Like all sports tennis can definitely cause some wear and tear on the body. There are many injuries associated with tennis including tennis elbow, rotator cuff tears, stress fractures in the back, patellar tendonitis, and ankle sprains. Some general tips for preventing and healing these common tennis injuries is to wear and use proper tennis gear, practice proper form and technique, always warm up and do some strength building exercises, and recognize your pains and rest appropriately.
The dreaded tennis elbow
I would say that tennis elbow is the most well known tennis injury, most likely because it has the name tennis in front of it. However, this injury can effect anyone putting continuous strain on their forearm. The pain experienced from this injury is caused by inflammation of tendons on the outer boney prominence of the elbow. As referred to earlier in this post, poor technique can cause this injury. Poor one handed backhand technique can put added strain and incorrect movements to the wrist causing tennis elbow. Furthermore, swinging your forehand late and snapping and turning of the wrist at full power can cause tennis elbow problems. I swing my forehand with a western grip and sometimes felt elbow pain if I had too much wrist motion with too heavy of a racket.
The best thing to do in order to relieve tennis elbow pain is to ice the area for 20 minutes at least twice a day. The common term RICE- Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation are all recommendations to remedy elbow pain. Elbow strips and splints are also designed to help with this injury. Professionals recommend playing with mid-sized racket heads to reduce the strain on your elbow. Loosening your racket’s string tension can help decrease torque and vibrations that can strain the elbow. Lastly, make sure you have the proper grip size on your racket.
Injured Rotator Cuff (Need better headline)
I see some tennis players who serve under hand due to substantial rotator cuff pain. Seeing these players made me very conscious with pain and properly tending to an injury. The rotator cuff has 4 muscles and tendons that come together to provide stability and mobility to the shoulder. The rotator cuff can gradually tear from overuse; overuse can occur from motions like serving in tennis and pitching in baseball. Since this injury is an acute injury that builds it is important to recognize its symptoms: pain, tenderness, weakness in shoulder, difficulty lifting arm, snapping and crackling noises when moving shoulder, trouble combing hair/reaching back, and disturbed sleep on your shoulder.
Similar to tennis elbow, you should treat an injured rotator cuff using RICE. Doctors also recommend taking anti-inflammatory medications. Stretching can help relieve some of the pain. Simply google pendulum exercises and you will find many exercises to help increase mobility in the shoulder joint. Another handy type of stretch is the pole/wand stretch. You lie on your back and hold a pole, like a broom stick, and then you pull away from the injured shoulder side with your strong arm.
No one likes stress
Stress fractures in your back can definitely cause mental stress due to an inability to play tennis. Back stress fractures often occur in tennis because there is a lot of bending and torso rotation. Added stress on the vertebrae in the lower back can cause fractures in the portion of the vertebrae called pars interarticularis. Back injuries occur for many people and the best advice is to simply rest. In extreme cases you can wear a back brace. Back stretches can relieve a lot of the pain in the lower back and decompress your sprain. Lastly, to adjusting your sleeping position can help relieve pain.
You Say Jump, I Say ow (please not) High
The usual expression is “You say jump, I say how high”. However, if you have Jumpers Knee, patellar tendonitis. you will not want to be jumping. The patellar tendon attaches the kneecap to the shinbone and aids in the movement of the leg and supporting weight when walking and jumping. A very effective way to treat jumpers knee is to wear a knee strap. I actually had jumpers knee and found these straps very effective. Once again, you should use RICE method when tending to this injury. When stretching choose eccentric stretches that stretch the quadriceps muscles. One example of this kind of stretch is a slow squat; slowly drop down and then move up more quickly using the good leg to help.
Cringe worthy ankle sprains
When someone mentions ankle sprains and tennis I instantly think of professional tennis matches. During a match there is great rally and then suddenly the pro is laying on the floor and as a viewer I’m a little confused at what happened. Then, the camera switches views and replays the pro twisting his/her ankle and I can not help but be amazed at how they continue to play. I have definitely seen some cringe worth ankle sprains.
To prevent ankle sprains make sure you have good tennis shoes on meant for the surface that you are playing on. Although ankle sprains can be a fluke of luck, it is important to practice proper foot work technique to better prevent incorrectly retrieving a ball. If you do sprain your ankle follow RICE and depending on the injury perform range of motion exercises. A little warm up that you can do is to try and trace the alphabet with your big toe which encourages movement in all directions. Sit in a chair with your food flat on the floor and move your knee side to side to stretch out your ankle. Balance and control exercises can help rehabilitate your injured ankle.
You ready to get back in the game?
Did you just heal up from a tennis injury and are looking to get back into the game? Try My Tennis Group’s Free Play option and we can help you find partners and opponents. Use My Tennis Group for scheduling your tennis matches so the only possible thing you need to worry about is not getting an injury. Tennis should be both stress fracture and mental stress free!