Tennis has long been one of the most popular sports around the world. It’s a great way to stay fit and have fun while providing opportunities to socialise and make friends. However, Tennis is a high impact sport that puts our bodies under enormous stress on a daily basis.
Furthermore, it is very one-sided which can cause tension around joints that are very important for effective movement. Three of the most common injuries that tennis players incur are found in the shoulder, elbow and knee. This blog will help you keep clear of those nasty injuries.
Due to the repetitive nature of tennis, overuse injuries are incredibly common. An overuse injury that is seen a lot in tennis is tennis elbow. This occurs when the tendons of the wrist extensor muscle at the outside of the elbow become inflamed. In fact, Venus Williams, Bjorn Borg, Aleksandra Wozniak and Andy Murray have all experienced it.
The good news is you can avoid tennis elbow by staying in good overall shape, as well as stretching and strengthening your arm and back muscles. This ensures that the muscles are strong and flexible enough to handle your playing. Moreover, consider training with a tennis expert to learn proper techniques and movements. A trainer can share which equipment best fits your ability and body size.
Tennis involves so many different body motions; running, starting, stopping, changing directions, sliding, jumping, and just about every other motion possible. As a result, it is very common for players to form a knee injury.
Make sure you play to your limits. Especially, if you’ve taken a break from tennis or haven’t played for a while. Also, strengthen the muscles in your knees and legs to offer better protection and support for your knees.
Ankle sprains are common in many sports but the sudden change in direction and stop-start nature of tennis makes the dreaded rolled ankle a real risk, just ask Roger Federer.
Sudden starts, stops and pivots may also gradually wear away the ligaments, causing pain and tenderness. Furthermore, clay courts can pose a greater risk for an ankle sprain. Because the clay surface is softer, the side of your foot can dig into it more easily, resulting in a turned ankle.
Supportive footwear can reduce the risk of a sprain. Try to avoid uneven surfaces when playing tennis. Also, always warm up and cool down before and after physical activity.
So, there are a number of things you can do whilst playing tennis to avoid an injury. Here are the main points:
Firstly, make sure you’re warming up and cooling down properly. If you don’t give yourself at least 10 minutes to do this then you are setting yourself up for failure before you even begin. Our good friend Howard Green, who is head of strength and conditioning at Bolton Arena Tennis Academy, agrees that movement matters. Howard Believes that working on your movement can improve your strength, power, speed, agility coordination, mobility and flexibility. Howard has a range of videos Instagram where he demonstrates some effective exercises and explains the effect they have on the body. Go check him out!
Secondly, one of the most effective things you can do is to train with a coach so you can work on your technique and make sure you aren’t putting your body under more strain than necessary.
Finally, wearing the proper equipment (tennis shoes) can make the world of difference to your performance and actually help prevent an injury.
Here at Summit Physiotherapy, we want to keep you injury-free for as long as possible. However, if you are in pain, feel free to book your free assessment!
Kolowich, P.K. 2016. Stop Sports Injuries . [Online]. [21 July 2019]. Available from: https://www.stopsportsinjuries.org/STOP/STOP/Prevent_Injuries/Tennis_Injury_Prevention.aspx
Upmccom. 2018. UPMC HealthBeat. [Online]. [21 July 2019]. Available from: https://share.upmc.com/2018/03/preventing-common-tennis-injuries/