With Wimbledon approaching there are a number of injuries that budding tennis players can suffer from, and no I don’t just mean tennis elbow – however we will discuss this. Beyond tennis elbow the other two most common injuries are calf strains and shoulder pain.
Muscle strains are a common injury for many a recreational player. Often times players strain the calf muscle. If gets described as feeling a pop in the back of the leg and can be quite painful. The initial management for this injury would be rest, ice, compression and elevation followed by a stretching and strengthening regimen that your physio can prescribe. This will include some gentle stretching and strengthening exercises for the injured area. Your physio may also do some soft tissue massage on your calf and use k-tape to strap it up. It can take anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks to be back on the tennis court depending on the severity of your injury.
It seems obvious that playing a racket sport would cause problems with the upper limb. It’s more common to injure the shoulder than any other joint in the upper body. The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body and requires exquisite muscular control. Injuries to the rotator cuff tendons are most common. Your physio may describe this as shoulder impingement – where a tendon gets pinched in between the arm bone and top of the shoulder blade. Your physio will give you specific postural exercises to stretch the pecs and strengthen the lower traps and rhomboids, as well as the rotator cuff muscles themselves. This problem can usually settle down in a few short weeks with the right treatment. However, if it is more of a chronic tendon problem you may be left with some residual shoulder pain.
Ok now we can get on to tennis elbow. This is a pain on the OUTER part of the elbow that is exacerbated by gripping and pulling activities (like tennis), but also with activities such as opening doors, lifting a kettle and carrying shopping bags. It’s an overload irritation to the tendon of the forearm muscles – and like any tendon injury it can take time to settle down and require hands on work such as massage as well as strengthening exercises. For more information on how to deal with tennis elbow download our free guide here…
If you are suffering from a tennis injury book in for a physio assessments and treatment session at Wandsworth Physiotherapy in Wandsworth Town.