Tennis Time And Common Injuries!
With season in full swing, we are seeing more patients with tennis on their minds, and with sports will often bring associated injuries. Some of these injuries are enlisted below:
Calf and Achilles Tendon Injuries
The common underlying cause in both calf muscle and Achilles tendon injuries is a tight calf muscle-Achilles tendon unit. This muscle-tendon unit crosses both the knee and the ankle. You can tell your calf muscle-tendon complex is tight if you cannot raise the ball of your foot higher than the heel of that foot with the leg extended (straight). A sudden overload from pushing off your foot while your leg is fully extended is the usual cause of injury.
Achilles tendinitis involves inflammation of the Achilles tendon as a result of overuse. To treat Achilles tendinitis, decrease playing time, take NSAIDs, use heel lifts in your regular shoes, and diligently stretch the calf muscles with your leg held straight.
A ruptured Achilles tendon is more severe than tendinitis. You may feel a sudden snap in the lower leg, as if someone has kicked you in the back of the foot. This is not a particularly painful injury, and a player may be lulled into thinking that the injury is not as severe as it really is. After an Achilles tendon rupture, a player will be able to walk flat-footed, but will not be able to stand up on his or her toes on the affected side. Treatment can consist of casting or surgery, but surgery is recommended for most Achilles tendon ruptures, especially for athletes.
With tennis leg (a tear of the calf muscle on the inside of the leg) you may feel as if you have been shot in the upper calf by a pellet gun. This muscle tear can be quite uncomfortable. It is important to stop playing immediately and treat the calf muscle with RICE. Tennis leg may take several weeks to resolve.
Sprains of the outer ligaments of the ankle are common in tennis. You can minimize the risk by selecting shoes that are specifically designed for tennis and that have substantial support built into the outer counter of the shoe. The most effective treatment for ankle sprains is the usual RICE for 24 to 36 hours, then walking with an appropriate support on the ankle. If the swelling, pain, and bruising are severe, see your physician. Even after the most minor sprain, some sort of stabilizing ankle support is recommended during play for 6 weeks.
Tennis toe can occur as the toes are jammed against the toebox of the shoe during tennis's quick starts and stops. Tennis toe is a hemorrhage under the toenail that can be quite painful. Your physician will treat this by drilling a hole in the toenail and relieving the pressure.