With Scotland going back to more and more of the normal activities in June and July of 2020 many questions arise. Outdoor individual sports such as tennis and golf will be the first ones to return to in our attempts to get back to movement. However, as all physical activities after prolonged inactivity, there will be a few risks to consider in regards to our musculoskeletal health.
Tennis can be a very demanding activity with rapid changes in directions of movement, overhead activities and prolonged repetitive movements. All these factors make overuse injuries very common in recreational or professional tennis players. The risk
of injury is even higher when there has been a longer break from the sport.
What injuries do we encounter the most at Physioflex when treating tennis players and how to prevent them?
- Lateral epicondylitis( tennis elbow)
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 muscles most used when the tennis ball impacts the racquet. Paying attention to technical components such as grip size and proper technique can also help prevent this.
- Shoulder Injuries
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 is some increased “play” of the ball in the socket, irritating the tissues. The tendons or the bursa can become inflamed and hurt. This usually produces pain with overhead motions such as serving. If the pain persists, it can interfere with sleep and other daily activities.
- Muscle Strains and joint sprains
Muscle strains and joint sprains usually occur from quick, sudden moves. A good warm-up can help diminish the risk for those injuries. The warm-up should include a slow jog, jumping jacks, or riding a bike at low intensity.
When returning to tennis make sure to:
- Gradually build up your aerobic fitness with jogging or cycling before taking part in more demanding physical activities
- Gradually build up your playing time and frequency- do not go back immediately to playing every day for hours and hours without rest. Fatigue is a leading factor for musculoskeletal injuries.
- Make sure to include sport specific movements in your warm up (e.g. performing the movements that you will be doing during the activity, but without the racket and an opponent).
- Do not forget strengthening of the muscles in the forearm and shoulder, as this will help decrease the likelihood of experiencing tennis elbow or shoulder injuries.
- Make sure to check racket grip size and weight.
- Focus on good technique and do not forget to have fun!
If you have any questions or want to discuss any barriers or injury issues that may be stopping you from training, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01506237770 to speak to one of the Physioflex Team.