Tennis is one of the most commonly played sports in the world, and while it is not usually viewed as a high-risk sport, it is easy to sustain an injury while playing. The majority of tennis injuries are a result of overuse, although physical trauma is also common. In this blog, we’re going to look at some of the most common tennis injuries, and what causes them.
The body parts that are most adversely affected by tennis tend to be the shoulders, spine, elbows, wrists, knees, hips, and ankles. As you may have noticed, these are the parts of our bodies that move the most. This is why they are the likely to be injured: either they are moving around more, and could be damaged by overuse, or they could move in an unnatural way.
The most well-known injury associated with tennis is of course “Tennis elbow”. This is actually a bit of a misnomer, as it is not the elbow that is the source of the pain in this case. The pain actually originates from the wrist, which can be damaged by both overuse and trauma. Because tennis is played with a racquet, the wrist moves around more than any other body part. This not only means it is easily overused, but also means that the wrist absorbs the shock when the ball hits the racquet.
The shoulders and elbows are more susceptible to overuse injuries than traumatic injuries, as they tend to make a small number of movements over and over again, but are not particularly exposed to any physical trauma. The backs, hips, and knees can also be damaged gradually over time, as we often stand in unusual poses or hunched over while we play tennis.
Although they are less common than overuse injuries, traumatic injuries do still occur in tennis. These mostly come as a result of players falling while attempting to make a short, which can lead to disastrous results. Apart from the physical shock that can be dealt by falling on a joint, there is also the risk of twisting the body in an abnormal way. This is most common with the wrists and ankles, but can happen to almost any part of the body.
Traumatic injuries are harder to prevent, because they occur in the heat of the game and can’t really be prepared for. The best approach a person can take to reduce the likelihood of sustaining such an injury is to be aware of how they fall. While instinctively we may be tempted to stretch out our arms, or try to stop ourselves falling over with our feet, these actions make it more likely that we will be hurt. Try to get in a frame of mind where, when falling, you protect you extremities rather than using them to protect your body. It may seem counter-intuitive, but hitting the ground will deal less damage than falling on your wrist, with all your weight behind you.
For overuse injuries, the best method of prevention is to avoid repetitive movements, and work out body parts like the wrists in other ways. As long as you still allow them time to rest, this will stop them moving in the same ways over and over again and developing imbalances.