Common Tennis Injuries

Playing tennis demands agility, speed, and precision. Tennis is also a fantastic form of exercise. However, the repetitive and high-impact nature of tennis means that any player is at risk of common tennis injuries.

From recreational tennis players to elite level tennis players, staying on top and preventing these injuries is the best way to promote longevity in the sport.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into some of the most common tennis injuries, looking at the risk factors, symptoms, and how to prevent injury.


Tennis Elbow

Despite the name, tennis elbow is not exclusive to tennis players and can affect anyone who does any jobs, sports or tasks that involve repetitive elbow or wrist motion.

The main cause is overuse of the forearm muscles that result in tiny tears in the tendons. the forearm muscles and tendons, leading to inflammation. When playing tennis, there is a high demand for generating a large amount of power in the elbow and wrist whilst also ensuring accuracy. This repetitive action from the various tennis strokes can cause tennis elbow flare ups to occur. 

Symptoms include persistent pain and weakness on the outside of the elbow, making it hard to grip or hold objects.

To prevent tennis elbow, players must ensure proper technique when hitting forehand shots and avoid gripping the racket too tightly. Strengthening exercises for the forearm muscles can also help prevent this injury.

Symptoms of tennis elbow

– pain on the outside of the elbow 

– reduced grip strength 

– pain when moving the wrist 

Tennis elbow injuries are overuse injuries on the muscles and tendons of the forearm. The high-impact and repetitive nature of tennis activities, especially the forehand and backhand strokes, significantly contribute to the development of this injury.

The primary cause is the continuous strain put on the arm when hitting the ball, generating force while ensuring precision. Improper technique, such as hitting the ball off-centre on the racket or using excessive wrist motion, can intensify this strain. Moreover, gripping the racket too tightly can also increase the tension on the forearm tendons. As such, players must focus on proper technique and grip to mitigate the risk of tennis elbow.

To prevent tennis elbow while playing, players should look at a proper warm up, involving adequate stretching while also looking at an adequate amount of rest between sessions. Incorporating strength and flexibility exercises into your typical routine could also help in reducing the likelihood of elbow injuries. 

For information on the best tennis elbow brace, check out our blog.


Rotator Cuff Injuries

The rotator cuff is the group of muscles surrounding the shoulder joint and is crucial for optimal performance in all tennis players. The rotator cuff provides stability to the shoulder when we need it for a wide range of shoulder movements.

To generate the power to deliver the best shots, the rotator cuff activates to protect the shoulder by allowing smooth and controlled movements. Overhead shots, the tennis serve, backhands and forehands all can lead to wear and tear on the rotator cuff, causing arm and shoulder injuries such as inflammation or tears.

Symptoms of rotator cuff injuries

– pain in the shoulder

– limited range of movement 

– weakness of the shoulder 

Rotator cuff injuries are overuse injuries and often result from the repetitive, high-impact nature of strokes involving the shoulder – particularly the serve and overhead shots.

Players who fail to use the correct technique when executing these shots impose excess strain on the rotator cuff muscles. This overuse can lead to inflammation and tears over time, causing pain, limited movement, and shoulder weakness.

A lack of adequate warm-up exercises or strength training targeting the shoulder muscles can also contribute to the occurrence of these injuries.

Players must maintain proper form during play, engage in shoulder-strengthening exercises, and ensure resting periods to prevent injuries of this nature.

Shoulder injuries can be caused by many different structures with the most common being inflammation of the tendons, impingement or compression of the rotator cuff tendons and bursitis, which is inflammation of the bursa in the shoulder.

For more information on Shoulder Injuries In Sport, check out our blog.


Sprained Ankles

An ankle sprain, or put simply, a rolled ankle, is an injury to the ligaments in the ankle when our foot rolls over too far. These ligaments serve as stabilisers in the ankle that help control the movements in the ankle. An ankle sprain affects the ligaments which are stretched beyond their normal range, resulting in strains and tears.

The sudden movements on the tennis court make players vulnerable to ankle sprains and this is a common injury. Sharp changes in direction, pivoting, or uneven court surfaces (depending on the playing surface) make ankle sprains a common ankle injury in tennis. 

Symptoms of ankle sprains

– pain in the ankle 

– swelling in the ankle 

– inability to bear weight

– limping 

– bruising in the ankle 

– feelings of ankle instability 

Ankle sprains in tennis are largely a result of the dynamic and unpredictable nature of the sport. The constant lateral movements, abrupt stopping, and sudden changes in direction can lead players to roll or twist their ankles, leading to a sprain.

Additionally, tennis matches often take place on uneven surfaces, elevating the risk of a misstep that could lead to an undesired ankle roll.

Proper conditioning, including agility drills and balance exercises, can help in reducing the risk of ankle sprains. Above all, wearing supportive footwear designed specifically for tennis can further provide stability and cushioning for the feet, mitigating the risk of ankle injuries.

For more information on the best ankle brace for sprain, check out our blog.


Knee Injuries

Tennis demands constant lateral movements, putting stress on the knees. When playing tennis, knee injuries can come about in a few different ways. Injuries can be acute from sudden movements, or can seemingly start from no specific incident but develop slowly over time. 

A common injury is patella tendonitis in the knee. Tendonitis is characterised by inflammation and swelling which comes about from overuse and repetitive movements of the knee.

Injuries such as sprains or muscle tears come about more suddenly with a sharp pain. These strains and tears usually occur when we are forcefully trying to push off or run. 

For information on a good knee strengthening program to avoid common tennis injuries, contact your Physiotherapist or other health professional.

Symptoms of knee injuries

– pain in the knee

– stiffness with knee movements

– the feeling of knee locking, clicking or clunking 

– swelling in the knee

– bruising on and around the knee 

– limping

Common knee injuries are quite prevalent in the world of tennis, due primarily to the lateral movements and sudden changes in direction that the sport demands.

A typical knee injury in tennis players is patella tendonitis, characterized by inflammation and swelling as a result of repetitive knee movements and overuse. Acute injuries tend to also occur from sudden, forceful manoeuvres, leading to sprains or muscle tears. These injuries usually present as sharp pain, often occurring when a player is pushing off or running.

Players should be aware of these potential risks and engage in injury prevention, such as regular strength and conditioning exercises, to maintain knee health.

For more information on Physiotherapy for knee pain, check out our blog.


Back Strain

When delivering the perfect tennis stroke, the function of the back is critical in generating power, precision and control. Tennis requires a large number of rotational movements, particularly with serving and groundstrokes.

These high intensity rotational movements coupled with the demand to generate a high amount of power can increase the risk of back strains in tennis players of all levels. 

Symptoms of back strains

– pain in the back

– stiffness in the back 

– limited range of movement 

– pain in different positions of postures such as sitting or standing 

Back strains in tennis generally stem from the intense rotational movements that are part of the sport’s core techniques. The power behind each serve and groundstroke often comes from the back, which can result in excessive strain on the muscles and ligaments in this area if not properly conditioned.

Furthermore, abrupt direction changes and the constant shifting between standing and running can put additional stress on the back and lead to acute injuries.

Therefore, players must maintain a strong core, engage in regular stretching and strengthening exercises, and utilise proper techniques for injury prevention.

For more information on the importance of a strong core, check out our blog.


Preventing Common Tennis Injuries

While tennis offers a multitude of physical benefits for recreational players and elite players alike, they need to be aware of the common tennis injuries so that they stay on the court for longer. To prevent common tennis injuries from occurring, players all the way from amateur to professional level should consider what they can do to limit the likelihood of injury.

Ensuring things such as proper technique, adequate warm up and the correct training regime are all things important to increasing your tennis performance and staying healthy while playing.

If you need to look into an exercise program or conditioning program to avoid these tennis related injuries on the court, give us a call at 0298753760 or check us out on our website.

Common Tennis Injuries

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