Tennis is a complex physical sport requiring hand-eye coordination and full body participation to run, position, swing and hit. Most Tennis Injuries can be minimised or prevented entirely with osteopathic treatment, which will improve body position and function therefore aiding recovery and preventing re-injury. Sports osteopathic management can further equip the individual tennis player with advice on how to improve flexibility and muscle condition, as well as advice on appropriate equipment.
The most common injuries associated with tennis are shoulder injuries (rotator cuff), tennis elbow (extensor tendinopathy), back pain, knee pain, calf /tendon injuries and ankle strains. Osteopathy is ideal for treating these types of injuries.
Rotator cuff injuries (shoulder) The rotator cuff muscles stabilize and decelerate the shoulder movements, to prevent the arm following the ball in a throw or swing of the arm. Injuries can occur with overuse and poor technique, ie hitting too soon on the serve before the shoulder mechanics are ready.
Tennis elbow (extensor tendinopathy/lateral epicondylitis) Overloading of the forearm muscles due to over gripping of the tennis racket and poor backhand technique can lead to small tears and consequent inflammation to the outside (lateral) forearm muscles. Proper racket selection and grip size a significant role in preventing tennis elbow. The two-handed backhand relieves stress on these outside forearm muscles (that attach to the lateral epicondyle).
Back pain Back pain seems to be related to an increased extension (leaning back), or swaybacked posture for power production during service strokes. This extension position stresses the small joints and soft tissues of the spine. Older tennis players have the most back pain due to progressive stiffness and normal age related wear and tear of joints.
Knee pain (Patella tendinopathy/patella-femoral syndrome) Front (Anterior) knee pain is common in tennis players. These symptoms are caused by stopping fast with the knee bent as when stretching out over one leg to make a shot.
Calf and Achilles tendon injuries A sudden overload from pushing off your foot while your leg is fully extended is usually the cause of injury. The common underlying cause in both calf muscle and Achilles tendon injuries is a tight calf muscle. You can tell your calf muscle-tendon complex is tight if you cannot raise the ball of your foot higher than the heel of the foot with the leg extended (straight).
Ankle sprains This is a very common injury in change of direction sports such as tennis, and especially on surfaces such as grass. Immediate treatment of an ankle sprain should be RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) for 48 hours plus immediate osteopathic treatment. Correct footwear must be worn otherwise it can lead to ankle instability.
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