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 PT 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; rest and elevation will help reduce pain, swelling and inflammation in the early stages of injury. This can be difficult when you have to carry on with daily activities, but resting and elevating your foot whenever you can is recommended. During your recovery you will probably have to modify or avoid the activities that put stress on your Calf & lower leg until your pain and inflammation settles. However, too much rest can also be harmful to such injuries because knee and ankle joint immobility can actually cause stiffening in the joints. This is why rest should be used when reducing initial pain and swelling, but should not be considered for more long-term conservative treatment.
- Avoid Activities that Caused Your Injury - While resting your injury 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 can increase the severity of your injury, turning a mild to moderate case of tissue damage into a downward spiral of worsening damage that may eventually severely impact your life. Also, trying to 'work around' your injury will eventually give rise to over-compensation injuries in other areas of your body.
- 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 Circulation Boost (T•Shellz Wrap®) - Once swelling has been reduced, you can use your own blood flow to maximize your rehabilitation. Improved blood flow to your calf muscle and achilles in most cases will help improve recovery time while improving overall health of soft tissue in the area. Promoting blood flow and heat to the treatment area will help to minimize the growth of scar tissue, increase flexibility and help prevent atrophy.
- Rehabilitative Stretching under supervision of a PT or doctor. The intent of this is to provide you with increased range of motion, pain relief and strengthening of the surrounding tissue of the joint. 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 visits to a PT clinic. If you haven't experienced any improvement in your condition during that time then surgery may be considered. Agressive PT approaches may focus on forced or manual manipulation of the leg - this means your physical therapists will be trying to move your leg past the point of comfort as they strive to increase range of motion and prevent further atrophy. This can be painful and end up making your injury worse if not done correctly. (reference: 1)
- Stretching - Stretching your joint in PT 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 maintaining good Range of Motion (ROM) in your joint, and stretching can be made much easier with use of a T•Shellz 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. PT 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.
Stage 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 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 Treatments 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 begin to break-down. Without cold compression, tissue continues to break down as they cannot access 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 tissue 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.
Often, too many people over-focus on cold while ignoring the most critical aspect to healing - nourishing injured tissue with a strong blood flow - the body's healing capability is generally dependent on blood flow..
This leads to the most important recommendation - Stage 2.
Stage 2: Focus on Increasing Blood Flow To The Injured Tissue - As This is The ONLY Way Soft Tissue Heals For the Long-Term
Even though the concept is simple, improving blood flow to injured tissues can be difficult. When the injury is in the calf, achilles or hamstring, the challenges are even greater. Traditional methods require your muscles and tendons to move to promote blood flow (exercise), but that same motion that promotes blood flow can at times lead to making your pain and condition worse.
- Have you reinjured your leg by getting back on your feet too quickly?
- How many times in the past have you aggravated your tennis leg just trying to perform basic tasks around the home?
- Is your debilitated leg preventing you from work or activities you love to do?
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.
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...
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.
An injury that often leads to straining in other areas will make an overall recovery hard to initiate. People tend to "chase the pain", meaning they only focus on treating an area that is actively painful, while not taking into account the fact they other areas of the body will be overcompensating...eventually leading to issues in those areas as well.
Heat energy generated by the T•Shellz Wraps® operate by increasing blood flow in our injured soft tissue. This means ligaments, muscles, and tendons. The objective of the T•Shellz Wrap® is to increase blood flow in these targeted areas, resulting in relaxation of the vessel walls. The vessels then gently expand, allowing for more nutrient rich blood to reach the damaged tissues. Plus, the enhanced blood flow helps in flushing waste and fluid build-up from the injury site - further enhancing the ability of the body to heal.
This results in relaxation of the vessel walls. The vessels then gently expand, allowing for more nutrient rich blood to reach the damaged tissues. Plus, the enhanced blood flow helps in flushing waste and fluid build-up from the injury site - further enhancing the ability of the body to heal.
With a T•Shellz Wrap® application, more blood begins to flow effectively to soft tissue within the body - for the length of the treatment and a short duration thereafter. Deep tissue needs the extra blood flow to heal as it is through the blood the body carries the oxygen and nutrients needed for proper and long-term healing.
Now, on to recommendation number two in the journey to heal your injured calf...
The Leg/Arm T•Shellz Wrap® - A Healthy Leg For The Long Term
(and your arm too)
The best option we came across in our research to accomplish effective blood flow to soft tissue in the leg area at home is the Leg/Arm T•Shellz Wrap®. Use of this device results in an increase of blood flow within the treatment area - 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 life to your tissue by delivering healing nutrients and oxygen that are vital for their growth and survival. In addition, the blood carries away toxins and waste cleaning the area and healing it faster. Without a good supply of blood, your leg simply won't heal properly.
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/Arm 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.
Leg/Arm T•Shellz Wrap® = Accelerated Blood Flow for Soft Tissue in the Leg and Arm
The intention of an Leg/Arm T•Shellz Wrap® is to ease pain by dilating blood vessels, decrease stiffness by elongating soft tissue, improve blood circulation, and boost metabolism and enzyme activity. In stimulating localized blood flow to damaged soft tissue, you provide needed oxygen and nutrients to grow strong 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 leg, you can feel the healing sensation due to the increase in blood flow 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 an Arm/Leg T•Shellz Wrap®:
- If you have injured tendons, ligaments or muscle in the leg or arm, then the Leg/Arm T•Shellz Wrap® will provide the all-important function of boosting blood circulation where it is needed most.
- If you are dealing with soft tissue conditions affecting your range of motion.
- If you have a chronic soft tissue condition that has lasted for years- this device is intended to kick start the recovery process and help strengthen surrounding and supporting tissues.
- If you are still working with a leg strain or mild tear, the 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 a major source of it (inflammation and damage to tissue surrounding the bursa sac). Through trauma, overuse or degenerative changes, muscle and tendons surrounding the bursa sacs will tighten and constrict. When they do, they place pressure on the bursa, causing it to become irritated. Applying a T•Shellz Wrap® to the area will help relax tissue in the treatment area, taking pressure off the bursa.
- If you have been to a clinic for some form of massage or stretching and your PT or physician has recommended conservative treatments for home.
- If you have upcoming surgery scheduled for your soft tissue injury, then you will find a blood circulation booster to be a powerful tool after surgery to help surgically repaired tissues recover for long-term health. (once the surgery wound has healed and your physician has given the ok)
- If you are experiencing atrophy in your leg and want to reduce the chance of re-injury (or further injury) while stretching - this is a perfect treatment to use on a regular basis, by enhancing blood flow and elongating soft tissue.
- If you are experiencing tightness in your muscle(s) and want to reduce the chance of re-injury while stretching - we recommend the use of a T•Shellz Wrap® before you stretch.
Increased Blood Circulation = Increased Healing Capability
T•Shellz Wraps® contain a unique Carbon Fiber Energy Pad which is flexible and will shape to conform to your body. This Energy Pad emits a uniform wave of perfectly safe energy over its entire surface. This energy is absorbed by soft tissue in the treatment area, opening blood vessels, resulting in an increase in blood flow. Increased blood circulation is what your body needs to accelerate the healing of soft tissue and this is why we recommend the T•Shellz Wrap®.
The Leg T•Shellz Wrap® is an FDA Registered Medical Device and is suitable for use in therapeutic clinics and FROM HOME. It is completely safe for people and patients to use for themselves.
The technology found in a T•Shellz Wrap® has been used for decades in the worlds of professional and amateur sports - a contributing factor as to why athletes seem to recover from injuries so quickly.
Have you ever wondered by an athlete can return to activity after 3 or 4 weeks following a tendon or muscle injury - while your average person takes much longer to return back to normal? The secret isn't really that much of a secret - it involves consistent treatments (meaning multiple times a day) using a treatment like the T•Shellz Wrap® to stimulate blood flow to the injured tissues. Most athletes have the luxury of using in-house facilities many times per day.
How many us can afford the time and money to visit a clinic multiple times a day? Very few indeed. This is how you can gain some of the advantages that athletes enjoy in their injury recovery - by using a device like the T•Shellz Wrap® two or three times a day on a consistent basis.
Consistent Treatments = Consistent And Long Term Improvement
What Else Makes the Leg T•Shellz Wrap® So Special?
We believe the T•Shellz Wrap® to be one of the most effective home treatments to increase localized blood flow to soft tissue in and around the treatment area.
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.
The T•Shellz Wrap® 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 enough that 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 Arm/Leg T•Shellz Wrap®..
- Can be used ANYWHERE on the Arm (forearm, elbow, upper arm) OR Leg (upper and lower) - very versatile!
- Targeted applications for most areas of the body
- It can be used before exercise to warm up your arm to reduce the risk of injury
- FDA Registered medical device for use in home or clinics - very high quality
- Increases flexibility of tissues (reducing the re-injury factor)
- It soothes pain and whisks away toxins
- Carbon fiber Energy Pad is strong, lightweight, and flexible - contours very easily
- A boost in blood flow helps maximize the body's ability to recover from soft tissue damage. This can be beneficial in saving time and money when associated with doctor or physio visits
- A boost in blood flow will maximize the body's ability to recover quickly. This can be beneficial in post-surgery rehabilitation, getting you back to work faster. Do not use until at least 6 weeks after surgery, and only after approval from your doctor.
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/Arm 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 muscles, allowing for better sleep)
- Before you know you will be using your injured joint (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•Shellz Wrap® 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 Achilles Injuries & Treatments
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