Tennis is not known for being a contact sport and therefore it not considered a high-impact activity. However, due to the constant movements, sprints, recoveries and repetition, tennis still has a certain level of injury risks.
The most common Tennis injuries are:
1- Tennis Elbow
Tennis Elbow refers to the inflammation of tendons joining the forearm muscles to the outside of the elbow. This type of injury, also known as Lateral epicondylitis, is often the result of overdoing and is quite common among tennis and racquet sports. The main symptom of tennis elbow is pain on the outside of the elbow and weakness on grip strength.
2- Knee Tendonitis (Patella)
One of the functions of the patellar tendon is to attach the kneecap to the shinbone, providing support to the movement of the leg while supporting our body weight during motions such as walking and jumping. Excessive Jumping may put excessive strain on the tendon and doing so repetitively (a recurring movement in tennis) can cause little tears and injuries to the patella tendon. This type of tendonitis can cause pain and swelling and may result in increase of pain while jumping, kneeling or walking on stairs
3- Ankle Sprains
Since tennis is a fast-paced sport it is very common to see ankle sprains among players. Sudden sideways motion and/or side recover can cause the ankle to twist, stretch out or damage its ligaments. An unstable ankle can result in sprain which can show symptoms such as pain, stiffness and swelling
4- Rotator Cuff Tears
The rotator cuff is composed by tendons and muscles that come together guarantee stable mobility to our shoulders. As a result of overuse, the rotator cuff can tear gradually. The main symptoms of a rotator cuff include weakness in the shoulder, increase difficulty to lift the arm, crackling and snapping noises during should movement and localized pain.
5- Back Stress Fractures
This type of injury often happens due to combination of hyperextension, side-bending and trunk rotation during the serving motion. This blend of movements puts stress on the lower back vertebrae and may eventually cause a fracture at the vertebra location called pars interarticularis. Stress fractures and not necessarily painful but it can trigger lower back pain that can get worse throughout continuous activity.
Tips to prevent injuries:
We listed a few basic tips on how to prevent getting hurt while playing tennis:
It all comes down to executing the right movement at the right time. Avoid arching your back during serve. Bending knees and raising heels to balance upper body weight during swings. Perfect ball strike to make sure it gets hit in front of you. The right process to play the game is the best way to avoid any inconvenient injuries!
2) Warm ups and conditioning and do strength-building exercises.
One must always be disciplined and develop a habit to do a proper warm up before practice or a match. Activating the right muscles decreases the chance of injury! Also, strength building exercises are a must to keep a healthy body to endure all the conditions you will face while practicing, specially in part such as core, shoulder, and legs. And always remember to stretch after each training session!
3) Using the right gear
It all starts with having the right tennis shoes. Shoes with good stable support helps us avoid ankle injuries. Another tip is to wear two pairs of socks which gives an extra layer of support to your ankles. Using a racquet with the correct grip size and string tension also helps reduce constant stress on your elbow and shoulder, while size and specially weight of the racquet must be chosen properly and match your abilities
4) Know when to stop- Breaks
Sometimes playing too much can backfire. Practicing as much as possible to improve your game can be true, but you must pay attention not to overexert yourself. Our bodies need time to recover between practice and matches and overexertion can make you more prone to injuries. Make sure to know your limits.