Soleus Muscle strain

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by jchamilt, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. jchamilt

    jchamilt Rookie

    Jul 16, 2007
    I am a 64 yo healthy male who plays tennis at the 4.5 level everyday (retired from work 4 years ago). I believe that I have strained (minor tear) my left soleus muscle. This is the muscle below the calf and some say associated with the gastroc. muscle that makes up most of the calf. I had a very bad (grade 2) tear of the mesial head of the left gastroc on August 10, 2008 and was off tennis until a year ago Christmas. I was playing some of the best tennis in memory about 3 weeks ago and felt great. two days ago after playing for about an hour and a half I was changing direction in a lateral manner and got this minor strain. So minor that I played a few more games before calling it. Loving tennis as I do I played the next day, yesterday, and almost immediately hurt the muscle again and stopped playing. Today the pain is much better and seems like the usual strain that should heal with a week or two of rest.

    When I was going through PT for the gastroc a year ago fall I strained my left soleus doing PT, which resolved in two weeks. This new strain of the soleus seems less painful and I feel will resolve. My questions are:
    1) This seems like an odd strain since I have not had this in the previous 55 years of playing tennis. What exercises would you recommend to strengthen this muscle?
    2) Does anyone know of any possible underlying condition, drug, environmental factor that could cause this odd strain?
    3)Is there any condition that predisposes one to repeated muscle strains?
  2. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

    Sep 30, 2009
    Was the weather cool? Would extra-long socks help? I wear some sometimes for sun protection but think they might feel pretty good in weather that's cool but not warm-up-pants cool. Yes, they look pretty goofy.

    Without any intent at being mean, as far as underlying conditions go--in your previous 55 years of playing tennis, you were younger.
  3. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

    Nov 24, 2004
    New Jersey
    swinf makes the key point. How is it that 20 year old tennis pros understand they need to not play every day (60-70 matches a year is alot for a pro, of course with practice days as well) but 64 year olds sometimes don't grasp the point? And of course you kept playing when you felt the initial injury. Yes, the most important condition that predisposes to these injuries is age. I'm younger than you but would never play more than 3-4/week.
  4. Kick_It

    Kick_It Semi-Pro

    Dec 27, 2005
    I'd ask your PT to diagnose it. Most PTs will do so - especially if they've made some good coin from you in the past. Even moreso if you have a history of injuries (who doesn't?) in that area.

    After you're healed - not now!!! - make sure you warm up and stretch. Don't stretch it now; you'll probably make it worse. Ice it.

    I had a grade 2 tear of my left soleus a few years back; no fun. Took me 6 months to recover.

    Good Luck! K_I
  5. Jim A

    Jim A Professional

    Dec 29, 2008
    Soleus is a tricky muscle, you need to let it heal first before trying to stretch etc

    light massage can help and if there is swelling you can do some constriction/dilation (essentially 10min of heat/10min of ice, do it for an hour while watching tv, start with heat and always end with ice)

    when the time comes look into some eccentric calf stretching and gastroc/soleus stretches...

    I've been dealing with soleus issues for about a year now..its manageable but needs attention and I can't play and/or run for more than 4 straight days so I've learned to build rest into my program
  6. jchamilt

    jchamilt Rookie

    Jul 16, 2007
    More Info on Soleus Strain

    I was playing inside in a very warm indoor court due to the fact that it was run by the University and they have no concerns about costs. Also I had been playing at a very high level for over an hour and half so I was sweating to a very high degree. I was very warmed-up. Just by accident I had done some calf (soleus and gastroc muscle) stretch the night before since I thought they were unusually stiff. I know everyone thinks it is my age, and you may be correct, but I still think it may be something else.
  7. mike53

    mike53 Professional

    Jul 11, 2008
    Could be dehydration. Is there any visible bruising in the area or around the ankle?
  8. Ken Honecker

    Ken Honecker Rookie

    Aug 8, 2009
    Spokane, Washington
    My soleus have never troubled me unlike my gastroc's who have been bothersome for 25 years. The way to excercise the sloeus is bend leggeded calf raises. These are seated calf raises with the weight resting across your quads.

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