Tennis elbow and how to prevent it

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Tennis elbow 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 stretching and 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 Injuries
Shoulder overuse injuries are usually due to poor conditioning and strength of the rotator cuff muscles. The tendons can then become irritated. This usually produces pain with overhead motions such as serving. If the pain persists, it can interfere with sleep and other daily activities.
Work on strengthening these rotator cuff muscles and maintaining good shoulder positioning.

Stress Fractures
Stress fractures are the result of increasing training too rapidly; when the muscles tire, more stress is placed on the bone.
Stress fractures can occur in the leg (tibia or fibula) or in the foot (the navicular or the metatarsals).
These injuries are preventable with proper strength and endurance training prior to extensive tennis playing. Increase training intensity and time gradually. Appropriate footwear is also critical to preventing stress fractures.

Muscle Strains
Muscle strains usually occur from quick, sudden moves. A good warm-up followed by proper stretching can help stop this from happening.

Tennis Injury Risk Factors

  • Different court surfaces
  • Condition of tennis balls used. Pros change them regularly!
  • Type of tennis racquet
  • Tennis shot technique
  • Inappropriate footwear
  • Poor general physical conditioning
  • Having long periods out of tennis
  • Poor injury rehabilitation

Other Tennis Tips

  • Prevention is better than cure!
  • Always do a proper warm up and cool down including attention on your wrists!
  • Maintain an adequate fitness level. Undertake conditioning and training exercises specific to the physical demands of tennis
  • Build up slowly – no more than one game per week to be added
  • Good technique will help prevent injury – use double-handed backhand to decrease muscle fatigue on one side
  • Get lessons from a qualified coach to develop correct skills and techniques
  • Avoid over-repetition of any one type of shot. Practise a range of tennis strokes including groundstrokes, serves, return of serves, overhead smashes and volleys
  • Don’t forget about your legs – most sudden injuries in tennis occur in the legs, either a muscles strain or rolled ankle so keeping your legs strong and always warming up and stretching afterwards. 

Why is tennis good for your heart and brain? Read our blog