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How to treat tennis leg

Tennis leg is a condition where the plantaris muscle or the medial head of the gastrocnemius or calf muscle become torn or ruptured. The plantaris muscle is muscle found at the posterior area of the lower leg. It connects superficially above the knee and down the calf at the back and moves into the heel bone. It functions for the plantar flexing of the ankle. Partial tearing of the medial gastronemius muscle will result to tennis leg.

Symptoms of tennis leg

  • Tenderness when touched
  • Sharp and burning can be felt at the back of the knee or calf muscle
  • Incapable of walking or moving the ankle
  • Bruising of the area
  • Swelling
  • Can be mistaken for deep vein thrombosis

Risk factors of tennis leg

tennis leg

Take the prescribed pain medication such as aspirin and ibuprofen or acetaminophen to lessen the pain and the inflammation.

  • Playing contact sports such as football, soccer and hockey
  • Poor strength and flexibility
  • Previous lower limb injury
  • Playing sports that requires sudden calf muscle contraction such as jumping in basketball, hill running, quick starts in running and lunging in racquetball and tennis.


  • Take plenty of rest especially the affected area for fast healing of the condition.
  • Take the prescribed pain medication such as aspirin and ibuprofen or acetaminophen to lessen the pain and the inflammation.
  • Apply an ice pack on the area for at least 10-15 minutes every 2-3 hours to lessen the pain and the inflammation. Avoid ice directly on the skin. Wrap ice in a towel or a cloth before placing to the area to prevent ice burn and worsen the condition. Another alternative is using ice massage is also good for the condition.
  • Apply heat in the affected area in the form of a heat pack or a warm water soak. Apply heat before performing stretching and strengthening activities with the help of the physical therapist.
  • Use crutches to lessen the stress placed on the affected area.
  • Compress the area using elastic bandage to lessen the swelling. Avoid wrapping it too tight to prevent problems with circulation and worsen the condition.
  • Elevate the affected area above the level of heart for proper flow of blood in the area. When lying down raise the area in couple of pillows to keep it elevated.
  • Seek the help of the physical therapist for some rehabilitation exercises, to restore the tissue flexibility and restore range of movement of the joints. An effective stretching should last for at least 30 seconds. The stretching should not cause pain and a gentle lengthening or release of the stretched tissue can only be felt.


  • Perform proper warm up before starting any activities or playing sports to prevent injuries.
  • Allow an adequate recovery between workouts
  • Maintain strength, flexibility, endurance and cardiovascular fitness
  • Use proper techniques in performing exercises
  • Complete the rehabilitation of the lower leg injury before returning to playing sports or practice.

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