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Lee Westwood – Plantaris Muscle Rupture

Plantaris Muscle Rupture

Plantaris Muscle rupture
Lee Westwood at the time the World’s Number Three Golfer suffered a Plantaris Muscle rupture on June 29th 2010 during his preparations for the French Open Golf Championship.
Explaining the background to the injury scare Westwood’s representative Stuart Cage said: “Lee felt pain in the calf and it was swollen on Tuesday. But when he woke on Wednesday his ankle was swollen too so he decided to have it checked out in the physio’s truck. The French doctor there thought it could be a blood clot and said Lee should got hospital for tests so he pulled out of the pro-am.”

See Signs of Blood Clot in Leg for more information.

For details about the anatomy of the Plantaris Muscle see Plantaris Tendon Rupture

Lee managed to play on in the French Open and finished 18th.
His next object was to compete in The Open which started on July 15th in just over 3 weeks.

The advantage that Lee had with his Plantaris muscle rupture is that golf does not require sudden sprinting or fast changes of pace.
The disadvantage is that he is on his feet walking and standing for several hours (4-6) without a rest.
He also needs to keep his weight consistently balanced towards the front of his feet throughout the golf swing and follow though – this requires an active contribution from his calf muscle complex. A Plantaris Muscle rupture is going to hinder this.

The article including the photo was extracted from
See the full article here

While at the French Open two weeks ago, his right calf swelled so badly doctors initially feared the 37-year-old might have a blood clot. Further tests showed he had instead a ruptured plantaris muscle, which runs down the calf.

Though Westwood played the French Open — he tied for 18th — he skipped the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond to give the leg a chance to heal. He took almost all of last week off, not hitting balls until Friday, and will play one, maybe two full practice rounds before the Open begins Thursday.

“Apparently it’s six to eight weeks recovery time if you put your feet up. But, obviously, with the biggest tournament on the calendar this week, I can’t really afford to do that,” Westwood said. “It’s just a case of managing it, strapping it up, trying to keep the swelling from getting any worse and playing as well as I can.”

The leg doesn’t hurt as badly as it did in France, but Westwood said he can still feel it in his swing. “When I try and go up on my toe and then twist, I’m using it then and it’s kind of stretching it out and feels uncomfortable,” he said. “The very last part, I’m just a little bit apprehensive.”

Westwood said he has no idea what caused the injury, other than playing professional golf for 17 years. But it might explain the aching Achilles’ he’d had the last eight months. The plantaris goes all the way down to the ankle — asked where, exactly, the muscle is located, Westwood cracked, “In the dictionary, under `P,”’ — and he thinks he might have mistaken the deteriorating muscle for Achilles’ pain.

Rest is the only real cure for the injury, but doctors have told Westwood he won’t cause further damage by playing. He wrapped the ankle when he played Monday, and will test out different alignments over the next couple of days to see what works best and gives him the most support.

After playing six holes Monday, he plans to play 18 on Tuesday. The forecast for Wednesday isn’t great—showers and wind—so Westwood said he might only play a few holes.

“I’m still pretty confident,” he said. “My legs feel like I haven’t done anything to decrease the power in the muscles in my legs. We’ve done tests on all of that. So I’m feeling fresh and think by Thursday, I’ll be ready to go.”

Plantaris Muscle Rupture

There are a couple of important points raised in the previous article.

Lee feels the ruptured Plantaris muscle on his right leg pulling when he goes “up on my toe and then twist” on his follow through – when he is transferring his weight through to the left side of his body.
His medical team are trying to control the swelling with strapping (and I assume Ice and other modalities).

It would also appear that they are trying to control his ankle movement – “test out different alignments over the next couple of days to see what works best”
The reason for this can be seen in the diagram opposite.

The Plantaris Muscle runs diagonally across the back of the leg from the outside of the knee to the inside of the ankle.
Pulling the heel in the direction of the Blue Arrow will relieve some of the stress from the Plantaris muscle rupture.

Lee Westwood did exceptionally well in the Open Championship. He managed to compete for the four days of the competition and even finished SECOND!
That was on July 18th.
The story continues 3 weeks later:-

This article published on 7th August 2010 was extracted from
See the full article
Lee Westwood marched into the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with the world No 1 ranking in his sights. Last night he limped out in the grim knowledge that he would not be competing in the final season of the major and perhaps not even the Ryder Cup.

The Englishman withdrew after a second-round 76 in Akron and revealed his worsening calf injury means he will not be teeing it up in next week’s USPGA Championship at Whistling Straits. Westwood’s mission now is to be fit in time for the Europe team who will take on America at Celtic Manor in eight weeks. But he confessed even that may be beyond him.
“I will be out for as long as it takes to get better,” said Westwood. “I am just hoping that it will be in time for me to play in the Ryder Cup.”
The 37-year-old had his ankle taped yesterday and, playing alongside Tiger Woods, struggled to a seven-over total. Asked afterwards what else he could do to relieve the discomfort, Westwood replied: “Sit on my backside for six weeks, like they keep telling me. It’s the only way to improve it.”

After consulting with his management team Westwood eventually heeded the advice and accepted he would have to return home to Worksop immediately to begin his recuperation work. “It just seems to be getting worse – there’s no strength in it,” he said. “I don’t have confidence in it, and then on the way down I’m finding it hard to hold my weight on it and then push off.”

The one statement that jumps out out me as I read this article is “It just seems to be getting worse – there’s no strength in it”
If we go back to his statement from 3-4 weeks earlier he said “I haven’t done anything to decrease the power in the muscles in my legs. We’ve done tests on all of that.”
This is quite true – Plantaris Muscle contributes no significant strength to the calf so muscle strength tests would indeed have been normal. However it is thought that Plantaris Muscle provides feedback to the brain about the length and position of the Gastrocnemius muscle see Plantaris Tendon Rupture.
It may be this loss of proprioceptive input to the brain that is causing his Gastrocnemius to feel tired and weak and result in him feeling “I don’t have confidence in it, and then on the way down I’m finding it hard to hold my weight on it and then push off.”

The next part of the story is a further 9 weeks later :-

This next article including the photo was extracted from
See the full article by Kevin Garside published on 10th October 2010 here
Westwood considered withdrawing after his opening round and doubts must remain about his ability to reach Sunday’s finish. Westwood, who carded a two-under-par 70 despite the setback, felt discomfort on the steep downslope at seventh tee and said that he would have pulled out of the tournament had the injury flared on Wednesday.

As he walked off the 18th yesterday he was minded to do just that but after ice treatment and a session in the physio unit he declared himself fit enough to continue. The decision was the more courageous since it puts at risk the possibility of reaching the golf summit. Had he defaulted, Westwood would have assumed the world No 1 spot automatically on Oct 31, courtesy of the computing mechanism which takes account of points scored over a rolling two-year period. Otherwise, he must either win or finish second in no more than a three-way tie.

“I think I’ve been doing too much on it,” he said. ”Last week was very hard and right on the limit of getting it right. I think two weeks in a row is probably just too much. With hindsight, I should have played the Ryder Cup and gone back to rehab.”

His personal physio, Steve McGregor, who is not here this week, advises that it could take up to six month to heal properly. “It is a case of resting it and rehab. I made a mistake two months ago, playing the Bridgestone when it wasn’t right. I should have stopped after The Open.
“It is difficult because I have never been injured before. I don’t know the protocols for this, how careful I have to be. I’m just taking everybody’s advice. If I keep coming back and it’s not right, and then, when I’m away from the golf course, all I can do is rehab and not practise as I would wish, then I’m not being fair to myself.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing Lee!
Hopefully he gets fully rested and the rehab goes well and he returns as the World’s Number One.

8 Responses to “Lee Westwood – Plantaris Muscle Rupture”

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