It wasn’t all Champagne and Strawberries at Wimbledon!
5 most common injuries in Tennis
- Ankle sprain
- Shoulder Pain
- Calf strain
- Back problems
- Tennis Elbow
An ankle sprain is also classified into grades 1-3. Grade 1 being a more mild injury to 3 being a complete rupture. The sprain can be a single or multiple ligaments, of those the most commonly injured are the outside ligaments.
The way sprains occur are the ankle is sometimes twisted inwards, player would experience pain at the front of the ankle due to damage in tissues.
Exercise to help avoid:
Standing on an uneven surface on one foot to help promote the stability of the ankle.
This is common pain/ injury in tennis as the muscles in the shoulder are used heavily throughout training and the matches!
Common muscle injuries are to the rotator cuff muscles and Serratus anterior which is responsible for controlling the shoulder blade .
Exercise to improve:
On all fours lifting up one arm and holding still for 45 seconds. This will strengthen the muscles which hold the shoulder blade in place. To make the exercise harder put hands on a pillow to make it an uneven surface.
The calf muscle group consists of the Gastrocnemius, Soleus and Plantaris muscles, situated at the back of the lower leg. Their function is to pull up on the heel bone and these muscles are most active during the push-off when a tennis player has to move quickly to react to an opponent’s shot. A strain occurs when the muscle is forcibly stretched beyond its limits and the muscle tissue becomes torn
Exercises to improve:
An easy to do at home exercise is stretching the muscle to elongate the scar tissue and progressively increasing the muscle strength. This is done by putting one foot in front of the other and ensuring the back heel is on the floor hold the stretch for 30-45 seconds. To make the exercise harder move the back foot further away from your front foot. Don’t start stretching until 10 days after your injury.
Serving in tennis requires a combination of spinal hyperextension (bending back) together with rotation and side bending of the trunk. This puts a lot of stress on an area of the vertebra. This can lead to a long term pain in the back.
An exercise which may help you avoid the pain in the spine is a modified bridge. This is learn to control flexion and rotation of the spine. Laying on back lift hips off of the floor ensuring trunk is flat, lift on foot off the floor and don’t allow hips to rotate . Initially this exercise will be hard to control so it is all about repetition. Hold the bridge for 10 seconds initially and increase the hold- repeat for 2-3 mins
Tennis elbow is inflammation of the muscles and tendons of the forearm as they attach to the humerus (upper arm) bone. This inflammation is caused by prolonged gripping activities such as gripping tennis rachets. Depending how bad the condition is this can be improved simply by rest or with the use of anti-inflammatory medication. However it may need physiotherapy.
A simple exercise to reduce pain from a tennis elbow is a Resisted extension of the wrist allows the tendon to be stretched Hold the stretch below for 30 seconds about 5 times a day.