Tennis is a popular racket sport that is played worldwide. Athletes who engage in numerous competitions and practice might end up with overuse injuries such as wrist injuries or tennis elbow. As for recreational players, incorrect technique or poor physical training might be the cause for overuse injuries.
Even though tennis injuries due to overuse are quite common, it is good to note that these injuries can be prevented with modifications to the technique as well as training routines.
Common types of tennis injuries
Most tennis injuries are due to overuse while others are due to traumatic injuries or acute events. When it comes to overuse injuries, they mostly affect the wrists, shoulders and elbows.
Tennis elbow is overuse of the muscles that extends the wrist or bends it backwards. The development of this condition can be prevented with proper strengthening of the muscle and adjacent muscles with regular warm-up. It is also vital to pay close attention to the technical components such as proper technique and grip size to prevent the condition.
Overuse injuries involving the shoulder are due to poor conditioning and strength of the rotator cuff muscles. Always bear in mind that the rotator cuff is responsible for positioning the shoulder correctly in the shoulder socket.
Once it is weakened or fatigued, the tissues will end up irritated. The bursa or tendon can become engorged and sore which triggers pain during overhead movements such as serving. In case the pain persists, it can disrupt with sleep and other daily activities.
Extending and flexing the wrist against light resistance using an exercise band at 3-4 times in a week can help reduce the pain and minimize the risk for tennis injuries.
Stress fractures develop due to an abrupt increase in the training intensity. Once the muscles are tired, increased stress is applied on the bone. Once this occurs suddenly, the bone could not adjust fast enough to accommodate the stress and eventually breaks. These breaks are cracks in the bone that trigger pain instead of an actual break or bone displacement. The fractures can occur in the leg or in the foot.
Muscle strains typically develop due to abrupt movements. Proper warm-up with stretching can help minimize muscle strains. Warming-up must include a steady jog, jumping jacks or cycling at low pace.
Always remember that proper stretching must be measured and deliberate. The individual should not spring up to stretch, simply maintain the stretch for 30 seconds or longer. It is recommended to include moving stretches and must last for at least 5 minutes.
In case there are any concerns regarding one of the tennis injuries or how to prevent future injuries, a healthcare professional should be consulted. The individual can only resume the sport as long as clearance has been given by the doctor.