It is that time of year again
Common tennis injuries at this time of year tend to coincide with the fervour that surrounds the start of Wimbledon.
Many recreational players dig out their old kit and rush to the nearest pay-and-play courts (if they can find a space).
But too much competitive spirit or a lack of proper warm-up can lead to some pretty unpleasant injuries in some cases.
We look at some of the more likely injuries that can occur and give you tips on how you might deal with them.
Watch out for the most common tennis injuries!
There are two types of injuries that the recreational player is particularly susceptible to. Injuries to the joints and soft tissue injuries.
Because there is a lot of rotational movement in tennis the joints are subjected to some unusual and sudden forces. The wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles are, particularly at risk.
Every shot in tennis relies on the connection of a series of body segments or links referred to as the kinetic chain. This creates a lot of force through the joints, especially the wrists, shoulders, and elbows.
The two common problems in the shoulder are rotator cuff tendonitis and impingement syndrome.
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that help to stabilise the shoulder. Tendonitis occurs when the tendons become irritated and inflamed. This often occurs due to poor serving technique in tennis. The treatment includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), anti-inflammatories.
Impingement occurs when the rotator cuff tendons become trapped. If you start to have trouble raising your arms above your head, it is likely that impingement is present. As is often the case, rest and anti-inflammatories are recommended, but you will almost certainly need additional help. A qualified physiotherapist can help greatly with providing useful stretches and strengthening exercises to help alleviate the problem.
Injuries to the lower limbs
Tennis requires many rapid changes of direction. This can put a lot of stress on the joints of the lower limbs. Sprained ankles are fairly common but relatively easy to rehabilitate. Of far more concern is injuries to the knee.
Two of the most common injuries to the knee are patella tendonitis or a tear to the meniscus cartilage. Depending on the severity of the knee injury the rehabilitation time can be quite extended. In some cases, you may even require surgery.
Both injuries will require careful management to restore proper stability in the knee. If you have patella tendonitis, regular and steady stretching exercises can reduce muscle spasm and help lengthen the muscle-tendon unit.
Weak thigh muscles often contribute to the problems in the patella tendon. Very specific and deliberate exercises should form part of the rehabilitation process. Again, the guidance of a good physiotherapist will help enormously in the speed and efficiency of recovery.
Obviously, it is better to avoid any of these injuries in the first place. Investment in proper equipment (especially a decent pair of tennis shoes) and a little bit of coaching to ensure good technique will help. Also learning more about modern stretching and warm-up routines will help guard against the soft tissue problems.
But if you are unfortunate enough to get injured don’t be shy about getting expert guidance. It is good to have the peace of mind of knowing that your injury has been properly dealt with.
And if you happen to be in the Islington (N1) area, do contact us. We will be happy to help.
In the meantime, enjoy your tennis, and remember to keep well hydrated in this hot weather!