Summer comes around and tennis courts across the country start to buzz with excited players once again so there’s no better time to swot up with the Physiotherapy Partners on how best to stay fit for the season!
The rhythmic and repetitive nature of playing tennis means that without proper care injuries can happen. The infamous tennis elbow, tennis shoulder, wrist strains, ankle sprains and lower back pain can be commonplace. Here are some pointers to avoid or reduce the risk of injury.
Tennis elbow tends to manifest itself as tenderness on the outer side of the elbow joint and sometimes pain that travels down the forearm. You will likely feel pain when lifting or bending the arm or extending the elbow joint. For more detail on causes and treatment visit our dedicated post here. To avoid tennis elbow, look to get some professional coaching to make sure that your racket is an appropriate weight and size for you and that you swing and grip it correctly.
Tennis shoulder is less well renowned, but the shoulder joint is one of the most used. Unavoidably, repetitively hitting the ball causes inflammation to tendons which causes pain and a forceful serve is often the culprit. Weakness in the shoulder and pain when moving your arm up or down can be an indicator of tennis shoulder, as can a clicking sensation. Ensure that you warm up to serve and stretch well after. Shoulder strengthening exercises will help and having a coach check your form is a good idea too.
Wrist strain is simply when the tendons in your wrist get damaged through being overstretched by force. Bruising, swelling and a reduction in movement are often symptoms. To evade wrist strain, make sure you warm up thoroughly and invest in wrist supports to reduce the likelihood of picking up this injury through tripping or falling in your determination to continue the rally!
Ankle sprain is when ligaments in the ankle are damaged through being overstretched, also known as twisted ankle. Easily done, ankle sprains stem from rolling over on the ankle or landing awkwardly and often occur when you are fatigued. Sprained ankles are really sore making bearing weight hard and often the ankle will bruise and swell up. Training to boost balance and agility will help prevent ankle sprains as will supportive shoes. If you have suffered a strain before, tape or support your ankle to reduce the risk of a repeat injury.
Lower back pain when playing tennis is another common ailment often caused by repetition and overuse. Play requires repeated flexing, twisting and rotating moves and when serving, the arch of the back is also commonly exaggerated to put power into the swing. Lower back pain can be sharp or dull, quick to fade or long lasting. Sitting or standing still for long periods can exacerbate it and you might experience pain down the legs. Improve your core stability and strengthen the muscles in the back to prevent lower back pain and ensure to stretch thoroughly. High impact activity aggravates lower back pain, so on returning to play invest in footwear with inbuilt impact absorptive cushioning.
Even the pro’s aren’t immune to injury with Andy Murray having to undergo back surgery in 2013. If you love tennis and suffer from any of these complaints or want to be able to prevent them, there are many services that the Physiotherapy Partners offer that can help. Contact us here if you would like to arrange an appointment, we have three clinics based in Worcestershire and the West Midlands (Halesowen, Kidderminster and now Knowle) where our dedicated staff are just waiting to help you.