Pulled/popped my calf from a sudden burst forward..

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by TimeToPlaySets, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    I was at the baseline when the other side hit a drop shot.
    I took a sudden step forward, and felt a snap/pop in my calf.
    It wasn't a terrible pain, but was uncomfortable enough to not be able to play anymore.
    I knew I had pulled it.

    Next morning, the calf has tightened up significantly and I have a pronounced limp.
    It looks like I will be watching movies all weekend.

    There is no visible sign of any injury.
    No swelling. No discoloration.
    I assume this is a mild tear.

    Anyone ever do this? Is this serious?
    What can I expect?
    Will I be able to work on Monday?
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
    #1
  2. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    Sounds exactly what I had in both calfs at different times, especially the "Pop". Look up ruptured Plantaris muscle, that is what my Dr. said I had. It is terrible, doesn't go away for months, sorry just telling you the straight, but now all is well.
     
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  3. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Those whom I've seen with this injury had slow recoveries, weeks at the very least. As for work, pretty much depends on what you do.
     
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  4. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Search calf injury Achilles plantar fasciitis as there are several recent threads with information.

    I'd see a Dr because it is difficult to not stress the calf muscle/tendon even in everyday walking. Some of the threads say a calf muscle injury can be very difficult to heal.

    Common tennis injuries
    https://www.sportsmed.org/uploadedF...s_Medicine_Update/SMU_2010/Final Mar Apri.pdf
    http://www.med.nyu.edu/pmr/residenc...clinics NA_sports med/MSK injuries tennis.pdf

    Just located this reference on 'Tennis Leg'
    http://radiology.rsna.org/content/224/1/112.long
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
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  5. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    I think my injury is milder than most. I can walk around and was even working on my car today. I'll be fine in a few days, but will not be pushing it. Will take the winter off from tennis, probably.
     
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  6. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    There is whole spectum of how severe a muscle tear can be - it sounds like maybe this was a relatively few fibers that tore rather than a major tendon or a wide tear at the muscle/tendon junction.

    It sounds like a smart plan to take it easy for now.

    Obviously if it is not getting better getting it checked out medically would be a good idea.

    When you do start back to tennis you may want to do so by gradually increasing the duration and intensity of hitting sessions so as not to suffer a recurrence.

    Good luck!
     
    #6
  7. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    I can walk without a limp now, and the only limitation is the full stretch of the calf going down stairs. It will be fine in a few days, but I am going to take 2 months off from tennis to be safe
     
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  8. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I did the same thing soon after I started playing tennis ~2 years ago. Not quite a tear requiring surgery but I could barely walk and certainly couldn't run w/o extreme pain.

    I took a couple months off and resolved to never again accelerate my middle aged body like that.

    On the upside: it did wonders for my anticipation and court coverage skills. I spent that time learning about how to move efficiently on the court and how to avoid injury.

    The MOST important tool for good movement and court coverage: your BRAIN!

    When you take your shot and see the result you can immediately move to cover your opponent's highest percentage shot while the ball is still heading in their direction. If you know their game well, so much the better.

    Some friends (and my wife) express surprise that I can reach certain balls given my age ("only" 46). It's because I'm moving immediately after my shot and watching careful for clues in their body language as to their next shot.

    This approach has saved by poor knees and legs from major injury since that first one.

    What I learned from that experience: if you're running around like maniac you're not thinking and the opponent is controlling the game.
     
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  9. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    Had this happen to me about 14 yrs ago - indoor carpet in Feb - took about 2 months to fully heal and stop being sore. The initial pop also came with a sharp pain I thought was my calf getting hit by a tennis ball.

    For the first few days it just hurt so bad but then my whole calf turned different shades of purple and yellow...etc. never had a issue since thank God Good Luck and hope its as minor as possible.
     
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  10. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    Yea, I'm nothing like that severity. I am walking fine and the only issue is a full extension of the calf is uncomfortable. 3 days later. I assume it will be totally gone by the end of the week.
     
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  11. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    When I first got back into tennis 9 years ago, I was foolish to think I could immediately start playing singles matches instead of working my way back into tennis shape. It only took me a few games and I was gassed. So my smart opponent started his drop shot hell strategy. I had an identical thing happen to my calf sprinting for one of his drop shots. It took about 3 weeks to heal. Good luck.
     
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  12. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    Update after 7 days. Almost totally healed now on a superficial level. Walking with no hesitation or limp now, and even going down the stairs is fine. The only thing missing is rapidly descending stairs, as I normally so, so I'd say I am at 95%.

    As such, this was a minor grade 1 compared to other accounts here. I will be taking it easy for the next 2 months b/c I can see how people get caught off guard and re-injure this. I might do some baseline hitting tomorrow with a ball machine.
     
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  13. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    Glad to know you're almost mended. This happened to a doubles partner 2 weeks ago. She heard a pop and went down. Better now though
     
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  14. Medved

    Medved Rookie

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    I'm 36 now and just had to forfeit a match and tournament due to a pulled calf. I was walking again within a few days but I'm scared to play again. I may have to face that I'm just too old for jogging.
     
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  15. I Heart Thomas Muster

    I Heart Thomas Muster Semi-Pro

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    After I hurt my Achilles (I'm 36 as well) I did away with jogging and started doing LOTS of calf and Achilles stretches. That seems to have kept the tendinitis at bay.

    I try and get to the gym and use the elliptical but easier said than done.
     
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  16. Crispvolley

    Crispvolley New User

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    I just recovered from a grade 2 and it took me 2 months so you should be fine if you give it that much time. My path back to the courts went physical therapy > ball machine hitting > doubles > singles. Probably the biggest take away from all of this is a much greater appreciation for stretching calves, hamstrings and glutes. Best of luck with your recovery.
     
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  17. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    When is the ideal time to start stretching and working the calf so scar tissue does not build, yet not too soon to impede healing of torn fibers? It is now 2 weeks after my calf strain. It was mild, and I was walking perfectly within 7 days. I have rested for 2 weeks, and it's totally fine. I understand that it is only superficially healed, and I run the risk of re-injury. I will not be "active" on this calf for 2 months to be safe. However, I am worried about this scar tissue from underuse. Since it's a tear, you don't to stretch the calf b/c you are just damaging the partial heal. But, when is it safe to stretch/strengthen the calf, and not worry about impeding recovery and healing?

    Cliff's Notes: When is the ideal time to start stretching and working the calf so scar tissue does not build, yet not too soon to impede healing of torn fibers?
     
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  18. Crispvolley

    Crispvolley New User

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    Fwiw, The Orthopaedic clinic I went to in Orlando was comfortable having me start strengthening, stretching, and massaging two weeks after my injury. It started lightly and gradually progressed until my calf demonstrated it was ready for more ballistic movements needed to play.
     
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  19. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    I've been there, too... seems many of us have. Mine was frustrating because it was mild and I came back too soon, only to have it act up and prolong recovery. Took about 6 weeks total. One thing that really helped during recovery was massaging it with a rolling pin (although my wife made me buy her a new one after I was through with it. :oops: Should've just bought a calf roller)

    In addition to doing toe raises during my off-court workouts, I've added eccentric calf exercises, mainly to fend off achilles tendonitis, and they have helped keep the calf problem away as well.
     
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  20. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    I started playing again. 2 months break, mostly because it's winter.
    I could have a long time ago, but this is when I got back around to it. Nice to hit again.
     
    #20
  21. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Great to hear you are better!

    Thanks for the update.
     
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