Newly signed Dallas Maverick's power forward, Elton Brand, is out of
commission due to 'sore calf'. Brand's injury history isn't
the shortest read on record. Our Michael D. Adams, MD, explains Brand's
latest injury, "Calf injuries in athletes usually involve partial
or complete disruption of the muscle-tendon unit of the gastroachilles,
the motor which plantar flexes the ankle. The athlete will typically experience
acute pain in the mid or distal calf during running or jumping, particularly
in cooler weather or after inadequate stretching. Mid-calf injuries involve
a strain, or partial tearing, of the gastrocnemius or soleus muscles.
These injuries will almost always heal without surgery, often requiring
initial immobilization in a splint or boot, with later physical therapy
for gradual strengthening and stretching, with return to sport in 3-6
weeks, depending on severity of the strain. Distal injuries involve partial
or complete disruption of the Achilles' tendon. These injuries frequently
require surgical repair in the athletic patient, followed by a more lengthy
period of immobilization and therapy, with return to sport in 3-6 months,
but some weakness, swelling, and stiffness may persist for up to one year.
These injuries may be prevented with ad equate pre-participation stretching
and perhaps core/balance training."