Tennis is becoming an increasingly popular sport, and with that, there is a rise in injuries associated with it. Although not a contact sport or considered high-impact, tennis presents its own unique risk to injuries. Traumatic injuries are rare in tennis, but overuse injuries are quite common.
An overuse injury can occur in any muscle or joint and is caused by repetition and strain. You don’t have to be out of shape to get an overuse injury, nor are you immune to it if you’re the fittest of athletes. It can plague anyone in any sport and at any time. However, your risk factor for an overuse injury in tennis can increase for the two following reasons:
- You’re not training properly and so putting too much strain on your muscles.
- You don’t have proper technique.
The most typical injuries for a tennis player are:
- Tennis elbow, which is an overuse of the muscle that moves the wrist up or down;
- Shoulder injuries, especially the rotate cuff muscles;
- Stress fractures from training improperly;
- Muscle strains from quick and sudden moves, especially in the knees.
Although it’s impossible to avoid injury 100% of the time, there are ways to prevent injury or lower the risk to overuse tennis injuries.
1. Train Properly
To avoid injury in any sport, training properly is essential. However, because tennis uses smaller muscles with extreme repetition, it’s important to do proper strengthening of the most-used muscles. Furthermore, it’s also important to do proper strengthening and condition of the supporting muscles to decrease the likelihood of an overuse injury. Having a regular warm-up and cool-down routine as well as cross training will help prevent injuries, such as tennis elbow and rotator cuff injuries.
2. Increase Intensity Slowly
Stress fractures are not common among professional tennis players, and researchers think it’s because of a gradual training increase. Unlike younger tennis players, professional players do not increase the intensity in their training rapidly, but rather at a gradual pace. Increasing to rapidly puts more stress on the bone as the muscles tire quickly, leading to stress fractures and muscle strains.
3. Warm Up To Avoid A Tennis Injury
Like training properly, warming up is essential to preventing a tennis injury. Having a proper and regular warm-up routine will help lower your risk of an injury. Such routines should include stretches that are held for 30 seconds or more while not bouncing. Furthermore, moving stretches are the best, such as swinging your leg backward and forward or doing arm circles. A total warm-up routine should include cardiovascular exercises like slow jogging or jumping jacks to increase the heart rate slowly, followed by at least 5 minutes of stretching.
OSR Can Help You Recover From And Prevent Tennis Injuries
OSR physical therapists can help recover from a tennis injury and even prevent future injuries. By working on alignment, technique, strengthening, and proper training, our physical therapists and certified athletic trainers can put you back on the road to recovery. We treat a variety of overuse injuries with active rehabilitation along with specialty rehabilitation techniques. Contact one of our three locations today to schedule an appointment.