tennis player serving

3 Common Tennis Injuries (and How to Treat Them)

Like any sport, tennis athletes get injured. While tennis players can suffer concussions and other injuries that are most associated with contact sports, the most common tennis injuries are either repetitive action injuries or acute injuries, such as sprains. If you are a tennis player, it is important to recognize and properly treat any injuries before they become more serious.

Tennis Elbow

Caused by repetitive motion of the wrist and arm, tennis elbow involves a pain on the outside of the elbow. The pain may spread to the forearm and wrist. Things such as shaking hands, turning a door knob, and even gripping objects can be difficult when dealing with tennis elbow.

As a tennis player, or an athlete in any racket sport, you are putting yourself at greater risk for tennis elbow if you do not use the proper stroke technique. Because of this, one of the best ways to prevent tennis elbow, and stop it from reoccurring if you do get it, is to use the proper stroke technique. You may need to ask another experienced tennis player, a trainer, or a coach to watch your stroke and provide feedback on what you can do differently.

Like many injuries, treatment for tennis elbow involves taking time off from participating in the sport. Rest the elbow for a few days until it starts to feel better. Ice the injured elbow several times a day for about 15 minutes at a time. Over-the-counter pain relievers may also be helpful.

If at-home treatment does not work, you may need to visit a physical therapist. The physical therapist will likely give you exercises to strengthen the muscles around the elbow. Wearing a brace on the injured elbow may also be helpful. The most severe cases of tennis elbow will require surgery.

Torn Rotator Cuff

The severity of a rotator cuff tear varies greatly depending upon the specific case. A dull pain, which often gets worse when lying on the affected shoulder, is one symptom of a potential rotator cuff tear. Difficulty lifting your arm, reaching behind your back, or carrying heavy object are other signs.

A torn rotator cuff may come about because of repetitive arm motions, such as those associated with swinging a tennis racket or serving a tennis ball. It sometimes, though, comes about because of a single injury. If that is the case, seeking medical treatment right away is important.

To decrease your chances of tearing your rotator cuff, make sure to strengthen the muscles in the shoulder. Pay special attention to the muscles in the back and along the shoulder blades. With a minor rotator cuff injury, resting the shoulder, icing it, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers may be enough to allow the injury to heal.

Unfortunately, if there is a complete tear of the rotator cuff, you may need surgery. Because of the different levels of tears, surgeries for rotator cuff tears vary greatly. While some require only a small incision, other surgeries will require more substantial surgical work. After surgery, you might be prescribed stronger pain medicine. You will likely undergo physical therapy, and you may need to keep your arm in a sling for at least part of the day while the injury heals.

Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains are among the most common acute injuries in tennis. Whether running for a ball and twisting your ankle, quickly switching directions and injuring the ankle, or otherwise rolling your ankle, a sprain can be painful. Unfortunately, if you have previously suffered an ankle sprain, you are more likely to suffer another one.

Pain, swelling, and bruising after twisting your ankle are signs that you may have suffered an ankle sprain. Difficulty bearing weight on the ankle or pain when attempting to walk are also signs of an ankle sprain. R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation) right away can help to reduce the swelling and prevent the injury from getting worse.

Ankle sprains can often be treated at home, but if symptoms do not get better after a couple of weeks or if the foot looks deformed, you need to visit a doctor. Physical therapy might be essential to help the ankle heal. On rare occasions, surgery is required to heal an ankle sprain.

One of the best ways to prevent ankle sprains is to do regular balance training exercises. These can be done on a balance board, but even just standing on one leg at a time can be helpful. If you have suffered an ankle sprain previously, balance training is especially important. Wearing an ankle brace or wrapping your ankles when playing tennis or other sports and purchasing shoes that give your ankles more stability may also help to prevent a repeat injury.

While working to prevent an injury is important, as an athlete, you will likely at some point suffer some sort of injury. Contact us to purchase braces and other supplies that are important for treating and preventing these and other common tennis injuries.