Because of the demands that tennis puts on the body, injuries are common.
Tennis is a complex and physically demanding sport that requires great hand-eye coordination.
If you play tennis, then you know that it works out the entire body. Running, swinging, and hitting make it a physically demanding activity. Because of this, it’s important to engage in exercises that will help to prevent injury.
While some injuries, like those caused by a fall, may be and unpreventable, there are some common injuries that can be minimized by taking proper precautions ahead of time. Learning proper technique and using the right equipment are important steps to take. It’s also important to seek medical attention right away if you suspect an injury.
Here are five of the most common tennis-related injuries, and what you should know about each.
1. Rotator Cuff Tear
Your shoulder’s rotator cuff is a very important group of four small muscles in your shoulder that help to control, stabilize, and move your shoulder joint. A rotator cuff tear is the tearing of one or more of these muscles, which can be extremely painful. The treatment of a rotator cuff tear generally involves resting the muscles. The length of time it will take to heal depends on how big the tear is and how much you allow it to rest. While shoulder surgery isn’t always required, in some cases, your doctor may recommend rotator cuff surgery, especially if symptoms are still present after 6-12 months. Surgery usually involves reattaching the tendon to the head of humerus –or upper arm bone.
2. Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is the term for a condition caused by overusing the arm, forearm, and hand muscles, as is common with tennis players. But it’s not just tennis that causes tennis elbow; anything that causes overuse of the muscles that run from the hand to the elbow can result in tennis elbow. In most cases, resting the muscles is the best treatment.
3. Ankle Sprains
A sprained ankle occurs when you twist or roll your ankle. Common in tennis, sprained ankles occur by jumping or landing on the ankle wrong. Most times, a sprained ankle can heal by allowing it to rest, and by applying hot or cold compressions to it.
4. Achilles Tendon Injury
Achilles tendon injury is caused by a sudden overload from pushing off while your leg is still fully extended. This is a common injury while playing tennis when you jump suddenly or stretch the Achilles tendon too much. An Achilles tendon rupture is generally treated by keeping the foot in a boot for several weeks while the tendon heals itself. Surgery is not usually needed.
5. Stress Fracture of the Back (Spondylolysis)
Spondylolysis is a stress fracture in one of the vertebrae and is a common cause of lower back pain in adolescent athletes. Stress fractures can present themselves in back spasms, sharp then dull pain in the back, or tight hamstrings. Treatment options usually involve managing the pain and rest, allowing the back to heal on its own. This usually takes 6 to 12 weeks. This is often followed by a period of core strengthening exercises, to help prevent reoccurrence.
While tennis is a popular and enjoyable sport, it’s important to be aware of the potential risk of injury. In some cases, warmup exercises and proper technique can help to stave off injuries.
It’s important to seek prompt treatment at the first signs of trouble. If you or your loved one has sustained an injury, contact Blackstone Orthopedics for sports medicine in Rhode Island today.
Image: Tulane Public Relations