The game of tennis, or other racquet sport for that matter, requires endurance , flexibility and good overall fitness. Many people become injured while playing tennis either from a sudden impact or from overuse of muscles and joints. Beginners are quite likely to suffer injury as are those who return to tennis for the first time later in life. Some common overuse injuries include :
This is a common repetitive injury that leads to elbow pain; however it may also be caused by sudden impact, occupational injuries or overuse activities and not as a consequence of playing tennis at all. Symptoms are pain and stiffness in the elbow which may radiate down along the back of the forearm. It is often brought on by an incorrect swinging technique, by using an inappropriate racquet or holding the grip too tightly. Lifting heavy objects repeatedly may also cause this pain . The RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method is helpful in relieving acute pain and inflammation. Sometimes a tennis elbow band is used to protect the forearm muscles and provide pain relief. Tennis Elbow can sometimes be a stubborn injury and not settle down as quickly as other injuries. Physiotherapy is recommended for treatment and providing flexibility and strengthening so that you can return to fitness sooner.
Rotator Cuff Injury
This is an injury that can result from repeated overhead movements, mainly with an incorrect serving technique. This causes inflammation in the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles, leading to shoulder pain and weakness with overhead movements or pain at night, especially when lying on the affected shoulder. Rest and icing are the first forms of treatment followed by physiotherapy intervention involving stabilisation and strengthening of the shoulder. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
Inflammation of the tendons of the thumb and fingers may occur when someone starts playing tennis for the first time but it can also be an overuse injury from an incorrect racquet grip for forearm shots. Wrist pain is felt in the front of the wrist near the thumb and if you make a fist with the thumb inside, there would likely be pain. Rest and icing should be employed to allow the inflammation to heal as well as immobilising the thumb with a support or taping. A chartered physiotherapist can treat this injury and provide stretching and strengthening exercises to allow you to return to tennis sooner.
A sprained wrist may occur from a fall on an outstretched hand. This causes stretching or tears to the ligaments of the wrist. Pain , tenderness and swelling of the wrist can be seen. If you experience these symptoms you should rest from the activity and apply ice and a compression bandage. Sometimes a splint is needed to promote recovery from the injury. With all wrist sprains, you should contact your chartered physiotherapist and commence a rehabilitation programme.
During a tennis game, a tennis player is required to stop, sprint and make sudden changes in direction. This can result in stretching or tearing of the ligaments in the ankle leading to ankle sprain. Sometimes a loud “pop” or “snap” may be heard at the time of injury, followed by pain, swelling and tenderness over the site as well as weightbearing on the affected side. R.I.C.E treatment should be your first course of action. Rest is needed to take the strain off the ankle and ice helps to relieve pain and inflammation. Followed by compression of the ankle to relieve swelling. Physiotherapy rehabilitation will help you regain flexibility and strength and is crucial for your return to to tennis without the risk of re-injury
ACL (anterior cruciate tears) Injury
ACL injuries are quite common among tennis players and can occur with an awkard land from a jump, from decelerating from a run too abruptly or from a sudden change in direction. The ACL is one of the two major ligaments that help to stabilise the knee. When this is injured, knee stability is compromised with feelings of the knee “giving way”. Knee pain and swelling can occur with difficulty in walking. The first thing to do is use the R.I.C.E method then seek the advice of a chartered physiotherapist to properly diagnose the injury. Your physiotherapist can then refer you on to your GP or an Orthopaedic Surgeon for review.
For these or any other injuries you may have sustained see us first. We can help.