You don’t have to be in the top ten of the world ranking to enjoy a good game of tennis. This sport offers a fun way to get your blood pumping. You can even enjoy the game with little or no experience. While this is a relatively safe non-contact sport, there is still some risk of injury. Injuries can occur in parts of the body where tremendous amounts of force are placed such as the feet, shoulders, knees and wrist. Fortunately, many of these injuries can be avoided. Below, we highlight some common tennis injuries and how to prevent them.
1. Tennis elbow
This is one of the most common tennis injuries players experience. It is characterized by inflammation of the tendons that connect the forearm and the elbow. It can occur as a result of various causes including repeated wrist strain exerted when a player swings their racket. It often affects those with poor technique.
Preventing tennis elbow
Tennis elbow is common because many players don’t apply proper technique, especially when using the backhand stroke. One way of avoiding injury is by using a two-handed backhand stroke. This will help to provide more support as it distributes the load between the two arms.
The strain that causes tennis elbow can also occur as a result of using a tennis racket that is too big or that has been strung too tightly. If you’re a regular tennis player, it would be beneficial to visit a store and get the right sized racket and ensure that it is strung correctly.
It may also help to use a wrist brace or a counterforce brace on your elbow to provide additional support for your joints while playing. These braces ease tension and help reduce the chances of inflammation or tearing of ligaments.
2. Injuries affecting the shoulder
Rotator cuff tendinitis is a sore shoulder tennis injury that is quite common. These injuries occur when the tendons in the shoulder are strained or torn due to forceful movements such as a slam or an overhead serve.
Preventing shoulder injuries
The best way to prevent shoulder injuries is by ensuring you get enough rest between games. Ensure that you consume adequate amounts of fluid and engage in a variety of shoulder stretches before and after the game.
Even with all this it is important to pay attention to your recovery. Icing the shoulder and using anti-inflammatories are a good way to aid recovery. If you experience persistent soreness or pain, be sure to speak to your doctor. You should also consult your doctor to understand your susceptibility to experiencing these kinds of injuries. Your doctor can advise you on stretches and exercises that will help strengthen your shoulder and improve your mobility.
3. Jumper’s Knee
This injury occurs when the patellar tendon is strained resulting in inflammation, pain and swelling. The patellar tendon is the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone. This tendon aids in movement of the leg. However, movements such as jumping can place a lot of strain on the tendon causing strain and inflammation. Patellar tendonitis is a condition caused by sudden acute forces as well as repeated strain on the knee.
Preventing jumper’s knee
The best way to prevent this injury is by moderating your workout. This may mean reducing the intensity of your workout, incorporating more low-impact exercises or lengthening your warm up sessions. Take adequate time to rest in order to promote healing of the cartilage in the knees. A good stretching routine and some icing post game will also aid recovery.
4. Stress fractures
These are small cracks that occur in the bones. Many tennis players experience stress fractures in the legs and feet as a result of the strain of jumping and running on a hard asphalt surface. Some even develop them in the lower back as a result of bending and overhead extensions.
Preventing stress fractures
These injuries can be prevented by monitoring the intensity of your workouts. Have a good warm up before your workout. Stretch and stay hydrated. Be careful not to strain yourself. You should also consider mixing things up by including low-impact exercises such as biking and swimming on your off days. These will help to strengthen your body without straining your body.
5. Ankle sprains
These are amongst the most common tennis injuries. They occur when the ligaments in the ankle are overstretched or torn. This causes pain, stiffness and often swelling.
Preventing ankle sprains
One of the best ways to prevent ankle sprains is by providing your ankles with support. This can be as simple as lacing up your shoes properly. Wear stable, firm and well-fitting shows that have good absorption. You can also provide further support and stabilization by wearing an ankle brace or applying tape.
As you can see, many tennis injuries can be avoided with the right kind of preparation. However, if you are injured it is important to seek medical guidance. Contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chris Boone and set yourself on the path to recovery.