Four Common Tennis Injuries
With the Australian Open just around the corner, it is often an inspiring time for us to discover our inner Raffa or Federer.
As you dust off the tennis racquet from last summer we wanted to share some tips with you to minimise the risk of injury as you take those first few Sampras size serves.
Tennis requires speed, agility, flexibility and the high speed on racquet impact combined with repetitive use of the spine, legs and the dominant arm can lead to a variety of injuries.
Let’s look at some of the common injuries we see from tennis.
The most commonly known injury is “tennis elbow”, though despite its name we also see people develop this purely from using the mouse at their desk!
However, it is estimated that between 10% and 50% of individuals who play tennis regularly, develop this condition at some point in their career.
Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylalgia, is caused by repetitive microtrauma of the tendon attachment to the lateral elbow of the extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle, a forearm muscle.
Physiotherapy management of tennis elbow includes rest from aggravating activity and a graduated strengthening program for the forearm, as well as addressing the biomechanics of the whole arm and shoulder.
The tennis racquet should also be considered as if it is too heavy or the grip too wide the risk of injury is higher.
Lower Limb Injuries
Ankle, knee and thigh injuries are amongst the most common tennis injuries due to the high frequency of sprinting and stopping, pivoting and jarring nature of tennis.
Acute injuries may include a calf strain or ankle sprain. Chronic lower limb injuries commonly seen in tennis include patella tendinosis due to the high frequency of jumping and pivoting.
Upper Limb Injuries
The high-velocity and repetitive arm movements of the tennis serve and stroke can lead to wrist, elbow and shoulder overuse injuries.
Due to the repetitive over shoulder height activity of the dominant arm in tennis, impingement pain is quite commonly seen when the biomechanics or movement pattern of the arm in the shoulder socket and/or the shoulder blade sitting on the ribcage isn’t optimal.
So before you wind up for that 200km/hr serve we suggest you have done some shoulder stability and strengthening exercises such as this 4 point kneeling exercise (see video below). Then progressing to the higher level exercises shown in the shoulder blog above.