Preventing Calf Strain Injuries in Tennis
By David O’Connell
Because of its prevalence in tennis, much of the medical literature pertaining to calf strain injuries makes reference to the term ‘‘tennis leg’’ when describing this type of injury. Although calf strains are common across a variety of sporting populations they are particularly prevalent in tennis players due to the quick acceleration and deceleration movements required to play the game and the associated stresses this places on the calf muscles.
The research has shown that middle aged recreational tennis players between 40 to 60 years of age are most likely to sustain a calf injury. Two of the main predisposing factors to sustaining this type of injury are 1) deconditioning and poor tensile strength in the muscle and 2) poor calf flexibility. The good news is the research has shown that you can significantly reduce the risk of sustaining this type of injury if you perform the following three exercises daily.
ONE Placing your hands on the wall and with your back leg straight push against the wall keeping your back heel on the ground. Push to the point that you feel a gentle stretch in the muscle and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat times three daily.
TWO Placing your hands on the wall with your back knee slightly bent and your heel in contact with the ground push against the wall ontill you feel a gentle stretch at the bottom of the calf and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat times three daily.
THREE Place your forefoot onto the step, on one leg push up onto your toes lifting your heel above step level and hold for 3 seconds at the top of the movement. Lower your heel slowly step level. Repeat x 15 x 3 sets.
If you are currently suffering from calf pain and would like to have it treated please call Portobello Physiotherapy at 01-4763331 and we will do our very best to return you to full fitness.