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of a calf muscle tear is made based on symptoms, history of the injury, and a physical examination. Often times a musculoskeletal ultrasound or MRI will also be requested to determine the extent of the damage to the tendons and muscle, as well as to exclude a potential Achilles tendon rupture.
How is Tennis Leg Treated?
The initial treatment approach is of utmost importance since it helps reduce the healing time. Apply the POLICE principle:
- optimal loading,
- compression, and
Activity should be terminated straight away upon injury. A cold pack should be used over the affected area for twenty minutes every two hours. Swelling and bleeding within the calf muscle can be reduced by applying compression bandage over the affected area as well as elevating the lower leg. Physical therapy including chiropractic care may be necessary to restore movement and function to the legs. A soft tissue mobilisation treatment may also be performed by chiropractors.
How Can Tennis Leg be Prevented?
There are numerous ways to help prevent re-injury. Imbalances and weaknesses in the hip abductors, hip flexors, hamstrings and quadriceps should be addressed with a strengthening program. A warmup and cool down program should be incorporated 10 – 15 minutes before and after training sessions. Ensure that you have the appropriate footwear.
When Can I Return to Sport?
The severity of the rupture will ultimately determine the recovery time. Most patients recover from tennis leg injury within 3 to 16 weeks. Return to full activity should not be based on time, but rather on functional assessment.
A gradual return to sports is allowed once limp-free walking and 15 single leg calf raises can be done by the patient. Activity should be discontinued if pain flares up – ignoring the pain at this stage will prolong the recovery time. Rehabilitation can be facilitated by strengthening the calf muscles with eccentric calf raises from a step. Avoid over-stretching during rehabilitation as it may exacerbate the injury. Downhill walking or running should also be excluded from activity during the initial rehabilitation phase.
Full training may be pursued as soon as a patient is able to take an easy, limp-free run for half an hour and do 15 single leg heel raises (3 sets) with knees straight and bent without causing pain. The approach should allow adequate rest and continue gradually.