Tennis works your core, thighs, and biceps, all while adding agility and improving your anaerobic health. Like any sport, however, it comes with its fair share of injuries. These are the six you’re most likely to encounter on the court.
Moving laterally exposes you to an abnormally high risk of ankle strains, but this injury can also be caused by uncertainty. When the ball spins at an unexpected angle, your body often follows it before you realise you need to correct your stance. If you land on the outside of your foot, your weight may cause a sprain. Injuries to the outer ligaments are more common because they’re weaker than those on the inside of the leg. Add strength by wearing supportive shoes and warm up by running in a figure 8 pattern in both directions.
Lateral epicondylitis is caused by irritation of the tendon insertions of the muscles in the back of your forearm where they attach just above the elbow. It’s an overuse injury that can be prevented by using your entire arm rather than just your wrist and elbow. Try to bear weight on large muscles such as those in your shoulder and upper arm instead of your smaller joints. Warm-ups and stretching can help you to avoid tennis elbow. Seek treatment if you’re experiencing symptoms, however an elbow splint can give temporary relief.
Torn and ruptured muscles can occur with missing the ball, but wrist injuries can also occur due to chronic repetitive strain. For temporary relief wear a wrist support during play, however look to adjust your racquet strings (the degree of spring determines the force on the wrist), and have someone evaluate your technique. You should be using the whole arm for acceleration and deceleration instead of focusing that strain on the wrists.
Lower Back Injuries
Some say evolutionary weakness is to blame for lower back injuries. Build your core muscles off the court, and take on heavy movements using your thighs instead of your back. Tennis serves can overextend the lumbar region, compressing the discs and ligaments. If need be work with a tennis coach to improve your form. Ask your Bathurst Chiropractor to work on your spine to increase your range of motion and general flexible.
Repetitive stress from overhead serves can cause the bursae and tendons to become swollen, particularly if there are changes in shoulder position due to forward head postures (common in office workers). Building flexibility and endurance, and improving posture will help you to stabilize the area. When you increase your training, do so gradually to prevent overloading.
Rapid stops and starts on the court put strain on the patellar tendon, potentially causing pain and inflammation. Well-fitting shoes with customized orthotics will improve your knees. If you have an existing weakness from an old injury, be sure to strengthen the knee before returning to play.
Body equilibrium is one of the most important skills you can learn to prevent injuries. Balance can be developed, and it will even improve your game. Practice isn’t the only way to stay pain-free, however. At Bathurst Chiropractic we can assess your spine and body to detect small problems before they become big issues. Call us on (02) 6331 1004 now to schedule an appointment.