Tennis Leg - Calf Muscle Injury
'Tennis Leg' is a term used to describe stretches, tears, or incomplete ruptures of the large calf muscles (gastrocnemius) in the back of the lower leg, just under the knee.
Tennis leg happens when lunging or pushing off one leg to get to a wide ball or serve. This may also happen with daily activities such as running to catch a bus or climbing stairs. It feels like being kicked in the leg from behind. The tennis leg sufferer feels an quick severe sharp pain, turns around to see who kicked them, only to discover that no one is there.
This type of injury usually occurs in middle-age athletes, as we age muscle flexibility decreases, experience early stages of muscle loss and degeneration due to the aging and/or inactivity.
Signs and symptoms of the injury can be obvious - sudden, sharp or burning pain (sometimes along with a popping sound), swelling to the area, a bruise often develops and area very tender to the touch. You can walk but by altering your walking pattern, often walking on the toes to prevent upward bending of the ankle.
There are three grades to a Tennis Leg injury.
- Grade 1 - a minor tear of the muscle (10% of the muscle fibers). You may be able to continue your activity because the pain is minor twinge in your calf. The calf muscle feels achy and tightness for two to five days after the injury, recovery for healing is 7 to 10 days.
- Grade 2 - partial tearing of the calf muscle (90% of the muscle fibers). You will feel sharp pain and minor to moderate swelling of your calf. Walking and flexing your foot down (pressing the gas pedal) will cause pain. The calf muscle feels achy and tightness for a least a week after the injury, recovery for healing within about 4 to 6 weeks
- Grade 3 - complete tearing of over 90% of the calf muscle or rupture. This is the most painful of all the grades of Tennis Leg, causing immediate severe pain, considerable bruising and swelling in the calf. Walking will be aided with crutches, achy, tightness for about 30 to 35 days, recovery for healing within about three to four months.
As the pain may appear high up in the back of the calf, it can be confused with deep venous thrombosis, acute compartment syndrome, and cellulitis - all of which are serious life-threatening conditions. If you are experiencing similar symptoms, seek medical attention. The doctor should perform an MRI for correct diagnosis between the two conditions.
How Do You Treat Tennis Leg?
What You Can Do!
We Have Home Treatment Tools to Help You With Your Tennis Leg!
After proper diagnosis of tennis leg syndrome, your doctor will assess your particular case and determine a course of action. In most cases, a conservative treatment protocol will be enough to heal the injury, though in cases such as significant tearing or a fully ruptured calf muscle, surgery is pretty much a guarantee. It is generally understood by doctors and surgeons, that surgery will introduce more scar tissue into the any already damaged tissue. This added scar tissue will be problematic, requiring more physical therapy and conservative treatment options post-surgery. If not dealt with properly, your calf muscle injury could end up in worse condition than before the surgery! This is why surgery is only performed as a last resort.
Some conservative treatment examples include:
- Rest - This is important for initial healing because without proper rest you're at risk for increased pain, inflammation. This can make your calf injury even worse and turn an acute injury into a chronic one. This can be difficult when you have to carry on with daily activities, but resting and elevating your leg whenever you can is recommended as part of a standard conservative treatment protocol. During your recovery you will probably have to modify or avoid the activities that put stress on your calf muscle until your pain and inflammation settles.
- Avoid Activities that Caused Your Injury - While resting your leg it's also important to avoid all activities that may have caused your calf muscle damage (especially any strenuous or repetitive movement). Continuing on with regular activities will not only make your injury worse.
- Use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack - Cold is very effective at reducing pain and inflammation - use at the onset of the injury and during flareups.
- Use Soft Tissue Repair Therapy (STR Therapy) - Once swelling has been reduced, you can use your own blood flow to maximize your rehabilitation, maintain healthy blood flow to your calf muscle and achilles, decrease recovery time, and boost the bodys healing rate. Promoting blood flow to your damaged muscle will help to minimize the growth of scar tissue, increase flexibility and help prevent atrophy.
- Physical Therapy - Surgery is usually the last resort. This means doctors or surgeons typically won't perform a surgery until they feel that their patient has put effort into treating their injury with conservative treatment methods. This may include up to 4 to 6 months of physical therapy. If you haven't experienced any improvement in your condition during that time then surgery may be considered. Agressive physical therapy approaches will focus on forced or manual manipulation of the leg - this means your physical therapists will be trying to extend your leg past the point of comfort as they strive to increase range of motion and prevent further atrophy.
- Stretching - Stretching your leg and heel in physical therapy and at home will help you to regain your range of motion much faster than not stretching at all. Stretching in many ways is key to maintaining good Range of Motion (ROM) in the knee and ankle , and stretching can be made much easier with use of a TShellz Wrap before to warm up soft tissue, and a Cold Compress or Ice Pack treatment after to prevent any return of swelling and inflammation.
Continue the healing process by resting your leg as much as possible. Limit movements that may aggravate your calf muscles, leading to reinjury. Muscle related injuries can easily turn from a grade 1 calf muscle strain into a grade 2 or a grade 2 into a grade 3 tennis leg injury if proper care and attention is not followed.
Grade 1 Tennis Leg Strain/Tear - A Typical recommendation would be to walk with the use of partial weight bearing crutches. The use of quarter to a half inch heel lift in both shoes may also offer some relief by reducing tension on the strain in your leg. Resting from activities that aggravate your calf muscle should be about 3 weeks.
Grade 2 Tennis Leg Strain/Tear - Usually, the the calf would be immobilized with the foot slightly pointed downwards (in something called a "hanging enquinus position") for anywhere between three to six weeks to allow the muscle fibers to heal. Physical therapy program with stretching exercises will be essential once out of the cast/brace before returning to activity. Resting from activities that aggravate your calf muscle should be about 4 to 8 weeks.
Grade 3 Tennis Leg Strain/Tear - The calf would probably be immobilized (as mentioned previously with a Grade 2 tennis leg strain). Rest from activities that aggravate your calf muscle would probably last from 6 to 12 weeks.
Step 1 - Reduce Pain & Swelling with a Cold Compress or Ice Pack
The 1st step for conservative treatment of your injury when treating conservatively or even after surgery is to reduce swelling to "open up" the area for more blood flow. Anyone in the health-care business knows that your blood supplies the oxygen and much needed nutrients required for your body to heal naturally after surgery. This is why doctors and surgeons recommend cold compression within the first 72 hours of an injury and following surgery.
Cold Therapy is recommended to reduce pain, swelling and tissue damage. Many doctors, surgeons and physical therapists consider cold compression to be the gold standard for treatment of inflammation and pain. On-going cold compression treatments can reduce, or even eliminate, the need for NSAIDs or other medications that can be harmful to your body.
Cold Therapy is known and trusted by most medical professionals. This is why for years doctors, trainers and other medical professionals have recommended RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) to treat the pain and swelling of fresh injuries, chronic pain, after any re-injury, and especially after surgery.
Cold is important for recent injuries because once blood vessels are blocked or damaged, they can no longer carry oxygenated blood through the tissue and tissue cells begin to break-down. Without cold compression cellular break-down and tissue damage continues as the cells don't get the oxygen they need to survive. By limiting the amount of damage done to your tissue, you also limit the amount of healing that needs to occur. This is a very important step to heal injuries faster and with less pain! This is why you need to treat your injury as soon as possible, when you notice pain / swelling / inflammation, directly after a re-injury or surgery. Applying a Cold Compress or Ice Pack right away will stop the damage immediately and unblock your blood vessels to let your body's natural blood flow in to start healing the tissue.
Use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack:
- 24 to 72 hours after your initial injury or when you first notice pain and swelling around your injured area to stop cellular damage, relieve pain, and decrease swelling.
- After exercise, workouts or activity of any kind to prevent re-injury.
- Before and after surgery during rehabilitation to control pre and post-surgery pain and swelling.
- Anytime you feel your injury is making your injury feel tender, painful or you're having a flare-up of an old injury.
- Anytime you have swelling, sharp throbbing pain or inflammation.
- Any other situation where you need to draw the pain and inflammation out of your tissue.
Step 2 - Improve Circulation, Fortify Your Body's Healing Process & Prevent Re-Injury with STR Therapy
There are a lot of people that think their injury is gone after their swelling and inflammation are gone and their injury feels better. They also make the mistake of returning to regular activities too soon without proper time for healing. The truth is that healing takes time and after the swelling is gone your injury isn't even close to being fully healed.
After the inflammation in and around your tissue has been reduced, providing extra blood flow and strengthening the tissue in and around your injury is recommended. Believe it or not, the best time for you to focus on avoiding re-injury and strengthening the weakened tissue is when the swelling's gone and your tissue has started to heal. It's vital that you don't go back to activities too soon because you might bring on a major setback in your recovery...
- Have you recently re-injured yourself by returning to your normal daily activities too quickly?
- How many times in the past have you aggravated yourself just trying to perform basic tasks around your house?
- Is your injury preventing you from work or activities you love to do?
If this sounds like you - You're not alone...
Most people we deal with tell us these scenarios have happened to them many times in the past. Perhaps it has already happened to you.
Promoting blood flow within a muscle or soft tissue injury to help the body heal itself is a concept that has been utilized for centuries. This is where the focus has to be if you are seeking long-term improvement. Oxygen and nutrients, carried within the blood, are critical for the body to heal itself. Without proper blood flow, recovering from an injury or condition will be delayed...sometimes for a very long period of time.
The real challenge is how do you promote blood flow to the tendon without causing further injury? This goal is further complicated by the fact the calf muscle (which also is attached to the achilles tendon) is involved in the majority of any leg movements we perform each day.
When people think blood flow beyond exercise, they instantly think "heating pad". Unfortunately, many individuals make the mistake in believing that a simple heating pad or microwavable gel packs will provide the blood flow needed to heal injured tissues. Nothing could be further from the truth.
To begin with, heating pads and warmed gel packs work on conduction. The heat they generate has to be forced through multiple layers of skin and fatty tissues. With each layer of skin the heat passes through, there is a corresponding energy loss because that heat is absorbing into each layer it passes through- the skin is an excellent insulator! Your body responds to this heat by increasing the blood flow near your skins surface (not in your injured tissue) to dissipate the heat and it does so quite effectively.
By the time what little heat reaches below the skin, sub-dermal layer and fat layer into the targeted area (the dense, injured tissues), very little energy remains and this does not effectively enhance blood flow. With little blood flow reaching these injured tissues - healing just doesn't happen.
The heating pad may feel comforting when on the body, but that is because the warmth is absorbing into the skin. Moist heat has been believed to be more effective at warming internal tissues versus dry heat, because it is believed that water transfers heat more quickly than through air. Clinical studies do not support that popular belief.
When you are using a heating pad, all that you are really accomplishing is warming of the skin. The unintended consequence is that you draw blood flow AWAY from the targeted tissues (the injured ones deeper in the body) and direct the blood flow to the surface of the body.
Warming the skin will not significantly contribute to healing of muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, or any other tissues.
So If A Heating Pad Is Not The Answer, What Is?
In order to effectively stimulate blood flow to the dense tissue deep within the body, an energy based on an electromagnetic principle (diathermy) is needed. In essence, this is a conversion energy vs a conductive heat (like the heating pad example above - that is conductive heat).
Electromagnetic energy waves are not conductive heat waves - they are a much longer wavelength and hence, penetrate deep into the body. They are very safe and very effective as research over decades has shown. The F.D.A recognizes this as fact.
When these energy waves are emitted,they penetrate right through your skin and fat layers until they are absorbed by tissue high in protein. This means ligaments, muscles, cartilage, tendons and bone. Once they reach the targeted areas, they are absorbed and quickly converted into thermal energy... right at the location of the injury.
This results in relaxation of the vessel walls. The vessels then gently expand, allowing for more nutrient rich blood flow along with extra oxygen and antibodies to reach the damaged tissues. Plus, the enhanced blood flow helps in flushing cell waste and fluid build-up from the injury site - further enhancing the ability of the body to heal.
As mentioned above, standard heating pads and heated gel packs accomplish the exact opposite of your goals. They direct blood flow to the skin, not to the injured muscles and soft tissues you are trying to heal.
Electromagnetic energy is a form of energy will easily penetrate through clothing, skin, and fatty tissues... directly into your injured muscles and soft tissues within the calf and back of the leg. After the energy absorbs into the muscles and tendons, the metabolic response then kick starts the repair and rebuilding process.
More blood now begins to flow effectively to the injured tissues deep within the body. The injured tissue needs the extra blood flow to heal as it is through the blood the body carries the oxygen, nutrients, and antibodies needed for proper and long-term healing.
While the concept of electromagnetic energy is slowly catching on in North America, the truth is, it is a technology that has been utilized in other societies for decades. Over the past 30 years, researchers in Japan and China have completed extensive studies on the use of the modality and their findings have been impressive. In addition, success has been reported in studies from countries such as Sweden and Germany.
Research is continuing and soon, much of North America will know what the Far East and Europe has known for a long time; electromagnetic energy provides a wide range of health benefits for those not only suffering from calf muscle injuries, but for many other soft tissue ailments (plantar fasciitis, bursitis, tendinitis, Tenosynovitis, frozen shoulder, golfer's elbow, tennis elbow, hamstring strain etc.) as well.
Now, on to recommendation number two in the journey to heal your injured calf...
The Leg T•Shellz Wrap® - Heal Your Tennis Leg For The Long Term
The best option we came across in our research to accomplish true healing of leg injuries is the Leg T•Shellz Wrap®. Use of this device results in a dramatic increase in blood flow to the injured tissues located deeper within the body - all in a non-invasive manner.
Have you seen what happens when you add water to a flower wilted from drought? In essence, your injured leg is much like a "wilted" flower; your body wants to heal its injury, but needs lots of nutrients to do it. Blood brings new life to your cells by delivering healing nutrients and oxygen that are vital to your tissue. In addition, the blood carries away toxins and cellular waste cleaning the area and healing it faster. Without a good supply of blood, your calf muscle simply won't heal very quick.
Using a T•Shellz Wrap® will not expose you to the risk of causing further harm to soft tissue like you can when using rigorous exercise. The Leg T•Shellz Wrap® accomplishes the goal of enhanced blood flow without the need for intensive exercise and as such reduces your risk of re-injury.
T•Shellz Wrap® = Accelerated Healing Power for Your Calf Muscle Injury
The Leg T•Shellz Wrap® is based on the scientifically validated principle of Electromagnetic energy as we discussed previously. This form of treatment is safe and effective as shown in numerous studies which can be referenced through the National Library of Medicine. Professional athletes and those in the medical field have been users of the technology for decades - it really hasn't been until recently that companies like ours introduced the treatment devices to the home user.
Electromagnetic energy from the T•Shellz Wrap® does not absorb into the skin - it absorbs directly into the damaged muscle and soft tissue (as a result, you will not feel the same level of heat on the skin versus a heating pad). The longer wavelength provides the electromagnetic energy wrap with the capability of penetrating deep into the body (well over two and a half inches).
EM energy emitted from the T•Shellz Wrap® is absorbed by high protein tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament, cartilage) and is converted into Kinetic energy - much of this energy being released as heat. Overall, EM energy will warm soft tissues, improve blood circulation, and boost metabolism and enzyme activity. In stimulating localized blood flow to damaged soft tissue, you provide needed oxygen, nutrients, and antibodies to regenerate new, healthy collagen. In addition, you will experience a clearing of toxins and excess fluid build up from the injury site. Over the intermediate term, this helps to reduce incidents of swelling as trapped fluids will be whisked away - reducing pressure on blood vessels.
Using the T•Shellz Wrap® is truly a unique experience. Within moments of applying a treatment to your injured calf muscle, you can feel the sensation due to the increase in blood flow deep within the area. During a treatment, and for quite some time after you finish, the treated area will feel relaxed and warm. It's a very soothing sensation and extremely effective.
Who Should Use the T•Shellz Wrap®
We recommend the use of a T•Shellz Wrap®:
- If you have injured your upper or lower leg, calf muscle, quadriceps muscle or other soft tissue in the thigh, calf or upper arm, then you would find the Leg T•Shellz Wrap® to be a great home treatment tool.
- If you are dealing with conditions affecting your range of motion such as impingement or even arthritis.
- If you have a chronic soft tissue condition that has lasted for years- this device will help start the rebuilding process and help strengthen the surrounding and supporting tissues. Many of our past clients had suffered for years, then were completely amazed at the results only after a few months of treatments.
- If you are still working with an injured leg muscle, the Leg T•Shellz Wrap® will help relax injured soft tissue prior to work and after a day at the job.
- If you are still trying to enjoy your favorite activities such as gardening, tennis, golf, etc - use the T•Shellz Wrap® prior to activity to help reduce chances of re-injuring or re-aggravating those targeted tissues.
- If you are suffering from bursitis and want to treat the major source of it (secondary damage to the muscle and tendon surrounding the bursa sac). Through overuse or degenerative changes in the lower leg, the muscle and tendons surrounding the bursa sacs will tighten and constrict. When they do, they place pressure on bursae, causing them to become irritated. Applying a soothing and deep penetrating energy to the calf muscle will help relax soft tissue and take pressure off the bursae in the heel.
- If you are experiencing atrophy in your lower leg and want to reduce the chance of re-injury - this is a perfect tool to use on a regular basis that will temporarily extend and increase flexibility of soft tissue.
- If your physical therapist or physician told you to get a radiant energy wrap, then this is exactly what you need.
- If you need surgery, then this is exactly what you need after your surgery to help the surgically repaired tissues rebuild for long-term health. (once the surgery wound has healed)
Increased Blood Circulation = Increased Healing Rate
What Else Makes the Leg T•Shellz Wrap® So Special?
We believe the T•Shellz Wrap® to be one of the most effective treatments to stimulate blood flow to dense, injured tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other similar tissues.
We can promise that you will receive a product that is designed to be safe and does what it is supposed to do... reduce pain (as stated in "Therapeutic Heat and Cold", 4th edition. - Ed. Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., Williams, and Wilkin) temporarily increase length & flexibility of soft tissue (as stated in "Therapeutic Heat and Cold", 4th edition. - Ed. Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., Williams, and Wilkin) and aid your body in recovering from tendon, muscle and other soft tissue injuries via enhanced blood flow.
The unit plugs into a standard wall outlet to get its power. The nice thing about the power supply is that the same unit can be used in North America and overseas as well. It has the capability to operate between 110v and 230v.
It has a special signal controller that can be set for 3 different power levels of application (3=High, 2=Medium, 1=Low). The cord is long so you can sit or lie comfortably and watch TV, read or surf the net while you're using it.
Treatments are max 30 minutes in duration and the device can be worn over clothing. This allows you to use the device at work, at home, or really anywhere you have access to an electrical outlet.
A Recap of the Benefits of the T•Shellz Wrap®..
- Targeted treatment of Muscle Strain, Tendonitis, Tendinosis, Bursitis, Impingement, Arthritis, etc
- It can be used before exercise to warm up your leg to reduce the risk of injury
- FDA Registered medical device for use in the home - very high quality
- Greatly enhances healing of tendons, ligaments, and muscles
- Increases flexibility of tissues (reducing the re-injury factor)
- Carbon fiber Energy Pad is strong, lightweight, and flexible - contours very easily
- It provides an accelerated healing rate that will save time and money when associated with missed work or extended therapist visits
- it is an outstanding tool for post-surgery rehabilitation, getting you back to work faster
When Should I Use My TShellz Wrap During the Day?
The most common question we receive from individuals prior to purchasing is - how many times a day should I be using my T•Shellz Wraps® and when should I be using them? While treatment plans will differ for each individual and their specific injury, there are general guidelines that should be adhered to.
- Use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack when you are experiencing inflammation (usually after exertion or movement of the injury area).
The Leg T•Shellz Wrap® would then be used:
- Right after rising from bed in the morning (as this is when it is most stiff)
- Prior to going to bed at night (to relax the leg, allowing for better sleep)
- Before you know you will be using your calf muscle and achilles (going to work, driving, running, walking, etc).
Stage 3 - In Between Treatments With T•Shellz Wrap®, Apply Our New Fast Acting Pain Relief Cream Called ARNICA INFUSION
Dealing with aches and pains affecting the foot, ankle, leg, knee, hamstring, hip, back, arm, shoulder, elbow, wrist, or hand? If so, then applying the Arnica Infusion to any of these targeted areas will bring about fast relief from the pain and sore tissues. Simply apply a small amount of cream to the body and moments later, you will experience a soothing and comforting sensation over the area.
Arnica Infusion is specially designed to relieve pain due to sore muscles and joints associated with arthritis, backaches, sprains, strains, and bruises. No matter if you are dealing with an acute injury, chronic pain, or a general "flare-up" - you will experience fast relief from pain and inflammation.
This is a product that many of our current MendMeShop customers asked us to develop. So we focused our time and resources over the past few years and came up, with we believe, will be one of more effective, fast acting, topical pain relief creams on the market.
You are likely familiar with some of the standard topical agents on the market as most of our customers use them. The are mass marketed and even found in most department stores now.
Well, we are here to say that Arnica Infusion goes many steps beyond what they offer.
Made in the USA at an FDA registered manufacturing facility, you can be assured that Arnica Infusion is both safe and effective. We only source top grade ingredients while implementing strict quality control checks during every step of the production process. Expect the same high quality that MendMeShop customers have been accustomed to since we started the company in 2005.
The "Cool Blue" formula is the perfect balance between the smooth application of a cream and the effective absorbing factor of a gel. It is not too thick and not too thin - just the right texture. Best of all, it feels very nice on the skin!
Each application of Arnica Infusion feels so comforting and soothing, we are certain it will become an item you will not want to live without.
Arnica Infusion Ingredients
The Arnica Infusion formula is based on a combination of scientific research and the use of high quality ingredients. The properties within the formula were chosen for their pain relief, anti-inflammatory, and soothing qualities.
The acting ingredients within the formula include ones many of us are familiar with; along with ones that have not received a lot of publicity (only in research circles). Extensive testing resulted in a blending of ingredients that provides the most synergistic of benefits.
The notable ingredients in the Arnica Infusion formula include:
- Arnica - powerful anti-inflammatory, speeds recovery, enhances circulation
- Menthol - provides deep penetrating pain relief with a nice cooling sensation
- Vitamin B6 - promotes normal nerve function
- MSM - supports healthy connective tissues, anti-inflammatory
- Ilex Leaf Extract - increases circulation, skin conditioner
- Vitamin E - anti-inflammatory, enhances circulation, hydrates the skin
- Aloe - anti-inflammatory properties, soothes the skin
- Tea Tree - enhances penetration of ingredients
Extensive quality control procedures during the manufacturing process ensure the ingredients and final product are both safe and effective. We would not stake our reputation on anything but the best.
When Do I Apply the Arnica Infusion?
While At Work
Apply Arnica Infusion at work to help reduce acute discomfort associated with overuse of muscles and joints. No matter if you are in a physical demanding job or work within an office environment, you will be placing stress on different parts of the body and aches and pains will result.
Before Or After Work, Sports, & Activity
If you suffer from a sprained ligament, pulled muscle, strained tendon, or even bruising - apply Arnica Infusion for quick relief of the pain.
Chronic Pain Suffering
Application of Arnica Infusion can be done up to a maximum of 4 times per day on a consistent basis to help bring about relief from various pains and aches.
In-between Treatments With the T•Shellz Wraps®
Follow up your T-Shellz and Cold treatments with an application of Arnica Infusion. Combine the pain relieving benefits of Arnica Infusion along with the healing benefits of the wraps to make your recovery go much more smoothly.
Do not apply Arnica Infusion within a 2 hour timespan before a T•Shellz Wrap® treatment.
Whether you decide to use the Arnica Infusion in conjunction with the T-Shell and other treatments - or if you decide to use the cream as a stand-alone product - you will not be disappointed with the results. We guarantee it.
Learn More About SUPERIOR Tennis Leg Treatments
I want to learn more about Post-Surgery Rehabilitation
I want to learn more about the TShellz Wrap Soft Tissue Repair Therapy device.