The Summer Tennis season is in full swing in clubs and courts around Ireland and with the World’s most famous professional competition, Wimbledon into its third day, people may be encouraged to dust off the racquet and whites. Perhaps people may want to get out on the court for the first time and get some exercise during the milder weather. Tennis is a great, competitive and fun sport that is very social and also provides a great cardio workout. So whether you are a newbie to the game or a veteran, here is some useful information and tips which may help you out.
How Tennis Injuries can Occur
It can be dangerous for casual players to come straight out from the Winter break and back into sprinting, lunging and darting across the court. Reflexes and muscles are weakened after a long break which increases the risk of injury. Sudden movements like sharp stops and changes in running direction puts great tension on ligaments in the knees and suddenly halting any movements forward can damage the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL).
Players who rush back into play are susceptible to tears and inflammation in the elbows, especially in the lateral, or outer elbow. Back hands contracts the wrist extensor muscle. As the ball hits the racquet, your wrist stiffens up to deal with the force and then the muscle tendon pulls on the outer elbow, very suddenly. So if you were playing 2-3 times a week you can imagine how many back-hands you might hit. This can lead to micro tears and ultimately pain and injury.
Epicondylitis, or Tennis Elbow, is a bad pain in the outer elbow. Pain becomes worse when the area is pressed upon, carrying something or performing other daily tasks. It usually becomes swollen and inflamed. Tendon and ligament injury takes longer to heal as there is no direct supply of blood to the area, which means you could be out of action for weeks.
Some other common injuries include:
- rotator cuff tendinitis
- wrist strain
- back pain
- knee pain
- calf and Achilles tendon injuries
- ankle sprains
- tennis toe…
Here are a few quick tips to try and keep you injury free before you get stuck in.
- If you have not played for a long time, ease yourself back into it, do not go straight into full intensity. Give your body time to re-adapt.
- Strengthen your knee joints with exercises. Squats and lunges are good exercises to begin with. Plyometrics could be used also.
- Make sure you are using correct form, lessons from a professional will help you out and show your how to play and use your body properly (e.g swinging)
- Use the right equipment. The racquet should fit you. Proper tennis shoes should be worn and supports may be used.
- Warm up adequately before playing, a simple jog and some stretching is a good place to start.
- If you do feel any pain, especially with something like tennis elbow stop pain immediately and rest and apply ice. Do not start playing again until you feel no pain.
If you are experiencing any pain before or after playing it is advised that you seek medical advice from a doctor or Physiotherapist, to avoid any further complications and to make sure you get the most enjoyment out of the tennis season!!