Tennis Player Injuries
Tennis is a complex sport requiring a host of quick-moving, high intensity movements along with hand-eye coordination, and full body use. In a tennis match, a player must serve the ball, which puts pressure on the elbow and shoulder joints; must return a serve, which can put pressure on the knees, ankles along with upper body joints; a player must position himself or herself in order to return a ball, which can put pressure on the knees. And of course, as with any high-intensity and high-velocity sport, accidents, falls, and collisions can always cause injury.
Tennis injuries can occur in just about any part of the body, but the most common injuries have to do with the rotator cuff, the elbow, the wrists, the knees, the ankles, and the back. Injuries are defined as either cumulative as a result of overuse or acute as a result of a specified trauma. For the most part, acute injuries occur to players who are not well conditioned or are just getting back into the sport after a long hiatus while overuse injuries occur to long-term or professional players or older athletes whose bodies are feeling the wear and tear of aging. In both these cases, it is important for players to have a good base level of conditioning before hitting the courts, to ensure that all gear fits properly, and to always have a good warm-up program. A five or ten minute warm-up including dynamic stretching can help prevent injuries from happening.
Several movements are commonly the culprits for tennis injuries. If too vigorous or done without proper training and technique overhead swing (or serve) can cause rotator cuff injuries and other shoulder injuries. Faulty backhand technique is often the cause of tennis elbow as the forearm muscles become overloaded with pressure, which is then transferred to the elbow. A wrist-heavy serve (rather than a serve whose power comes from the shoulder) can also cause a similar overloading of the forearm and elbow injury. Wrist strains and sprains are often associated with a "laid-back" grip of the racket where the palm is positioned too far upward and the wrist is turned slightly when hitting. A swaybacked posture can contribute to both chronic and acute back pain. Improper or ill-fitting shoes, or those that don't provide adequate support can increase the likelihood of ankle strains and sprains. In addition to these specific postures or techniques, acute injuries can occur as the result of sudden (and likely unpreventable) falls and collisions. As tennis is a fast-moving sport that requires quick-thinking and fast-reactions, falls are not uncommon.
The best solution to tennis injury is to avoid them with proper training, conditioning, practice, and gear. Prevention is a far easier task than injury rehabilitation.