Tennis leg is a painful injury as a result of a tear to the tissue inside the calf. This tear is often incomplete and thus only halfway down the calf. Despite mostly affecting only the calf, the injury is extremely debilitating often putting athletes out of play immediately. The tear may affect the “soleus” which is a deeper laying smaller muscle of the calf as well as the larger muscle aka “gastrocnemius.”
How does tennis leg injury occur?
Tennis players legs are under pressure all the time. They rely on their legs to move swiftly and without preparation in trying to hit every ball passed their way. The competition is not only strenuous mentally but also physically. It is common for tennis leg to occur in patients over 35 years old.
Tennis leg injuries frequently occur due to repetitive movements in sudden quick starts and stop causing strain and pressure on the lower legs. Oftentimes the injury is accompanied by a sounding “pop”, followed by excruciating pain.
While the name suggests “tennis” one would think tennis leg is suffered by tennis players only when in fact, the injury can occur in many athletes. Tennis leg is a typical sports injury and one often treated by professional chiropractors.
What are some symptoms to watch out for?
- Sharp burning pain radiating through the calf or lower part of the leg
- The pain is compared to having been kicked in the calf
- The pain makes it difficult to walk
- Swelling in the calf region
Treatment options for tennis leg
If you are suffering from a leg calf injury, then it’s important to have it checked as soon as possible. There are many types of treatment options some include but are not limited to the following:
Ice and elevation
The injured person must make sure that they receive immediate care for the leg. The leg should stay elevated and ice applied to limit the swelling.
Oftentimes patients need to undergo physical therapy to restore motion and proper function to their legs. There are various types of physical therapy to help treat patients suffering from a tennis leg injury. Physical therapy also includes leg exercises or a leg workout to target the injury. Some exercises may include heel lifts, a set of stretches, as well as cardio workouts.
Apart from pain medication, chiropractic treatment is often effective, safe, and non-invasive. It is one of the preferred choices to help on the road to recovery for various types of leg pain including that caused by playing sports. Chiropractors may also do a soft tissue mobilisation treatment.
Typically, doctors may prescribe an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen to help reduce the swelling and tackle the pain.
A doctor would do a comprehensive examination of the injured leg and the examination may include x-rays, a leg MRI, and typically observing what areas of the leg is painful. In many cases, a patient will struggle to walk after the injury and it is one of the clear signs that the injury may be tennis leg related.
What is the estimated tennis leg recovery time?
For most patients, the average recovery time to heal from a tennis leg injury is up to 6 weeks. However, this recovery time differs from one patient to the next depending on how bad the injury is. Prolonging the time to have an injury to the legs checked can risk more damage.
How to prevent tennis leg injuries from occurring and recurring?
Taking extra precautions before, during, and after a game is crucial to prevent recurring injuries. Sportspersons must adequately warm up their muscles through cardio workouts such as cycling and swimming. Doing stretches before playing any sport is also very important to prevent an injury.
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