Physiotherapy Matters match winning points to keep you fit for tennis this summer
With the glorious weather and Wimbledon just around the corner many of us will be dusting off our rackets and taking the court to play tennis over the coming months. Physiotherapy Matters want to ensure that you really enjoy your tennis this summer injury free. Many tennis injuries are due to overuse but some may be due to a traumatic injury or acute event, below is some advice on common tennis injuries and top tips for injury prevention.
The injury most heard about is “tennis elbow,” which is an overuse of the muscles that extend the wrist or bend it backwards. It is also the muscle most used when the tennis ball impacts the racquet. Proper strengthening of this muscle and other muscles around it, along with a regular warm-up routine, will help decrease the likelihood of experiencing tennis elbow. Paying attention to technical components such as grip size and proper technique can also help prevent this condition.
Shoulder overuse injuries are usually due to poor conditioning and strength of the rotator cuff muscles. The rotator cuff helps to position the shoulder properly in the shoulder socket. When it is fatigued or weak, there can be more movement of the ball in the socket, inflaming and irritating the surrounding tissues which may cause some discomfort. This can produce pain with overhead motions such as serving. If the pain persists, it can interfere with sleep and other daily activities. Ice and rest may help to settle down the initial pain, inflammation and help with recovery.
Muscle strains usually occur from quick, sudden movements. A good warm-up followed by proper stretching can help diminish muscle strains. The warm-up could include a slow jogging, jumping jacks, or riding a bike at low intensity alongside dynamic and static stretching. Moving stretches, such as swinging your leg forward and backward, side to side or swinging your arms in circles and across your body.
Patellar Tendonitis (aka Jumper’s Knee)
The patellar tendon attaches the kneecap to the shinbone and aids in the movement of the leg and supporting our weight when walking and jumping. Jumping, in particular, can put excessive strain on this tendon, and repetitive jumping, which is often a part of tennis, can cause microscopic tears and injury to the patellar tendon. Patellar tendonitis can cause pain and swelling, and the affected area can feel warm to the touch. Jumping, kneeling, and walking up and down stairs can increase the pain.
It is very common for tennis players to suffer from ankle sprains. Because tennis can be a fast-paced game, a sudden sideways motion can cause the ankle to twist, stretching out or damaging one of the ligaments in the ankle. A sprain can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the ankle. The ankle may then be unstable, and bruising can occur.
Physiotherapy Matters TOP TIPS for injury prevention
- Flexing and extending the wrist against light resistance such as an exercise band three to four times a week may help lessen pain and decrease injuries
- Static stretching should be slow and controlled. Do not bounce to stretch; hold the stretch 30 seconds or more.
- Racket size, string tension and grip size are extremely important! Ensure your equipment is suited to you, your wrists and elbows will thank you later
- Correct tennis footwear is essential to protect your feet and ankles from multi-directional movements; ensure you have supportive trainers that fit you properly and can withstand side to side forces
- Warm up & Cool down before and after playing tennis even if it’s just for fun
- Strength & Conditioning your whole body to withstand high impact forces, repetitive actions and fast changes in direction will help with injury prevention, Pilates is a great way to start.
- Rest is needed between training and matches to aid your bodies recovery
At Physiotherapy Matters we can treat many conditions with different techniques. Shockwave therapy now is available in house which is hugely effective in treatment of tendinopathies such as tennis elbow, golfers elbow, trochanteric bursitis, Achilles tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis all of which can be associated with overuse injuries in tennis. Other treatments include acupuncture, massage, postural assessment and re-education, mobilisation/manipulative therapy, taping to correct muscular dysfunction or offload painful structures and Pilates to build up core strength and decrease postural abnormalities. Many sports injuries are actually closely linked to posture and day to day activities. We will ask you questions about your sport but also consider aspects including sitting posture and computer habits.
If you have any concerns about an injury or how to prevent future injuries Physiotherapy Matters offers a free telephone triage service where you can speak to one of our experienced chartered Physiotherapists.
Please ring 0333 2200 238 and a Physiotherapist will be able to answer any queries that you may have about an injury, prevention advice and management strategies.