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View Full Version : Calf Muscle Injury Today - Anyone Else?


JackB1
12-12-2009, 10:32 AM
I was playing today in about 35 degree temps and was in my 3rd game and was running to get to a ball and all of a sudden I felt a sharo pain in the back, middle of my right calf. It felt like I was shot. I went down immediately and had to limp off the court and take a forfeit.

Does anyone have any experience with this type of injury? Did I snap or tear something? Any idea how long I will be away from tennis? Right now I am RICE-ing it and staying off the leg. I might need to get crutches or something to get around a little easier.

mikeler
12-12-2009, 10:40 AM
I had to do no tennis for 3-4 weeks and then I was ready to get back out on the court. My injury occurred my first time playing tennis again in years. I was gassing out quick and my opponent was killing me with drop shots. I took off hard for yet another drop shot and right in the middle of the calf is where I got the pain. I also had to default the match. Walking the first week was tough unless I did a sideways "crab" walk that would always embarass whoever I was walking with! Use RICE, enjoy the holidays and you'll be back on the court after New Years.

Cody
12-12-2009, 10:44 AM
About 4 weeks ago, my leg was hit from the side when i was landing in a basketball game, the resulting pain also made me fall to the ground.

When i press my injured area it feels like a bruise but when i do activities certain movements cause pain and i haven't felt any decrease in these pains.

I have been still playing cause my team was in two different comp finals which were very important.

Where is the pain in your leg, does it hurt when you press or all the time.

Ken Honecker
12-12-2009, 11:37 PM
You either torn or strained your gastroc muscle. Treat it with a combination of ice and gentle stretching. If it is a strain it will take 2-3 weeks before you are ready to play. If you tore it you are looking more in the 4-6 week range. I've done both to my legs more times than I can count but only once playing tennis. Usually I start lifting weights to get the strength back which gives you a pretty good idea when it is about normal. If it swells up more than a couple of inches it is probably torn. The docs can treat it by running electric current through it to make it heal faster which is what I did the first time. Sadly I have to tell you that once hurt these muscles are more likely to trouble you in the future.

charliefedererer
12-13-2009, 07:15 AM
I had to do no tennis for 3-4 weeks and then I was ready to get back out on the court. My injury occurred my first time playing tennis again in years. I was gassing out quick and my opponent was killing me with drop shots. I took off hard for yet another drop shot and right in the middle of the calf is where I got the pain. I also had to default the match. Walking the first week was tough unless I did a sideways "crab" walk that would always embarass whoever I was walking with! Use RICE, enjoy the holidays and you'll be back on the court after New Years.

Sorry to hear about your injury. New injuries after a layoff from another injury, or after any absense from the game. (And to make it worse, it's like adding insult to injury.) I guess your experience just reinforces how necessary it is to keep working out for tennis, and even when "in shape" with the quick starts and stops of tennis, new injuries are still all too common.

charliefedererer
12-13-2009, 07:34 AM
I was playing today in about 35 degree temps and was in my 3rd game and was running to get to a ball and all of a sudden I felt a sharo pain in the back, middle of my right calf. It felt like I was shot. I went down immediately and had to limp off the court and take a forfeit.

Does anyone have any experience with this type of injury? Did I snap or tear something? Any idea how long I will be away from tennis? Right now I am RICE-ing it and staying off the leg. I might need to get crutches or something to get around a little easier.

The timing to come back is impossible to predict right now, although its more likely in weeks, not days. Basically, when the acute pain has subsided, you can begin to test it with a short light jog, then some faster running, and then by a changing direction drill. The trouble with playing tennis is the need for sudden starts and stops. Before you are back to playing, you may find that you can jog or bike ride, but not take the twisting motions involved in tennis. It probably would be good to start back on court with a short hitting session or two, rather than risk reinjury going all out in a match.
Obviously if the pain is persisting, you potentially could need to be checked out with a medical exam and MRI, but your rest and RICE approach right now seems appropriate for a likely muscle tear/sprain. (The fact that it's the middle of your calf, and not at either end where the major muscles thin out to tendons and attatch to the bones is somewhat reassuring, but clearly exactly what is going on in your calf over the internet are impossible.)
Unfortunately, injuries heal no faster today than a hundred years ago, even though the hectic pace of modern life makes us less prepared to accept the long healing process.
Best wishes for as quick a recovery as possible.

By the way, I played at about the same temp yesterday, and am doing so today. I hate to play in heavy sweats, but kept them on to keep the muscles warm. Any further thoughts from you about whether it was the weather that did you in?

Fedace
12-13-2009, 07:37 AM
Sorry to hear about your injury. New injuries after a layoff from another injury, or after any absense from the game. (And to make it worse, it's like adding insult to injury.) I guess your experience just reinforces how necessary it is to keep working out for tennis, and even when "in shape" with the quick starts and stops of tennis, new injuries are still all too common.

Agree, Stretching and Yoga is critical during the layoff. and light weight workouts in between will keep you in shape for when you comeback.:)

mikeler
12-13-2009, 07:50 AM
Sorry to hear about your injury. New injuries after a layoff from another injury, or after any absense from the game. (And to make it worse, it's like adding insult to injury.) I guess your experience just reinforces how necessary it is to keep working out for tennis, and even when "in shape" with the quick starts and stops of tennis, new injuries are still all too common.


The calf pull happened to me 6 years ago when I decided to get back into tennis by playing a singles league match. Bad idea! Played a set of doubles today, so I'm easing back into things as you have recommended in other threads.

AAAA
12-13-2009, 08:16 AM
People who snap their achilles tendon have described the experience as like being 'shot' in the half or felt a hammer blow to the back of the lower leg. Did you also hear a popping sound?

Get medical attention asap. Hopefully it's a muscle tear of less and not an achilles tendon injury.

Kick_It
12-13-2009, 08:18 AM
The best thing to do is call a doctor. RICE is the next best thing you can do - short of going and seeing a doc or a PT and getting a diagnosis.

Sounds kind of like when I ruptured my plantaris - (though I though I heard a pop sound - and it felt like someone hit my leg w/ a racquetball). I phoned in and spoke with a doc on call, he asked me a few questions and within 5 minutes he gave me a decent plan until I could get in for an appointment.

Get it checked out. DO NOT STRETCH IT anytime soon, doing so is likely to compound your injury (happened to me when I had a grade 2 tear of my soleus).

I'm not a doc or a PT, I don't play one on TV or the web either. I've just had a few injuries. Good Luck! K_I

JackB1
12-13-2009, 09:19 AM
thanks for all the advice guys. Sounds like I got a typical case of "tennis calf". It feels a little better today after a full day of RICE-ing it. I can walk gingerly and slowly without crutches today and the pain is less. The good thing is taking 2-3 weeks off will also help heal my tennis elbow :). I DEFINITELY didn't warn up and stretch enough yesterday...especially on such a cold day. That was just asking for trouble and I blame myself. I usually dont need much warmup, but being 50 now, I have to be more careful. Also, now that I think of it, the backs of my calfs have been a little "achey" for the previous week after playing. I just attributed it to my falt feet, but I guess that was a warning sign.

Once I get back to playing, I will have to adopt a serious warmup and stetching regimen before getting into a match.
I also might just stick to doubles for a while, instead of singles.

jbravo
12-13-2009, 10:22 AM
I've done strained both calfs over the past two years. The first time I iced and stayed off of it and it took 3 to 4 months to get back to normal. The second time I tore my other calf playing tennis and I decided to go to the doctor and see about rehab. Best decision I've ever made. They gave me deep tissue message and ultrasonic as well as ice. They showed me how to properly ice the calf and gave me several different stretches. Stretching is the most important thing you can do so be diligent about it. I was back on the court in two months with no pain and now I diligenly stretch before and after every match. I haven't had a problem since then.

JackB1
12-14-2009, 05:25 AM
I've done strained both calfs over the past two years. The first time I iced and stayed off of it and it took 3 to 4 months to get back to normal. The second time I tore my other calf playing tennis and I decided to go to the doctor and see about rehab. Best decision I've ever made. They gave me deep tissue message and ultrasonic as well as ice. They showed me how to properly ice the calf and gave me several different stretches. Stretching is the most important thing you can do so be diligent about it. I was back on the court in two months with no pain and now I diligenly stretch before and after every match. I haven't had a problem since then.

Day 3 and I am walking again. Only needed crutches for the first day, so I guess it's not so bad.

Anyone care to share some rehab exercises for the calf and some good stretches to do before playing?

mike53
12-14-2009, 06:35 AM
The standard protocol here is to immobilize the ankle until an MRI has ruled out the posibility of serious tendon injuries. Otherwise you run the risk of making things premanently worse.

jbravo
12-14-2009, 12:19 PM
Day 3 and I am walking again. Only needed crutches for the first day, so I guess it's not so bad.

Anyone care to share some rehab exercises for the calf and some good stretches to do before playing?

Yes, don't mess around with this injury. Go see a doctor and make sure you understand the degree of strain. You can't rehab properly until you know what your dealing with.

I only went to 3 rehab sessions and they showed me the proper stretching techniques.

The first stretch was to sit on the floor or on the bed with your injured leg straight out in front of you. Take a belt or flexible band and loop it round the foot and gently pull toward you. The band should be closer to the balls of your feet to get that stretch. I did that 10 times for 15 seconds twice a day.

The second stretch was to lean against a wall, chair or fence and straighten your heal to the ground and hold it for 15 seconds, again 10 reps twice a day.

The last stretch I did was to stand on the edge of a step and gently lower your heals down and stretch the calf muscle.

These stretches are painful at first but the more you do them the better your calf will feel. At the start of the session I would be limping severely but after doing all the stretches I could feel a noticable difference. Your calf will stiffen up if you sit all day so it's good to stretch throughout the day.

I can attest that failure to rehab the calf will lead to future issues with that calf. I strained my other calf two years ago and DID NOT rehab the calf properly and it still gives me issues to this day. The calf that I rehabed gives me no problems at all.

It's worth it to do it right the first time, don't skimp on this. I never see doctors but I'm glad I had it treated correctly because they showed me how prevent future injuries to that area.

JackB1
12-14-2009, 12:40 PM
Yes, don't mess around with this injury. Go see a doctor and make sure you understand the degree of strain. You can't rehab properly until you know what your dealing with.

I only went to 3 rehab sessions and they showed me the proper stretching techniques.

The first stretch was to sit on the floor or on the bed with your injured leg straight out in front of you. Take a belt or flexible band and loop it round the foot and gently pull toward you. The band should be closer to the balls of your feet to get that stretch. I did that 10 times for 15 seconds twice a day.

The second stretch was to lean against a wall, chair or fence and straighten your heal to the ground and hold it for 15 seconds, again 10 reps twice a day.

The last stretch I did was to stand on the edge of a step and gently lower your heals down and stretch the calf muscle.

These stretches are painful at first but the more you do them the better your calf will feel. At the start of the session I would be limping severely but after doing all the stretches I could feel a noticable difference. Your calf will stiffen up if you sit all day so it's good to stretch throughout the day.

I can attest that failure to rehab the calf will lead to future issues with that calf. I strained my other calf two years ago and DID NOT rehab the calf properly and it still gives me issues to this day. The calf that I rehabed gives me no problems at all.

It's worth it to do it right the first time, don't skimp on this. I never see doctors but I'm glad I had it treated correctly because they showed me how prevent future injuries to that area.

How soon after the injury did you start stretching and rehab?

Carlito
12-14-2009, 01:21 PM
I always have had problems cramping even as junior. Particularly in the calfs but it usaully doesn't happen untill a very long match, 5 sets or so. I know all the streatching routines to avoid it.

So I am concerned now because my calves really hurt. Almost like a cramp but not as sever. They are swollen and it is causing me to limp. I thought it might be a form of crampimg, but it is happening 3 games (not sets) in to a match. It is cold so I might just be tightening up. I hear it could be a circulation problem. What kind of doctor do I need to go to to get it checked out?

JackB1
12-14-2009, 01:43 PM
I always have had problems cramping even as junior. Particularly in the calfs but it usaully doesn't happen untill a very long match, 5 sets or so. I know all the streatching routines to avoid it.

So I am concerned now because my calves really hurt. Almost like a cramp but not as sever. They are swollen and it is causing me to limp. I thought it might be a form of crampimg, but it is happening 3 games (not sets) in to a match. It is cold so I might just be tightening up. I hear it could be a circulation problem. What kind of doctor do I need to go to to get it checked out?

Be VERY careful! I felt them tightening up a week before I tore it.

5263
12-14-2009, 02:07 PM
thanks for all the advice guys. Sounds like I got a typical case of "tennis calf". It feels a little better today after a full day of RICE-ing it. I can walk gingerly and slowly without crutches today and the pain is less. The good thing is taking 2-3 weeks off will also help heal my tennis elbow :). I DEFINITELY didn't warn up and stretch enough yesterday...especially on such a cold day. That was just asking for trouble and I blame myself. I usually dont need much warmup, but being 50 now, I have to be more careful. Also, now that I think of it, the backs of my calfs have been a little "achey" for the previous week after playing. I just attributed it to my falt feet, but I guess that was a warning sign.

Once I get back to playing, I will have to adopt a serious warmup and stetching regimen before getting into a match.
I also might just stick to doubles for a while, instead of singles.

You should consider a rehab product that I was given by my Dr. called vitalzym ---(VZ). I tore a calf bad and had to be assisted off the court in a match.
After 3 days of the VZ I was walking normally and after 5, I was back on the court and then played another league match and won after only 7 days. I was not expecting this at all as I was 48 at the time! It will also clear up that tennis elbow as well due to how it works with inflammation.
google it and see what you think.
hope it helps,

jbravo
12-14-2009, 03:38 PM
How soon after the injury did you start stretching and rehab?

Two days. I went to the Doctor the day after my injury and went to rehab the day after that. I began stretching during rehab and didn't stop for 8 weeks. They instructed me to take 600 mg of ibuprofen twice a day for a week. The deep tissue message was very painful but helped the healing process by working the calcium deposits (knots) out of my calf.
Do youself a favor and consult a physician.

JackB1
12-14-2009, 04:41 PM
You should consider a rehab product that I was given by my Dr. called vitalzym ---(VZ). I tore a calf bad and had to be assisted off the court in a match.
After 3 days of the VZ I was walking normally and after 5, I was back on the court and then played another league match and won after only 7 days. I was not expecting this at all as I was 48 at the time! It will also clear up that tennis elbow as well due to how it works with inflammation.
google it and see what you think.
hope it helps,

Vitalzym isn't a doctor prescribed drug. Its a "natural" medicine or dietary suppliment for joint pain, like Glucosamine. I don't think there is any medical proof that it works or not.

charliefedererer
12-15-2009, 06:58 AM
The basic idea in rehab is to do the stretching to prevent excessive scar tissue formation that could result in loss of range of motion.
With the inflammatory response after an injury, fibroblasts are recreated to the site, and they lay down fibrin strands that are interlinked to form the collagen (scar) tissue that binds the edges, and fills in the area of the injury. This is all necessary and "good". The problem arises if the collagen is laid down in a pattern that incorporates too much of the muscles/tendons/ligaments, so that normal range of motion is inhibited by this healing scar tissue. Simple normal range of motion without weights or much force will break up the crosslinks of collagen that are in an abnormal direction, as the initial crosslinks are very weak.

It takes a few weeks before the newly laid down collagen and crosslinks have any "tensile" strength that will allow true strengthening exercises to begin, and they should always start out with low force loads and gradually increase (along with the increasing strength of the healing wound).

Of course this is all best carried out under the direction of therapists/trainers, but I thought it might help to provied a description of what is going on at the tissue level.

charliefedererer
12-15-2009, 07:19 AM
Once I get back to playing, I will have to adopt a serious warmup and stetching regimen before getting into a match.
I also might just stick to doubles for a while, instead of singles.

It is now generally agreed that optimal athletic performance occurs after a "dynamic" warmup and that static stretching should be left until immediately after you have played or worked out.

There have been numerous studies that show that static stretching before exercise actually decreases strength.

Before tennis, I like to do a light jog, then a simple on court drill that involves sideskipping to the right along the baseline, a foreward run along the right sideline, sideskipping to the left just in front of the net, and then running backwards along the left baseline to complete the square. (This was Brad Gilbert's routine he mentions in Winning Ugly.) I'll do this a few times then do some lunges. At a minimum for my arms I'll do some forehand, backhand and service motion swings. Then start the hit up with moderate swings and progress into normal swings. Serving practice starts with slow swings and works up to full first serve motions. (If I play at the courts two blocks from my home in the evening and am time pressed to start an evening match, I will do a short stint on my Nordic track, some situps, and forehand and backhand motions with elastic tubing for a quick 5 minute warmup. I see a local coach starts her morning with a few court drills and pulls out elastic tubing she attatches to the fence to do some work before going out for her hitting drills.)

After play it really is a good idea to do static stretching to maintain a full range of motion and prevent later cramping.

http://www.playerdevelopment.usta.com/content/fullstory.sps?iNewsid=114698&itype=7418

JackB1
12-17-2009, 10:47 AM
well, I went to the Dr today (sports medicine) and it was a waste of time. He didn't tell me anything I hadn't already found out on the internet......It's between a 1 & 2 degree calf strain and it will take about 8 weeks to fully heal. I can start light hitting after 4 weeks. Start stretching exercises immediately, but stop when you feel any pain. Go easy at first to avoid reinjuring it. Continue to ice it 2X a day.

jbravo
12-18-2009, 11:25 AM
well, I went to the Dr today (sports medicine) and it was a waste of time. He didn't tell me anything I hadn't already found out on the internet......It's between a 1 & 2 degree calf strain and it will take about 8 weeks to fully heal. I can start light hitting after 4 weeks. Start stretching exercises immediately, but stop when you feel any pain. Go easy at first to avoid reinjuring it. Continue to ice it 2X a day.

Did the Dr refer you to any rehab clinics where you can get untrasonic and deep tissue message? These will excel the healing process. I had to get a referral before I started rehab.

Tmano
07-29-2014, 07:54 PM
I just got injured tonight. Response calf torn or strained.it scared the hell out of me.at first I thought it was the Achilles tendons but after some exams the physicians said only calf issue.now it swallowed but not much pain and sure I can t walk.i m going to see an orthopedic for a better response and a MRI to see what happened.
Not pleasant at all

JackB1
07-30-2014, 05:29 AM
I just got injured tonight. Response calf torn or strained.it scared the hell out of me.at first I thought it was the Achilles tendons but after some exams the physicians said only calf issue.now it swallowed but not much pain and sure I can t walk.i m going to see an orthopedic for a better response and a MRI to see what happened.
Not pleasant at all

good luck. sometimes these things heal faster than you would think. I was back out playing tennis after a week.

Tmano
07-30-2014, 06:50 AM
good luck. sometimes these things heal faster than you would think. I was back out playing tennis after a week.

Thanks JackB1. I really hope you are right but i have the feeling I will be out for a while...

uncle pollo
07-30-2014, 09:13 AM
Those injuries are pretty easy to get ad pretty easy to avoid.
Grow more calf muscle.

Tmano
08-01-2014, 12:03 PM
I just got back for a sport medice specilistic visit and the Dr ( very nice and professional) after an accurate calf anatomy review said partial tear of gastroc. he could actually feel it with his finger.

The Dr did not want to tell me how long the recover would take.....any idea guys?

Bionic slice
08-03-2014, 12:59 PM
I know some of use a foam roller, it's good before and after the match, hydration is also key as well as good nutrition if you have a long weekend like a tournament. In Texas especially Dfw we get some really high temps and if you add the court temp you actually playing hotter than it seems, make sure stretch during sets and it's ok to use some ice packs during the match if your getting heat calf cramps. I recommend ploymetics and other cross training. Some players get massage and I see some ppl using calf sleeves

Arleigh
08-11-2014, 02:20 PM
I strained my calf last month, running out wide to hit a backhand. I went to see a massage therapist within 3 days and had both calves and hamstrings massaged. This helped immensely. I took a week off the tennis court and gym while performing the RICE and wearing a calf compression brace during the day. Slowly started back and ensured I did a proper warm up before playing along with specific calf stretches. After playing and gym workouts, I made sure to stretch and use the foam roller. After 2 weeks, all was good.