The most common injuries in tennis: how to prevent them and when to consult?

2022/08/26 Home Education and advice

The most common injuries in tennis: how to prevent them and when to consult?

By Félix Doucet-Carrière, physiotherapist

Tennis is a very demanding sport that requires a high level of coordination and physical fitness to excel.

Most tennis injuries among recreational athletes are classified as overuse injuries. Most of them can be prevented quite easily with the right training, the right technique, and the right equipment.

In this article, we will present to you three very common injuries in tennis and share some helpful exercises to prevent these types of injuries.

“Tennis elbow” et “Golfer’s elbow”

Contrary to popular belief, tennis elbow is not the most common elbow injury in tennis players. Indeed, it is the “golfer’s elbow”!

These very similar problems affect tennis players just as much as golfers. These two injuries are both considered as a tendonitis at the elbow joint. When the pain is on the outer part of the elbow, it is called “tennis elbow”. When it is located on the inside of the elbow, it is called “golfer’s elbow”. Usually, these problems occur following an increase in training volume or intensity, or even a change in equipment.

« Golfer’s » elbow

To prevent this pain, the tendons of the muscles of the forearm must be strong enough to meet the very high demand that the tennis player places on them. Frequent strengthening and stretching exercises are effective in releasing tension in muscles and tendons.

Here are some simple exercises to prevent elbow problems before they happen:

« Golfer’s » elbow

« Golfer’s » elbow

Objectif: Strengthen the tendons of the medial elbow.

Recommended parameters : 3 sets, 10-15 repetitions, at least 4-5 times per week.

« Golfer’s » elbow

Objectif: Stretching the tendons of the medial elbow to increase their elasticity.

Recommended parameters: 3 sets, 30 second hold, at least 4-5 times per week.

« Tennis » elbow

« Tennis » elbow

Objectif: Strengthen the tendons of the medial elbow.

Recommended parameters : 3 sets, 10-15 repetitions, at least 4-5 times per week.

 

« Golfer’s » elbow

Objectif: Stretching the tendons of the medial elbow to increase their elasticity.

Recommended parameters: 3 sets, 30 second hold, at least 4-5 times per week.

Shoulder tendonitis

This injury occurs in all sports that involve repetitive overhead movements.

When the muscles that stabilize the shoulder are not strong and coordinated enough, especially during movement with the hand above the head, the tendons of the rotator cuff can get pinched in the joint. If this is repeated several times, or over a long period of time, the tendons become irritated and begin to cause pain.

Many tennis players are limited in the performance of their serve due to this shoulder problem.

Here are some simple exercises to prevent shoulder problems before they happen:

Tendinite à l’épaule

Objectif: Strengthen the muscles surrounding the shoulder blade which are important during the overhead movement seen in tennis.

Recommended parameters : 3 sets, 10-15 repetitions, at least 4-5 times per week.

Tendinite à l’épaule

Objectif: Strengthen the muscles surrounding the shoulder blade which are important during the overhead movement seen in tennis.

Recommended parameters : 3 sets, 10-15 repetitions, at least 4-5 times per week.

What to do when these problems arise and when to consult?

When these types of pain start to set in, it’s the body’s signal to tell us it needs a break. Usually, in the first phases following the onset of such pain, the tendons are still intact, although a little inflamed. If we continue to play and put stress on the tendon, that’s where the pain can become more incapacitating if not addressed.

So, when pain appears in the elbow or shoulder due to an increase in the volume of play, a modification in technique or a change of equipment, it is advisable to take a break for 10 to 14 days. If the pain passes, great news! Otherwise, it is best to consult a physiotherapist for an accurate diagnosis and professional advice.

Have a great tennis season!

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