Tennis is one of the world’s most popular racket sports involving a high level of coordination and physical exertion. Even though it isn’t a contact sport, the fast paced activity, sudden start stop patterns, changes in directions and repetitive arm swings can lead to a number of injuries.
The most common injuries include:
Tennis elbow: This is one of the most common overuse injuries of the muscles that straighten and bend your elbow joint. The pain is located on the outer side of your elbow joint and is a result of inflammation in the muscle tendons.
Shoulder rotator cuff injuries: The rotator cuff muscles are stabilisers of your shoulder joint and can be strained with repetitive overhead movements, especially after a sudden increase in training load. The symptoms include pain around the shoulder and reduced overhead range.
Back pain: Back pain is usually a result of joint strain, owing to the extreme back arches whilst taking a swing. The repetitive nature can cause a specific joint stress in one area of the vertebrae and results in pain.
Jumper’s knee: It’s the injury to the tendon that attaches your kneecap to the shin bone as a result of sudden ballistic movements, jump landing and changes in direction that are common motions whilst playing tennis. This causes microscopic damage to the tendon, which results in pain, inflammation and reduced function.
Ankle sprains: Ankle injuries commonly affect the ligaments that provide stability to the ankle joint (usually the ligament on the outer aspect of the ankle is most frequently injured). It occurs due to sudden side-to-side motions and cutting involved in the sport. The injury risk is higher if you have had a previous ankle sprain.
In general, the best way to prevent an injury whilst playing tennis is to:
1.Use the right-sized tennis racket
2.Wear supportive shoes that have good grip and are fitted correctly.
3.Perform an adequate warm up and cool down program to prepare your body for the stresses that are involved.
4. Gradually build your training/intensity load.
5. Make sure that you have the baseline strength, flexibility and endurance to play the sport.
If you’re a keen tennis player and would like to find out more about how our Physios can help you prevent or recover from an injury, you can press the button that’s below to find your nearest practice.