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-   -   Calf strain--I got hit (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=387259)

AlwaysImproving 07-02-2011 03:46 PM

Calf strain--I got hit
 
It always happens to someone else, then it happens to you. The one time I forgot to stretch before and voila--calf strain.

Yes, felt like a tennis ball hitting the back of my calf. No tennis ball in sight.

Doc says one month until tennis again. That's fortunate, could have been 3 mos. Or an Achilles tear that needed surgery. On crutches now--which are a pain--and can only put a little weight on my foot after 3 days. Really hating stairs.

Did Ice and elevation 24 hrs after but in retrospect should have not gone to work at all the next day and rested and iced the thing. No swelling or bruising so far, but damn, when muscle fibers strain or tear it's still not fun. Have a nice prescription-strength painkiller, but liquor is better,

Gonna try some Capsacin and heat and gentle stretching in a few days. Thinking about prevention in the future.

Mike Hodge 07-02-2011 04:03 PM

I feel for you. I had the same thing happen last New Year's Eve. It's a tough injury and a long road back. Hang in there.

ssgator80 07-02-2011 04:58 PM

Same earlier this year. Back playing in 3 weeks. Scared me when it happened and tough to walk. When I got home from the courts and sitting in a chair I could move my lower leg rather easy with little pain so I kind of fiqured it wasnt as bad as I originally thought. Steadily got better over the weeks. First few times on the court, it was on my mind but got over it. Still have a knot though. Good luck.

FuriousYellow 07-06-2011 02:14 PM

Just getting over one myself. I didn't see a doctor, but I'd put it somewhere between a Grade 1 and 2. It took about 4 weeks before I was playing again, but it still gets tight when I play sometimes.

One of the people I play with is a PT and she told me adding some cushion to the heel takes some strain off the calf. It seemed to help me when I was recovering, but I ended up removing it after a few weeks. Now I'm getting tightness again, so I may put it back.

I also wear one of those Zensah calf sleeves. That seems to help a lot.

I'm also focusing more on tennis specific workouts and gradually adding exercises to build up the muscles for the quick, explosive movements tennis requires.

AlwaysImproving 07-06-2011 03:03 PM

Well I'm one week into my strain. Walking is a bit easier, though I carry one crutch as backup, but the calf muscle still feels tight, especially when I get up after sitting down for a spell. Gonna try some stretching exercises soon.

Clearly this will take another 2 weeks at least. Want to walk normally first, then jog, then incorporate sprints and leg strengthening exercises.

charliefedererer 07-07-2011 06:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AlwaysImproving (Post 5818897)
Well I'm one week into my strain. Walking is a bit easier, though I carry one crutch as backup, but the calf muscle still feels tight, especially when I get up after sitting down for a spell. Gonna try some stretching exercises soon.

Clearly this will take another 2 weeks at least. Want to walk normally first, then jog, then incorporate sprints and leg strengthening exercises.

This sounds like a smart progression.

You may want to go through the Sports Fitness Advisor Tennis Training pages to get ideas for a total program to prevent future problems: http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com...-training.html

AlwaysImproving 07-07-2011 10:04 AM

Thanks for this. I had been hitting the gym before doing both upper and lower-body on weights, and maybe twice a week on the treadmill and elliptical. In retrospect, however, I would guess that what caused this injury was some combination of:

Lack of aerobic training with stretching.
Not stretching and warming up before the game (easy opponent).
Not stretching after doing weight exercises on my legs (presses, lifts).

Here's an interesting study from the journal of Sports Medicine stating that, while stretching may have no benefits for sports such as cycling or swimming, in sports that need what they call a "compliant" tendon (such as soccer, football and by extension tennis) require stretching to prevent injuries.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15233597

Another:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7712551

I've read other studies in which stretching may cause injuries, but this is in cases where the muscle is stretched beyond its normal range of motion:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15495679

charliefedererer 07-07-2011 10:20 AM

You might be interested in this from the USTA:

"Strength & Conditioning: Dynamic Warm-up and Flexibility Training

If you have been to sport science presentation lately it is likely that you have heard some information about dynamic warm-up and flexibility training. This is an area of training that is receiving more and more attention in the sporting community and many of the conclusions that have been drawn about this type of warm-up are directly applicable to tennis.

Dynamic warm-up and flexibility training is an essential element of any pre-practice or pre-competition routine and helps prepare the body for the demands of today’s tennis game. An effective warm-up does five very important things for tennis players.

1. Increases body temperature allowing muscles to work more efficiently.
2. Gets the heart and lungs ready for vigorous activity.
3. Stretches muscles actively, preparing them for the forces experiences during tennis.
4. Engrains proper movement patterns and the coordination needed in tennis.
5. Wakes up the nervous system and gets the brain talking with the muscles.

A dynamic warm-up, which involves stretching with movement, accomplishes all of these tasks.

Pre-practice and pre-competition warm-up routines have typically focused on static stretching. While this type of stretching is still important for maintaining flexibility and joint range of motion, it really should be performed after play, not before practice or competition. This is a new way of thinking about stretching and flexibility, but recent research has shown that static stretching can reduce the force and power the muscle can generate and that this impaired function can last for over one hour. Warming up properly with a dynamic movement routine like the ones presented in the DVD will help you or your players prepare to play their best whenever they step on the court."
- http://www.usta.com/Improve-Your-Gam...lity_Training/


Examples of dynamic warm up movements can be found at: http://www.usta.com/Improve-Your-Gam...ynamic_WarmUp/

Tarrantennis 07-07-2011 11:41 AM

Time is the only healer and don't come back too soon. Calf, hamstrings, achilles - can ruin a whole summer.

AlwaysImproving 07-07-2011 10:41 PM

So update:

Eight days out of the injury. Taking some steps now without the crutch, which is now used lightly. What seems to be really helping is stretching--calf towel stretches mainly. Going to progress to other stretches soon. I want to guess another week to walk with complete confidence (up stairs, longer strides, etc.) From there if all goes well I'll try light jogging.

slice bh compliment 07-08-2011 01:30 AM

Thanks for sharing that with us. Encouraging us to prevent it. Much appreciated.

Hey, how's that Capsaicin? Is it a bunch of inactive ingredients in a cream...or is it pretty effective?

I take it orally in the form of habanero salsa with eggs.

AlwaysImproving 07-09-2011 07:50 PM

Capsacin worked charms when I smacked my racquet on my ankle bone. But that wasn't a muscular injury. For a calf strain it takes away some pain, but it's not enough to get me playing again--the calf needs to be rehabed. Would use capsacin in a heartbeat though for stiff joints or muscles. Just don't rub it to close to the groin unless you want to play with balls of fire.

AlwaysImproving 07-09-2011 07:54 PM

Take Ben Gay and mutiply it by 10x and that's capsacin. Strong stuff, and it reactivates with water and\or heat, even days after being applied. Freaky...but very effective.

atatu 07-09-2011 08:15 PM

This happened to me a few months back when I was playing hoops, looking back, I was really dehydrated, and I think that had something to do with it. Always drink lots of water !

FuriousYellow 07-10-2011 10:07 AM

The only place Capsacin works for me is on my lower back. It doesn't work on knee or ankle aches or sore neck and shoulder muscles for me, even using the High-Potency version.

blkkirk 07-10-2011 03:00 PM

I have had this injury one each over the last three years in varying degree's. My PT says it is due to a strength issue. He has me doing what I call declines with the injured muscle. Without using the injured calve, use the other leg to raise yourself as high as you can off the floor on your toes (healthy leg). Then place other foot on the ground(on toes) and add as much weight to the leg as you can without pain and lower your body down with both legs. 3X by 12 each day. Slowly start adding more weight to the injured leg as you decline. Eventually going to putting all your weight on the injured leg as you decline. Then do on a stair where you can decline below the normal floor level.

Good advice earlier in the thread about coming back slowly!!!!!!

AlwaysImproving 07-10-2011 10:03 PM

About 10 days out, can now walk at a mostly normal pace, though the calf is still tight. Maybe needs another week for light biking, jogging, and then another week for sprints, then tennis. Doc seems about right saying it would take a month, but if it's 5 weeks that's fine--don't want to push it. Would rather play injury-free then come back too soon.

Peppershaker 07-12-2011 06:50 PM

Google "The Stick", it's a massage device used primarily by runners. Pulled my calf muscle several times, now every morning I use the Stick, and my calves are no longer sore or tight.

Be carefull with stretching prior to playing, better to warm up by moving and getting your calves and legs limber even if it's just walking around at a brisk pace.

Mike Hodge 07-13-2011 11:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peppershaker (Post 5832546)
Google "The Stick", it's a massage device used primarily by runners. Pulled my calf muscle several times, now every morning I use the Stick, and my calves are no longer sore or tight.

Be carefull with stretching prior to playing, better to warm up by moving and getting your calves and legs limber even if it's just walking around at a brisk pace.

I second the Stick. Worth the money, IMO. Make sure you use a combination of static and dynamic stretching to enhance flexibility and reduce the chance of injury.

L619 07-13-2011 09:56 PM

I got this injury twice - last year in the right, this year in the left leg. It takes time - last year about a month (it was grade 2), this year about 3 weeks (grade 1/2 and still recovering and playing very lightly). What helps is RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) for the first 48 hours, then stretching, when you feel comfortable without pain, on the wall with injured leg behind the healthy one and pushing the heel to the floor. You need to stop if you feel pain! Do it for 10 sec in series of 5. The other thing which helps me a lot is a cream called "Deep Relief" with ibuprofen in it. I'm not sure that you can buy in States though... I got it from Europe. Good luck with recovery. Unfortunately takes time and the season is so short, especially here in NW.


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