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Tennis, Golf & Racket Sports

As we witnessed in Andy Murray's gruelling fight to victory at Wimbledon, tennis puts a huge amount of strain on the body and you don't need to be Andy Murray to feel the effects of this strain. Tennis injuries are very common and that's why at Octopus Clinic we are highly experienced in treating tennis related injuries and pain.

Here are four of the most common injuries tennis players face and how to overcome them. Make sure you get all injuries fully assessed and treated before taking on board any of the following advice or doing any of the exercises.

 

Tennis elbow

This is an irritation of the tendon that runs over the bony bit of the elbow. The pain comes on slowly often after tennis at first, then during the game and when lifting and twisting, like pouring from a kettle or opening a heavy door. It is caused in particular by the movement required to create top spin. To treat it properly the stability of the shoulder needs to be addressed. If the shoulder is moving inefficiently more strain is exerted on the elbow. Treatment should therefore never focus purely on the elbow itself.

An insight into treatment…

  1. Observe how your shoulder moves as you lift your arm by standing with one side to a mirror. The shoulder should stay in position as you lift your arm up to about 80 degrees from your body. If the whole shoulder moves forwards with the arm then you will need to do exercises to train the stability of the shoulder blade. Please click on the link to learn how to do these shoulder exercises. Once you have trained in this way these shoulder stability muscles need to be trained through all the ranges of movement required in tennis from serving to picking up a drop shot.
  2. You need to train the extensor muscles of the elbow eccentrically, which normalises the tendon.
  3. You many need to address your technique and strength elsewhere in your body to make sure you are getting maximum effect from the muscle groups designed for power. For example the gluts that provide a huge percentage of serving power.

 

Ankle injuries

Ankle injuries have been particularly prevalent on the slippery surfaces of Wimbledon this year. The risk of ankle injuries, which can range from ankle ligament sprains, ankle impingement, tendon problems and even fractures; can be reduced by training the stability muscles of the ankle and leg and improving proprioception. Proprioception is the body’s positional sense, i.e. how you can control the position of your arms and legs without having to look at them.

An insight into treatment…

  1. How to train proprioception
  2. Exercise to address calf strength and alignment
  3. Exercises to address lower limb and knee alignment 

 

Back pain and injury

Back injuries can destroy any tennis players’ game whether you are social player or a world champion like Andy Murray. Common back injuries are muscle strains, facet joint injuries or damage to the intervertebral discs. Disc injuries include prolapses, which can irritate the nerves coming out the spine and at worse the spinal cord and therefore must be diagnosed and treated properly by your physiotherapist. Please click on the link to learn more about the spine and back pain.

An insight into treatment…

  1. Training the deep core stability muscles.
  2. Mobilising the thoracic spine thoracic spine exercises.

 

Shoulder pain and injury

Far too many people suffer in silence with shoulder aches, pains and injuries. The vast majority fall under the umbrella of shoulder impingement and this is fully treatable with the right physiotherapy. The absolute key to treatment is to get the shoulder working efficiently in the positions required of it to play tennis. It might sound obvious, but if you are only working your shoulder muscles with your arm by your side, there is not going to be sufficient carry over into a tennis swing and certainly not an overhead swing. Therefore your Physiotherapist will need to design exercises that safely rehabilitate your shoulder with your arm moving through the motions required to play tennis. 

An insight into treatment…

  1. Training your shoulder blade stabilisers
  2. Training your rotator cuff muscles

 

Remember, you must have your injury or pain fully assessed and treated by an experienced physiotherapist or osteopath.

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