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Tropikal_Knights 03-03-2013 08:44 AM

Recovery
 
These days it seems if I play a tough 2 or 3 setter match that same night and the next day I get the most horrible kind of tightening of my thigh muscles and hamstring area such that If I had a match the next day I could not play.

I am 33 and playing tennis since I was like 14. Played sport in general since I was like 8. In college this never happened to me so what could be the reason now?

Recently I won my semi in 2 tough sets but suffered the same cramps and tightening and lost my final which was the very next day. My opponent had two days extra rest and I basically played him on one leg. Him being a pusher and me an aggressive baseliner I had to run around alot and lost in 3 tight sets. Whilst cramping and hobbling from the end of the first set onwards.

IT has been two days since the final and the pain is slowly going down but I am having trouble walking up and down the stairs. In your opinions what do you think explains this and what has happened to me?

Thanks for your time.

LeeD 03-03-2013 11:11 AM

Drink lots of fluids, stretch the muscles after a tough match, curl up onto a ball on your knees for 2 minutes.
You're getting old, ready for the retirement farm.

Pacific lefty 03-03-2013 11:48 AM

How about doing a light jog around the courts before playing to warm up, and then stretching out. Try some IT band stretches and make sure that you stretch the back of your legs well. If you have any imbalance in the strength between front and back, that can cause soreness. I experienced that when doing lots of tennis and running with minimal stretching.

slowfox 03-03-2013 11:54 AM

Didn't Kiteboard have a witch brew for preventing/recovering from cramps? Seemed a reasonable concoction. Maybe do a search.

But perhaps it is the glue factory calling... :(

Tropikal_Knights 03-03-2013 12:59 PM

I get the glue factory and that I'm getting old. But I'm only 33. Is this normal at my age. I wonder if somethings amiss is what I'm getting at

tbln 03-03-2013 11:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tropikal_Knights (Post 7248844)
I get the glue factory and that I'm getting old. But I'm only 33. Is this normal at my age. I wonder if somethings amiss is what I'm getting at

Honestly--you're just getting older. I'm 29 and I can definitely relate.

Assuming that you weren't horribly dehydrated or malnourished, the cramps probably came on from muscle fatigue and overexertion. The best thing you can do is to spend more time at the gym to get fitter. After your mid twenties, you naturally lose muscle mass at an alarming rate and have to train and fight a lot harder to keep what you have. Training should include both strength and endurance training. This way, the muscles will be more resilient and less prone to cramping. Be fitter than the pusher you played against. It sounds like you had a decent chance against him. Even Federer has to spend more time in the gym now to keep up with his younger opponents than he ever did in his prime.

As far as recovery goes after cramping, its really just rest.

Tropikal_Knights 03-05-2013 09:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tbln (Post 7249685)
Honestly--you're just getting older. I'm 29 and I can definitely relate.

Assuming that you weren't horribly dehydrated or malnourished, the cramps probably came on from muscle fatigue and overexertion. The best thing you can do is to spend more time at the gym to get fitter. After your mid twenties, you naturally lose muscle mass at an alarming rate and have to train and fight a lot harder to keep what you have. Training should include both strength and endurance training. This way, the muscles will be more resilient and less prone to cramping. Be fitter than the pusher you played against. It sounds like you had a decent chance against him. Even Federer has to spend more time in the gym now to keep up with his younger opponents than he ever did in his prime.

As far as recovery goes after cramping, its really just rest.


It has been 6 days now and the muscles in my shoulder and upper body are okay and my left thigh is okay but my right thigh is still in pain........before it was 100% pain now it is around 30%.....I am wondering if I have ripped my hamstring maybe a grade 1 tear?

By now I would have expected to be okay but for the first time in my life for 6 days straight I have not ran or played tennis.......I am afraid to put weight on my leg and do some light jogging..........or to play even moderately competitive tennis .......I think about giving it another couple of days.......

I have been applying pain creams such as deep heat./....on my thigh and the back of it........have not taken any brofen or anything like that.......just wondering what else I can do..

I do work my legs out and upper body twice a week....

tbln 03-05-2013 01:38 PM

It does sound like a strain/grade 1 tear which can happen during cramping due to the prolonged involuntary contraction.

It will take some time to heal just like any other pulled muscle. However, I would use ice and not heat. Heat is only good for tight, knotted muscles and will actually aggravate further inflammation at this stage.

Keep RICEing it as often as you can and very gently stretching it daily until you can confidently bear weight, then its important to slowly incorporate a gradual return to play since the muscle will still be weakened and prone to reinjury. From what it sounds like, you are probably looking at another 2-3 weeks recovery before returning to play and probably another 1-2 weeks on top of that before you're at 100% strength. It will take a bit longer if its a grade 2 tear but the treatment is still the same

If you saw a physiotherapist, he/she would help you reach these goals in stages within the above timeframe:
1) control acute inflammation and allow muscle to heal (RICE)
2) bear weight and go for a light walk
4) go for a light jog
5) go for a longer jog
6) include springs in your jog: sprint (10 secs), jog (30 secs), sprint, jog, etc
7) light hitting on the court & serving practice (1hr max)
8) heavier hitting, point play practice (1.5 hrs)
9) practice sets
10) return to competition

If anything is painful, go back to the previous stage. The danger is pushing yourself further until you feel pain, which means you've reinjured the muscle and will set you back longer.

As for ibuprofen, there is some conflicting evidence that ibuprofen increases healing time so I'd only take it if you need it for pain control to work or go about your business.

You can workout your upper body meanwhile but be weary that your shoulder might still be tender.

Hope this helps. :)

Tropikal_Knights 03-06-2013 09:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tbln (Post 7252816)
It does sound like a strain/grade 1 tear which can happen during cramping due to the prolonged involuntary contraction.

It will take some time to heal just like any other pulled muscle. However, I would use ice and not heat. Heat is only good for tight, knotted muscles and will actually aggravate further inflammation at this stage.

Keep RICEing it as often as you can and very gently stretching it daily until you can confidently bear weight, then its important to slowly incorporate a gradual return to play since the muscle will still be weakened and prone to reinjury. From what it sounds like, you are probably looking at another 2-3 weeks recovery before returning to play and probably another 1-2 weeks on top of that before you're at 100% strength. It will take a bit longer if its a grade 2 tear but the treatment is still the same

If you saw a physiotherapist, he/she would help you reach these goals in stages within the above timeframe:
1) control acute inflammation and allow muscle to heal (RICE)
2) bear weight and go for a light walk
4) go for a light jog
5) go for a longer jog
6) include springs in your jog: sprint (10 secs), jog (30 secs), sprint, jog, etc
7) light hitting on the court & serving practice (1hr max)
8) heavier hitting, point play practice (1.5 hrs)
9) practice sets
10) return to competition

If anything is painful, go back to the previous stage. The danger is pushing yourself further until you feel pain, which means you've reinjured the muscle and will set you back longer.

As for ibuprofen, there is some conflicting evidence that ibuprofen increases healing time so I'd only take it if you need it for pain control to work or go about your business.

You can workout your upper body meanwhile but be weary that your shoulder might still be tender.

Hope this helps. :)


Indeed it is extremely helpful. And I am very grateful for it.

The most difficult part about being used to exercise almost every day of your life is being immobile to an extent. Not being able to sweat it out if you get my point.

My present condition is that today I have iced it for around 20 minutes (2 sessions of 10 minutes) and it seems to have improved abit .The pain has gone down but the tightness is there. Back of my thigh and slight tightness on the front. I just want that tightness to go away. I am abit worried about it.

I really want to go jogging tomorrow. A light job of around a mile and a half and a light workout tomorrow. But I AM abit hesitant about it as I feel maybe I should ice it for a couple of more days and maybe go for a light walk on friday.

I dont know if staying of exercise weakens that muscle further or whether I should do some light exercise to strengthen it such as light running or jogging......I am stuck in between.

charliefedererer 03-06-2013 01:31 PM

tbl gave you great advice.

From your description of still 30% pain, I would go for a walk Friday, and keep walking around the block.

That way if it starts to hurt, you aren't somewhere out there a half mile from home.

Your leg won't weaken in just a few days.

Better to not risk making it worse.

If the walk goes fine, and the pain is decreasing, there will be plenty of time for jogging/running later.

Relinquis 03-06-2013 03:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7248622)
Drink lots of fluids, stretch the muscles after a tough match, curl up onto a ball on your knees for 2 minutes.
You're getting old, ready for the retirement farm.

fetal position?

LeeD 03-06-2013 03:49 PM

Yeah, in TaiChi (old Chinese martial arts), the fetal position upright, on your knees, is supposed to be the single quickest and most efficient recovery position for folks who marched too long or spent too much time on their feet.

Bobby Jr 03-06-2013 03:58 PM

Warm down properly no matter how exhausted you are after the match. Go for a 15 minute walk for example (take you hydration or or recovery drink with you). If you can manage it alternate with light running/walking.

To put it in perspective of how effective a proper warm down is (not talking about stretching, that's not warming down) you can reduce next day muscle pain by up to 100% if you warm down properly.

Then do your stretching - but don't overdo it. Hamstrings/quads and calves can suffer injury from overstretching post work-out.

tbln 03-06-2013 05:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tropikal_Knights (Post 7254710)
Indeed it is extremely helpful. And I am very grateful for it.

The most difficult part about being used to exercise almost every day of your life is being immobile to an extent. Not being able to sweat it out if you get my point.

My present condition is that today I have iced it for around 20 minutes (2 sessions of 10 minutes) and it seems to have improved abit .The pain has gone down but the tightness is there. Back of my thigh and slight tightness on the front. I just want that tightness to go away. I am abit worried about it.

I really want to go jogging tomorrow. A light job of around a mile and a half and a light workout tomorrow. But I AM abit hesitant about it as I feel maybe I should ice it for a couple of more days and maybe go for a light walk on friday.

I dont know if staying of exercise weakens that muscle further or whether I should do some light exercise to strengthen it such as light running or jogging......I am stuck in between.

Oh, I can completely understand about feeling stuck in between! I'm 29 and also consider myself an athlete and if I miss a workout I feel like its an opportunity lost.

In your case, however, you cannot deny that you've suffered an injury and its important to let it heal and be pain free before you can train your lower limbs again. I won't lie, you will lose *some* of your fitness from rest but you can either rest it properly and build up your fitness again when you're healthy or you can try to maintain your cardio fitness at the risk of reinjury and even more prolonged time off court. I've had several past injuries including complicated ankle sprains, stress fractures, wrist tendinopathy, pulled muscles, cramps and recently shin splints. While I've gotten away a few times taking the risk and continuing to exercise, I've learned the hard way that more often then not I just reinjure myself. I'm horrible at actually taking my own advice so now I just go see a sports physiotherapist and follow his expert instruction on rehabilitation and return-to-play.

You can also take this opportunity when you're not playing to focus on other things such as your diet, school or work, movies, or online shopping. :)

The good news is that reconditioning in previously conditioned athletes is achieved very quickly and much much faster than in persons who are trying to condition themselves after many months/years as a couch potato.

Regarding your update, its good that the pain is subsiding, keep icing it even more (20min, 4x a day if you can) until its pain free and start walking like charliefederer suggests. The tightness is normal as its caused by a combination of inflammation, scar tissue formation and your body's defense mechanism to protect the injured area. It should go away on its own but if its still tight after you're pain free, you might consider using a foam roller or getting a remedial massage. Keep us posted!


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