Calf strain--I got hit

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by AlwaysImproving, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. AlwaysImproving

    AlwaysImproving New User

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    I've read that the gastroc is most commonly injured, but don't recall the exact citation.

    Standing calf raises, according to "Complete Conditioning for Tennis," will target both the gastroc and the soleus. If you want to target just the soleus, you can sit down and lay a barbell on your thighs and lift from your toes.

    Both these exercises are, in a way, also neuromuscular conditioning. If you think about it, in tennis you're pushing off your toes quite a bit from a standing position, sometimes from a partial squat.

    When I went through PT, they also had me train glutes, hamstrings and quads, doing stuff like the leg press. It took the load off the calves.

    And yes, proper dynamic warmup is key--putting your body through the range of motion you can expect in a tennis match.
     
  2. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    AlwaysImproving....I did both of those exercises ad nauseum, still kept straining my calf. Neither present sufficient force or response time demand to the calf and brain. Both are very slow gentle smooth exercises. They don't come close to replicating how the calf is used on a tennis court, unless you play 3.0 senior ladies doubles.
     
  3. RogueFLIP

    RogueFLIP Professional

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    From a clinical point of view, I rarely see from both the general population and the athletic population someone with a purely soleus strain. Gastroc and soleus, gastroc only yes very common.

    Re: getting calves in shape for tennis once feeling better - Jump rope!

    Or use of an agility ladder is good too:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1-_aNfi3XI
     
  4. AlwaysImproving

    AlwaysImproving New User

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    Good call on the jump rope and the agility ladder. I imagine squat jumps would also be beneficial.
     
  5. DaveTennis84372

    DaveTennis84372 New User

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    It's called Tennis Leg.

    Care of Tennis Leg

    I got it too - right now.

    And it happened AFTER warming up and doing drills for an hour.
    I do Yoga as part of my cross train and when I stretch out my calf, the angle between my foot and leg is about 45 degrees.

    I'm pretty flexible.

    I still got it. The doc, who has had this himself as a soccer (futbol) player, said that warming up doesn't make a difference - in his opinion.


    I've been RICE'ing it, Aleve, and swimming.


    Here's what the medical people told me - over use. I've been out of tennis for 10 years and I missed so I got back into it.

    The thing is, I've aged a bit in 10 years and my mind forgot that: I haven't played in 10 years and I'm pushing 50.

    So, I trained like I was still late 30s and still in tennis shape.

    *BAM!* - like someone hit me in the back of my calf. I was scared! I looked down expecting a balled up mass of muscle at my ankle or something.

    Coach had me put ice on it immediately. And I went home.

    Fortunately, my wife is a medical practitioner and treated me as soon as I got home.

    Ice, rest, Aleve (Naproxen) or Motrin/Advil (Ibuprofen) and take the maximum dose according to the back of the package, ACE bandage for first 24 hours. Then light stretching as long as it does NOT hurt.

    When you can walk without pain, stand on toes. No pain? Try jogging.

    Still no pain? Then and only then, try LIGHT tennis.
    NO chasing balls!

    If you feel pain - STOP!

    Take it easy and listen to your body.

    Even Rafa had to sit on his butt for a while, so I can too.

    Obviously, we are all different and if you are still experiencing pain, go to your doc.
     
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  6. Brian72

    Brian72 Rookie

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    I found my solution

    So about 3 years ago I was playing tennis and training for a Ragnar Relay race. During one of my matches I was playing serve and volley and as I was coming to the net for an easy put away, my calf cramped up like no other.

    It took two weeks for the calf to release to the point where I could actually walk normally. I had to find a replacement run for the ragnar relay.

    Fastforward, and over the last 3 years I have had repeated bouts with my calf muscles cramping up. It would happen to both calves but never at the same time. And each time, I couldn't exercise for a week. Some times I would go months without any issues. Other times it happened over consecutive weeks.

    I started training for my first marathon this summer and it was really causing me problems. I would loose a week of training each time it happened. I ran a 1/2 marathon as part of my training and at mile 12 my right calf cramped up and I limped across the finish line. At that point I decided I either had to find a solution or not run the marathon.

    I had tried compression sleeves. I started taking Cheyenne pepper, and other supplements that would help with blood flow and muscle relaxation. I started eating a ton of banana's, took potassium, calcium and magnesium. I started doing yoga. Nothing helped.

    The day I ran the 1/2 marathon I went straight to the nutrition store. I talked to a good friend that worked their and she asked if I was getting enough minerals. I said emphatically yes. She handed me a bottle of ConcenTrace minerals. I have faithfully taken two servings twice a day for the last 6 weeks. I've ran 2 20 milers, 3 15 milers and have continued my marathon training with out any issues. My calves have felt better than they have at any time in the last 3 years.

    The only thing I did different was start taking the Concentrace Minerals. It worked for me. It might work for you too.

    Brian
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
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  7. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    Brian, thanks for the info on ConcenTrace. Great reviews at amazon. I've got some trace mineral products right now but when I use 'em up I'm going to give this one a go.
     
  8. Brian72

    Brian72 Rookie

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    Posture Guy,

    In an early post you talked about the connection between the brain and the muscle and synchronizing the two. My guess is that the minerals are helping to better hydrate the muscles, improve the waste removal from the muscles, improve the lubrication of the muscle fibers, and improve the communication between the brain and muscles.

    It really has made a night and day difference in how my calves feel during and after runs.

    I'm sure there are other trace mineral supplements out there that are just as effective. The ConcenTrace just happens to be the one that worked for me.
     
  9. CHOcobo

    CHOcobo Professional

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    Buy an adjustable compression sleeve for the calf, it works perfect for me. I had very bad calf strain too and after using the sleeve, I feel like I'm heeled.
     
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  10. Johnr

    Johnr New User

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    Tuesday night I was playing and had same thing happen to me, felt like ball hit back of my leg, no one there and a lot of pain. Had to end match. I have strained muscle before, never this bad. It is now Friday, there was no bruising or swelling, muscle just feels tight. In 3 days 100 times better than Tuesday, I can walk, put pressure on. Doctor examined me yesterday, said get an MRI if it doesn't improve, but it is improving rapidly.

    I am very happy this is getting better. But from what I have read, the getting hit in the back of leg feeling portends a bad injury, mine is not that bad. Wondering why and when I can get back to some exercise and the court.
     
  11. heninfan99

    heninfan99 G.O.A.T.

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    Doesn't sound too severe. If I don't stretch my calves this often happens to me.
     
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  12. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Legend

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    You have an unknown injury.

    Tendon, ligament, muscle, bone...?......

    Tendon tears take a very long time to heal and stressing the tissue can very quickly lead to completed defective healing, tendinosis in as little as two weeks. Some other injuries may be similar and some may take less time to heal. ???

    Achilles injuries are very common in tennis.

    Don't take in a lot of information on possibilities and pick the one that seems best to have.

    Some information on tendon injuries. Search: Tendon Injury Nuthouse. Read publication in the first post and the one on tendinosis. #15?

    Can a new small tear propagate and become a larger tear?
     
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  13. Johnr

    Johnr New User

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    I have strained my calf before and that was no big deal, but until Tuesday never the feeling of ball hitting back of leg. Have you had that feeling?
     
  14. Johnr

    Johnr New User

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    Thanks!
     
  15. heninfan99

    heninfan99 G.O.A.T.

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    Yes. once. That was the worst one. Important to wait until there's no pain when you put weight on it.
    Body has to heal, what I imagine is a small tear.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
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  16. djNEiGht

    djNEiGht Hall of Fame

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    calf tear...take it easy...rest up
     
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  17. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Legend

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    What tissue is torn? How do we know?
     
  18. djNEiGht

    djNEiGht Hall of Fame

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    i had the same injury that seemed to happen the same way as @Johnr . I could not put any weight on the leg and was helped off the court.

    Reading the progress that he has had makes me lean towards a low grade calf tear. no bruising and seems like there is vast improvement. hope it continues to get better. I would use this down time to heal properly.
    this is my internet forum opinion and assessment of john.
     
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  19. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Yup... "tennis leg". Davetennis 84372 knows his stuff (above).
    Very common in adult players. Much info on the popular sports injury and physio sites. Immediate treatment helps.
     
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  20. movdqa

    movdqa G.O.A.T.

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    I've never had this problem but I think that I've come close, either running or playing tennis. Usually when I haven't kept up with my flexibility work or if not getting enough electrolytes - the strain is similar to cramping to me.
     
  21. Johnr

    Johnr New User

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    Calf is healing pretty well. Slight pain when walking, but have made fast progress. Bruising started a couple of days ago, really kicking in now as area below calf looks really ugly now. Had first day of physical therapy today. Therapist was able to feel the tear in the medial head of the gastrocnemius head. Said in general I have tight calves which can lead to this type of injury. 3 or so weeks of healing and I should be good to go.
     
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  22. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks for this update, John r.
    Tight calves. So more flexibility training? Warm stretching? Massage stick? Foam roller?
     
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  23. Johnr

    Johnr New User

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    Have not made it that far yet, but yes, I assume a revamped stretching program for me. What I was doing wasnt working.
     
  24. MisterP

    MisterP Professional

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    Same thing happened to me. Felt like getting hit in the back of the calf with a cue stick.Treated the swelling and stayed off it for a few days. Back to 100% in two weeks tops.
     
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  25. Johnr

    Johnr New User

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    Been two weeks since I hurt calf, getting much better, can walk fine, just a slight tightnesss in calf, but other than that healing fast. Still doing PT. Never been hurt before, so never considered anything major that could happen, other than aches and pains of being 52. But as I have researched this more, really afraid of an Achilles rupture in the future, sounds like recovery is long, would hate to have my life interrupted by something like this.
     
  26. movdqa

    movdqa G.O.A.T.

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    If you've never been hurt before at your age, you're doing something right!
     
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