3 Common Tennis Injuries And How to Minimise Them
With the US Open Tennis Championships just around the corner, we thought it would be fitting for us to talk about 3 common tennis injuries. A sport that is beloved and played by many in Singapore, be it recreationally or competitively, we hope this article sheds some light on these common conditions which could happen to players of all skill levels.
3 Common Tennis Injuries
1. Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow (aka Lateral Epicondylitis) is a painful condition caused by repetitive strain or overuse of the forearm muscles. This results in the forearm extensor muscle tendons that attach to the outer side of the elbow becoming irritated. This usually happens with gripping the racket during tennis swings, so repetitive swinging to return shots can strain the muscles and put the tendons under much stress.
Common symptoms include pain at the outer elbow with gripping, lifting or wrist movements.
2. Rotator Cuff Injuries
A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, holding the shoulder joint in place with movement. Rotator cuff injuries commonly happen due to the wear and tear of the rotator cuff tendon tissue. These injuries are caused by repetitive overhead activity, such as serving the tennis ball which accounts for a large part of the strokes during the game. The serve is also the most energy-demanding motion in the sport, stressing the muscles more.
Common symptoms include recurrent shoulder pain, especially with overhead movements and difficulty in lifting the arm up due to muscle weakness.
3. Jumper’s Knee
Jumper’s knee (or Patellar Tendinitis) is a condition like tennis elbow, characterised by inflammation of the tendon from overuse. The tendon that connects the kneecap to the shin bone will get irritated due to the repetitive stress from jumping, pivoting, and sprinting during a tennis game.
Common symptoms of this tennis injury include pain at the base of the kneecap and knee swelling post-tennis or physical activity involving aggravating movements.
3 Important Tips for minimizing the risk of tennis injuries
1. Proper warm-up routine.
Begin sessions with a warm-up routine consisting of dynamic stretches. You can also practice tennis strokes to prepare the body for the demands of the game.
2. Take breaks
A common cause of painful conditions is repetitive movement resulting in overuse injuries. So, the counter to that would be to take frequent breaks during tennis sessions to prevent overexertion and post sessions to ensure sufficient time for the body to recover.
3. Choose the right gear
To prevent elbow or wrist injuries, select the correct grip size for your tennis racket and consider using lower string tension for the tennis racket to reduce the load on the elbow whenever you hit the ball.
How can physiotherapy help with tennis injuries?
With the painful conditions mentioned above, they do not always go away with rest or might even be a recurring issue. Physiotherapy aims to accurately diagnose the condition and treat the root cause of the problem with a holistic approach:
- Education on how to manage the condition
- Manual techniques to relieve any mobility restrictions and reduce pain
- Targeted exercise prescription to strengthen weak muscles that contribute to the condition
If you are experiencing any pain or suspect you already have one of the above conditions, do book an appointment to consult with one of our physiotherapists to have a detailed assessment done to identify the root cause of the problem and have it treated.