Calf strains in tennis are so common that the injury has become synonymous with the term ‘tennis leg’’. Calf strains are particularly prevalent in the poorly conditioned weekend tennis player typically between the ages of 30 -50 years. The demands on a tennis players calf muscles are extreme as they have to push off at speed sometimes multiple times within the same rally to retrieve their opponent’s shots. Calf strains usually present acutely, tennis players will describe experiencing pain when pushing off to sprint for a ball. Depending on the severity of the muscle tear running or walking on the affected leg may be painful and the muscle will be tender to touch.
Following a calf strain or any muscle strain it is important that the PRICE protocol (Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate) is followed for the first 48-72 hours. Early consultation with a chartered physiotherapist should be made to commence appropriate progressive strengthening and stretching exercises. In combination with exercise rehab your physiotherapist may use a combination of massage, dry needling, and laser to help aid recovery and reduce the formation of weak scar tissue.