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Rivista di Ortopedia e Traumatologia

Official Journal of the Piedmontese-Ligurian-Lombard Society of Orthopedics and Traumatology
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Minerva Ortopedica e Traumatologica 2014 August;65(4):265-70

lingua: Inglese

Conservative treatment is successful in “tennis leg” patients

Ye S., Qing J.

Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Joint Disease, Drum Tower Hospital, Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School, Nanjing, China


AIM: Tennis leg is a musculoskeletal disorder caused by muscle rupture in the posterior calf. Though conservative treatment is known to be first choice for it, there has been few paper addressing corresponding prognosis.
METHODS: This was a longitudinal study. We retrospectively view 36 patients who presented with “tennis leg” during sports in the past ten years to see the effectiveness of conservative treatment. All patients were firstly treated conservatively as out-patients to exercise RICE protocol for 3 days once the diagnosis was confirmed. Hot compress was subsequently applied for 3 days and an elastic bandage was used, with the knee extended and a 90° plantar flexion for 2 weeks, followed by gradually increased weight bearing, as tolerated. Patients were told to get consultation after recovery of 3 months. The association between injury severity or postinjury assessment results and patients’ characteristics was tested.
RESULTS: All 36 patients were diagnosed with “tennis leg”. Conservative treatment was effective in 33 patients (91.8%), and failed in 3 patients (8.2%) who subsequently underwent surgery. They all got back to preinjury activities after 4 months or less. Calf muscle tear is significantly less severe in female patients and those with a strenuous life (P<0.001).
CONCLUSION: Calf muscle tear is significantly less severe in female patients and those with a strenuous life. Conservative treatment is usually successful in tennis leg, though a little performance drop would occur. The average time for patients to return to preinjury activities is 4 months in this study.

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