Wimbledon is in full swing and if you’re like us here at The Physiotherapy Clinic WGC you’re likely to be glued to your screen, keeping up with all the action!
It would appear that Wimbledon, aside from cheering on your favourite tennis player, actually inspires more of us to give tennis a try! During last year’s tournament the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) saw an increase of 131,019 people playing tennis compared with the previous June. While it’s great that the tournament inspired so many people to get active, it’s a worry for us physio’s that an increase in people playing tennis for the first time may also lead to an increase in injuries.
Two-thirds of tennis injuries are caused by overuse, most commonly effecting the shoulders, wrists and elbows. The other third are caused by a traumatic injury or acute event. The most common tennis related injuries are:
- Muscle Strains
- Patellar Tendonitis
- Tennis Elbow
- Rotator Cuff Tears
- Ankle Sprains
- Stress Fractures
However don’t let this prevent you from picking up a racket and hitting the court! Here are some tips from our team to avoid picking up an injury on the tennis courts…
We can’t stress enough the importance of spending 5-10 minutes warming up before any exercise and tennis is no exception! Include a dynamic warm up before playing as this can help to prevent muscle strains amongst other injuries. Select controlled movements which represent the activity to which you are about to participate in. Examples for pre- tennis would be lunges or side lunges, heel raises, band resisted rotator cuff exercises. Your physio can write out an effective programme if you are not sure. A cool down is equally important, stretching your arms, legs and trunk; remembering to hold the position for a minimum of 30 seconds to be effective.
Build your Strength
Back and shoulder strengthening exercises can not only help to prevent injuries but can actually make you a better tennis player, stronger muscles are likely to deliver a more powerful serve. A member of our team will be able to show you specific strengthening exercises and how to do them properly.
Get the Right Support
- The right type of kit and equipment can make all the difference when it comes to avoiding injury. Here are some essentials pieces of kit to be aware of…
- The aim of a good tennis shoe is to support your ankle and avoid injury. When it comes to selecting a pair you should take into consideration the surface you play on and your style of play.
- Tennis socks have extra padding so can help to support the ankle and also protect areas that are prone to rubbing from repeated exercises.
- Don’t just play with any racquet, your racquet should have the correct grip size and string tension so as to reduce stress on your elbow and shoulder. It’s worth getting professional help when picking a racquet as they can also help you find one that is the right size and weight for your ability.
Get your Technique Right
As playing tennis involves a series of very coordinated movements to produce an effective and accurate delivery of the ball, poor technique or reduced control and mobility in any one area of the body can cause a breakdown in the kinetic chain. This can lead to a compensatory over load in an adjacent or associated part of the body. Although we would recommend a physiotherapy assessment if you are experiencing painful niggles, it is also advisable to check your technique with the club tennis coach who can also check your tennis equipment.
Assess the Court Surface
A hard tennis court with a asphalt or concrete surface are going to result in a greater impact on your body and increase the risk of a stress fracture. A clay or grass court will have less of an impact on your body however they can prove to be slippery which can in turn lead to a muscle strain or sprain when you slide too far. If there has been a recent downpour, wait until the court has dried out before you play on it as it will be extremely easy to slip and injure yourself.
Don’t Ignore Previous Injuries
To prevent an old injury flaring up when you’re playing tennis ensure that you are correctly supporting the affected area by either wearing a support brace or taping. For help with taping talk to a member of our team who will be able to advise you on how to tape.
So if you are inspired by Roger Federer or Serena Williams we hope that our tips will help you to evade injury on the tennis courts! If you would like any further information on stretching, taping or anything else for that matter then please do not hesitate to contact our team and we will be happy to help and get you match fit!
Posted by: AislingBirch
Date: Fri, July 06, 2018