As a fast impact sport, tennis can lead to a group of common injuries that are synonymous with making sharp, fast movements around the court.
Tennis Elbow, shoulder and stress injuries, stress fractures and muscle strains are amongst the most popular.
All these injuries can be most debilitating and if not treated immediately can lead to long term injury and rehabilitation. It is a common practice for players, especially not professionals, to play on with niggling injuries which just exacerbates the whole situation.
There are ways you can help to prevent such injury both physically and externally.
Without doubt your tennis equipment plays a vital part to help reduce injuries and is often overlooked in this respect.
When you first go to your sports shop to get kitted out then pay more attention to items such as your sports shoes and tennis racket than fancy designer label shorts and shirts.
Make sure your shoes are manufactured especially for playing tennis, this will alleviate many lower muscle strain injuries.
Select a racket that has the correct grip for your hand, if necessary add extra grips to support your wrist. The impact on these muscles when the racket hits ball is major so a good grip will certainly help. This is often one of the main contributors to Tennis Elbow.
It is most important that your physical condition is good before you step out onto court. Train properly to strengthen the relevant muscle groups that will be applied when you play. Pay particular attention to leg muscles and upper torso.
Before actually playing a match then it is crucial that a good and proper warm up is undertaken. And subsequently after you have finished playing ensure that you undergo an effective warm down.
Warm Up Exercises
These exercises should be gentle and not place too much stress on joints and muscles. It is advisable to start with a jog or cycle ride. Start the exercise slowly and build up to a maximum of half power.
Stretches should be fluid and not jerky, you are not warming up for a weightlifting session. The best stretching exercises are done whilst moving.
For instance stretch one leg out as far as possible and at the same time swing your arms behind your body. Repeat the exercise with the other leg and do ten reps.
Hip Twists are a great exercise to warm up your core muscles and abdominals.Whilst lying on the ground with legs stretched out, bring your right knee up to your chest and hold it with your left hand. Pull it to your left shoulder, and without becoming locked in this position, carry out small twisting movements. Make sure that your other arm and shoulder stay fixed to the ground.
Any exercises you undertake should be smooth and fluent so as to not jerk the muscles, start the session slowly to build up the heat and flexibility of the body and after the session ensure a thorough warm down is undertaken.
Taking advice from a professional tennis coach can also be a great way of helping to avoid some of the aches and strains of playing the sport.