There are approximately 54 injuries per 1000 tennis matches played, which is roughly half the number of injuries that occur during the same number of soccer matches. Figures show that approximately 1,130,700 Australians in 2006 aged 15 years and older played tennis in the 12 months prior to being surveyed and that rate of tennis injury in the general population is five injuries per 1,000 hours of participation. Compared with other individual sports such as running and golf, there is less risk of injury during tennis and most tennis injuries occur randomly and do not require hospitalisation. However, most can be fully minimised by appropriate equipment, proper technique, and seeking immediate medical attention especially for persistent, painful conditions.
Common Causes & Types
Studies show that most acute injuries occurred in the lower limbs, and chronic injuries were located in the upper body. Like in many other sports, it is inevitable that injuries occur in tennis, a sport where players are running, stopping, turning and lunging for hours.
The most common type of injuries associated with tennis are the lower limb (ankle, knee thigh injuries caused by the sprinting, stopping, pivoting, jarring and pounding nature of tennis; upper limb (elbow, shoulder, wrist) injuries caused by high-velocity and repetitive arm movements required in tennis, back pains or injuries, and exaggerated arched or swaybacked, posture used for power production during service strokes. Specifically, these injuries are called rotator cuff tendinitis, tennis elbow, wrist strains, and back pain, anterior (front) knee pain involving the knee cap, calf and Achilles tendon injuries, ankle sprains, and tennis toe.
Tennis Injury Risk factors
Injuries occur for most contact sports and some have particular risks like in tennis where overuse and repetitive problems injury problems are associated with the sports. Risk factors for tennis injury can either be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic factors refer to the players’ individual physical condition (musculoskeletal issues) while extrinsic factors refer to how the hard player performs in the game and how long the game lasts. Specifically, some factors that can increase the risk of tennis injury include the following:
- Injury risk increases with age
- Higher training volumes without sufficient time to rest
- Indoor play can have more severe injuries than those sustained outdoors
- Poor fitting equipment (e.g. inappropriate footwear)
- No warm-up or cool down
- Incorrect playing technique (e.g. improper swing mechanics)
- Previous injury
- Pre-existing muscle imbalances causing joint dysfunction and further muscle irritation
Tips for Preventing Tennis Injuries
The majority of tennis injuries occur in the legs and feet (lower limb), followed by the arms and shoulders (upper limb), and then the trunk (back). Because of this, it is important to be aware of tennis injury prevention and performance like –
- Good physical preparation targeting injury-prone movement patterns
- Awareness and implementation of proper play technique by seeking instruction from a qualified coach in order to develop correct skills and techniques
- Education of players, parents and coaches about tennis injuries
- Regular musculoskeletal screening and exercises that help decrease the risk injuries.
- Proper warm-up designed by a sports health professional
- Proper choice and adjustment of equipment such as shoes, racquets, strings and balls as well as court surfaces
Tennis is a popular global sport catering to all ages and skill levels. It requires speed, power, endurance, balance and coordination which can inevitably result to injuries. If an injury occurs, seek immediate first aid or medical treatment from your experienced healthcare provider and result-oriented chiropractors.
Chiropractors favor a hands-on approach in the treatment of underlying musculoskeletal problems or muscular imbalance. Their approach is to incorporate the best treatments available for pain relief and to correct the underlying factors as well. They can also show you ways to keep your body on the go by spending time going over your case before determining the appropriate tennis injury treatment tailored for you.
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