The calf muscle group consists of the Gastrocnemius, Soleus and Plantaris muscles, situated at the back of the lower leg. Their function is to pull up on the heel bone and these muscles are most active during the push-off when a tennis player has to move quickly to react to an opponent's shot. A strain occurs when the muscle is forcibly stretched beyond its limits and the muscle tissue becomes torn.
What can you do to prevent a Calf Strain ?
Diet can have an affect on muscle injuries. If a tennis player's diet is high in carbohydrate in the 48 hours before a match there will be an adequate supply of the energy that is necessary for muscle contractions.
However, if the muscles become short of fuel, fatigue can set in, especially during long matches. This fatigue can predispose a player to injury. Carbohydrate and fluids can be replenished during matches by taking regular sips of a sports drink between games.
What should you do if you suffer a Calf Strain?
The immediate treatment consists of the 'PRICE' protocol: Protection of the injured part from further damage, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. The aim of this protocol is to reduce bleeding within the muscle tissue. Ice therapy in the form of ice pack applications should be continued until the acute pain has settled.
Many people find that a neoprene Calf support provides reassurance and therapeutic heat following a Calf muscle injury.
The rehabilitation after this period involves gradually stretching the muscle to elongate the scar tissue and progressively increasing the muscle strength. Once this has been achieved, the player can begin tennis-specific exercises. To reduce the risk of re-injury, this should be done under the supervision of a Chartered PhysiotherapistA member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, signified by the initials MCSP.','',250)" onmouseout=hideddrivetip() ;>chartered physiotherapist.
IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTICEThe articles on this web site are provided for general information only and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or treatment. All exercises and information featured on this web site should only be practised under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional.