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The 3 W’s to avoid Tennis Injuries in 2017

Tennis is among one of the world’s most popular sports and unlike many of other sports, games have no specified time limit. This highly demanding sport places individuals at risk for injury especially with an increased volume and duration of play to due stresses and strain of player fatigue. There are a variety of factors that you may face on the tennis court from the surface you prefer to play on to your racquet grip position or stroke technique.

With the Australian Open beginning we will see the worlds best players take the court over the next 2 weeks. The Physiotherapists and Osteopaths at the Injury Rehab Centre in Cheltenham have a small connection to the tournament with their clinical innovation the M.A.T (Movement Assessment Tool used by 1000+ therapists worldwide) used by medical staff touring with the ATP.

The M.A.T featuring at Rod Laver Arena

Unfortunately a number of the players on tour will also be forced to leave the court and the tournament with injury. If the Australian Open is going to inspire you to take up the racquet here are the Where, What and Why’s of what to consider according to the research to avoid joining them on the sidelines with a tennis related injury such as lower back pain or tennis elbow.

Where?

Top 3 Injury locations for tennis players, here’s what you should look out for:

  • Lower Extremity (31-67%)
    • Ankle Sprains
    • Achilles Tendinopathy
  • Upper Extremity (20-49%)
    • Tennis Elbow
    • Rotator cuff muscle strains
  • Trunk (3-21%)
    • Abdominal strains
    • Lower back pain

What?

What are the specific factors that contribute to tennis injuries?

Age and Sex:

  • Fortunately according to the research there is no significant differences in injury rates across multiple skill levels in age and sex.

Time

  • Recreational players participating in more than 2 hours a day of play more frequently reported elbow pain. If you are getting back into playing tennis, consider the 10% rule of not increasing the amount of time played by more than 10% a week to avoid overloading the elbow region.
  • One study found more than 3 hours per week had overall increase in injury rate as outlined above.

Skill Level

  • Incidence and prevalence of injury does not differ between skill levels. Hackers and slashers were just as likely to get injured as the pro’s!
    • Novice players may be subject to higher forces as they have higher vibration loads at wrist & elbow during stroke due to inefficient technique.
    • Professionals have improved technique, but experience a greater volume of play than novice individuals prompting them to injury.

Court Surface

  • Mixed evidence on which court type incurs greater risk – grass vs. clay vs. hard.
  • Frequently changing surfaces may be associated with injuries in legs.

Why?

What are some of the common causes of tennis related injury?

Shoulder Labral Tears & Impingement

  • If you have shoulder pain with playing tennis it is likely due to the recurring overhead motions with serving.  You may need greater strength or to make technical changes to your serve. At the Injury Rehab Centre we have a lot of experience identifying strength deficiencies using the latest assessment technology so as to set a strengthening program that really works.

Lateral elbow tendinopathy “Tennis Elbow”

  • Backhand stroke with wrists slightly bent put’s a lot of stress through the outside of the elbow. Often this small area is having to work too hard to make the shot resulting in repetitive strain and inflammation. A strengthening plan combined with looking for other areas that aren’t doing their job is the best way to resolve this issue to get you out of pain. The use of “Tennis Elbow” braces such as those stocked at the Injury Rehab Centre may also be helpful.

Medial elbow tendinopathy “Golfer’s Elbow”

  • Less common in tennis players this is often due to wrist snapping on serves and forehand strokes. Same as above, an increased amount of stress going through a small area. Also requires a individualised strengthening plan and assessing other areas such as whether there is limiation in the spine or hip movement to come up with a plan to get you back to tennis pain free, faster.

Low Back strains

  • This can result from an increase in intensity or volume of play. Once again the 10% rule applies to make sure you are not doing too much, too soon.
  • Sudden changes in stroke technique can cause strains due to not being 100% familiar with the movement and needing to get used to this. Once again an individualised strengthening regime prescribed by the team at the Injury Rehab Centre will make your back robust enough to tolerate this and avoid injury.

Lumbar Disk

  • The rotation and extension of spine during the serving motion, repetitive sprain over time can cause gradual degradation of the disk anatomy. At the Injury Rehab Centre we assess our patients to make sure the areas above and below the lower back move correctly to reducing excessive hingeing in this area that can be a big factor contributing to disk injury.

If you are suffering from a tennis related injury as outlined above don’t waste any time guessing whether it will get better.

The Physiotherapists and Osteopaths at the Injury Rehab Centre utilize the latest assessment technology including:

  • Their very own innovation the Movement Assessment Tool (M.A.T. used by over 1000+ therapists worldwide and on the ATP),
  • Force Plates technology to determine if their are imbalances in your power output causing your injury
  • Strength Assessment which identifies exact discrepancies in your strength and ability to absorb forces and resist muscle strain and joint sprains.

We do this to help put an exact number on how you move so that we can identify the areas that put you most at risk of a tennis related injury such as lower back pain or tennis elbow.

If you or someone you know has a tennis related injury stop guessing whether it will get better and book your appointment online today with the therapists at the Injury Rehab Centre or call the clinic on 95537024 to bullet proof your body out on the court so you can play for longer and improve you performance.

References:
Abrams, G.D., Renstrom, P.A., Safran, M.R. Epidemiology of musculoskeletal injury in the tennis player. Br J Sports Med, 2012:1-7. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2012-091164
Dines, J.S., Bedi, A., Williams, P.N., Dodson, C.C., Ellenbaker, T.S., Altchek, D.W., Windler, G., Dines, D.M. Tennis injuries: epidemiology, pathophysiology, and treatment. The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2015, 23(3): 181-189.

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