Tennis continues to be one of the fastest growing sports over the past several years, not only nationally but also locally. The Charlotte Tennis Association (CTA), Mecklenburg Park & Recreation, private clubs and other local tennis facilities strive to provide high quality tennis activities for the Charlotte community.
The greater Charlotte area offers tennis enthusiasts a wide range of options for players of all ages and abilities. With the explosive growth in popularity of tennis, however, there has also been an increase in tennis injuries.
At Dynamic Health, we provide the same level of sports performance services for the recreational and the elite athlete alike. We recognize the complex nature of sports-related injuries and combine all of our pain treatment protocols to create a systematic plan to correct the cause of your injury.
As Charlotte’s premier pain management clinic, we find that a high number of competitive tennis players experience overuse injuries, like “tennis elbow” or wrist injuries when they play in tournaments. For noncompetitive tennis players, improper or inadequate technique and physical training may also cause overuse injuries.
While overuse injuries make up a large portion of tennis injuries, the good news is that these injuries can be prevented with some changes to technique and training regiments. In this week’s blog, we’ll take a look at common tennis injuries and how you can help prevent them!
Most Common Tennis Injuries
The injury we see most is “tennis elbow,” which is an overuse of the muscles that extend the wrist or bend it backwards. It’s also the muscle most used when the ball impacts the racquet. Proper strengthening of this muscle and other muscles around it, along with a regular warm-up routine, will help decrease the likelihood of tennis elbow. Paying attention to technical components such as grip size and proper technique can also help prevent this condition.
Shoulder overuse injuries are typically due to poor conditioning and strength of the rotator cuff muscles. The rotator cuff helps position the shoulder properly in the socket. When it is fatigued or weak, there is some increased “play” of the ball in the socket, irritating the tissues. The tendon or the bursa can become inflamed and hurt, which produces pain with overhead motions such as serving. If the pain persists, it can interfere with sleep and other daily activities.
As an athlete strengthens the major muscle groups, the rotator cuffs are placed under increasing strain as they try to ‘keep up’ with the stronger muscles surrounding them. A program of specialized rotator cuff exercises to compliment regular strength training may be able to improve the strength of the rotator cuff. Flexing and extending the wrist against light resistance with an exercise band three to four times a week may help lessen pain and decrease injuries.
Twenty percent of junior players suffer stress fractures, compared to just 7.5 percent of professional players. Stress fractures are the result of training too rapidly. When the muscles tire, more stress is placed on the bone. If this occurs too quickly, the bone cannot adjust rapidly enough to accommodate the stress and it breaks. These “breaks” are usually cracks in the bone that cause pain rather than an actual break or displacement.
These injuries are preventable with proper strength and endurance training prior to playing. Appropriate footwear is also critical to preventing stress fractures.
Muscle strains usually occur from quick, sudden moves. A good warm-up followed by proper stretching can help diminish muscle strains. Your warm-up should include a slow jog, jumping jacks or riding a bike at low intensity.
Stretching should be slow and deliberate. Do not bounce to stretch, and be sure to hold the stretch 30 seconds or more. The best stretches are moving stretches, such as swinging your leg as far forward and backward or swinging your arms in circles and across your body. Stretch for at least five minutes before playing!
Charlotte Sports Performance
If you are suffering from a sports-related injury, Dynamic Health provides sports performance treatments and programs. We offer new client appointments within one to three days, and we are one of the only pain management clinics to provide imaging-guided injections without a long wait.
If you would like to have us speak at a corporate health fair or provide a community screening, please fill out our registration form or call 704-525-6288 ext. 6209.