Australian Open hots up – what are the common tennis injuries!
As the tennis hots up at the Australian Open in Melbourne, the fever of tennis inspires those around us. So what exactly are the demands on the body involved with tennis and the associated injuries we see in the physiotherapy clinic?
Tennis demands aerobic fitness, speed, power and agility. Players tend to stretch their body to the limit in an aim to gain the competitive edge, and if the body is not used to these demands placed on it, injuries can occur.
Tennis injuries can be related to the repetitive nature of the sport causing overuse injuries or the acute traumatic type. The overuse type injuries can relate to the upper limb, be it the shoulder, elbow or wrist, that are subject to high repetitive and high-velocity motion used in swinging a racquet.
Overhead strokes such as smashes and serves can irritate the shoulder joint with tendon, muscular or bursa related problems. Tennis elbow which involves inflammation and microtears of the forearm tendons where they insert into the lateral aspect of the elbow is a common result of gripping and poor technique causing excessive load on this tendon.
Overuse injuries to the lower limb such as hip, knee and ankle, occur as a result of the pivoting and quick changing of direction that is required, especially when playing on hard surfaces.
Muscle strains are often the result of quick sudden movements, or fatigue and potentially dehydration that may put increased stress on the muscle and cause strains or tears.
Many injuries related to tennis can be prevented by identification of risk factors or causes. Engaging in specific strengthening, mobility and endurance type exercises may assist in some of these injuries being prevented. Strengthening the core pelvis and trunk, assist in providing a stable base for the upper and lower limb to move from, ensuring or minimising load through the upper and lower limb. Seeking guidance from tennis coaches and physiotherapists regarding your technique, mobility, strength, stability and power can help prevent or manage injuries and keep you on that court.
Game, set and match!