With the Australian Open back for another year, let’s take a look at the more common tennis-related injuries. There are aspects of tennis that significantly increase the risk of injury to players, including high speed of racquet head movements in combination with high repetition, the various playing surfaces also pose inherent risks to players.
Some of the more common injuries include;
Ankle sprain - common across many sports, this injury is highly prevalent due to the quick stop-start motion in lateral directions. You can minimise your risk of injury by having properly fitted shoes with good treading, and ensuring they are tightly laced up from toe to tongue of shoe before stepping onto the court. Specific “Tennis shoes” generally are more sturdy than runners as they are designed more for multidirectional movement. As the feet move a lot in the shoes during play, it can be a good idea to re-lace the shoes half way through play.
Knee and shoulder tendinopathy - these can be chronic conditions that may come about due to excessive repetition of play (overuse). It is often seen in competitive players that add more training/playing sessions into the week over a short time frame, or a casual player that starts playing 3-4x a week after not playing since last summer! The best avoidance for this is load management and strengthening/conditioning (be sure to seek advice from your health professional for these areas).
Wrist strains - Highly prevalent with competitive players that may be adjusting their swing mechanics to add more top-spin, or to learn a kick serve. The high velocity of movement where the wrist is in an extreme range of motion, can lead to a lot of loading/strain on the wrist joint itself. Wrist taping/supports may be required, as such any wrist pain during play, should be assessed and managed by your health professional.
Tennis Elbow - Surprisingly this injury is not overly common amongst tennis players. However it can be related again to repetitive/overuse of the muscles in the forearm.
To help avoid tennis injuries, consider adopting a year-round exercise program that focuses on muscular strengthening, flexibility, and aerobic conditioning. Ensure an adequate active warm up, and seek the assistance of tennis coaching for swing corrections if required, and seek help from your health professionals for load management to avoid overuse injuries.