The combination of explosive racket swings and quick bursts of running up and down the court can make tennis players prone to injuries of the lower body as well as the shoulder, elbow, and wrist.
Shoulder injuries can include:
- Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis (pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint that makes it difficult to move the arm)
- Impingement syndrome (inflammation of the tendons of the rotator cuff)
- Rotator cuff tendonitis
- Shoulder separation
- Torn rotator cuff
Elbow injuries can include:
- Tennis elbow (inflammation on the outside of the elbow, also called lateral epicondylitis )
Hand or wrist injuries can include:
- Wrist sprains
- Wrist tendonitis
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears
- Iliotibial (IT) tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon that runs along the outside of the upper thigh)
- Knee osteoarthritis
- Meniscus tears
- Patellofemoral syndrome (a thinning and softening of the shock-absorbing cartilage under the kneecap)
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) tears
Foot or ankle injuries can include:
- Achilles tendon rupture
- Achilles tendonitis
- Ankle sprains
- Plantar fasciitis (heel pain due to inflammation of the thick ligament of the base of the foot)
Tennis Safety and Injury Prevention
- Choose a court surface that has some "give" and avoid cement or asphalt. If you must play on a hard surface, wearing heel inserts can absorb the shock and help prevent lower back injuries.
- Warm up for 5-10 minutes with a brisk walk or jog around the court and follow up with some stretching exercises, particularly for your calves, hamstrings, quads, shoulders, and forearms.
- Wear good tennis shoes with solid support to prevent ankle injures and padded socks to absorb impact.
- Doing dumbbell curls a few times a week can strengthen the muscles around your elbow and help prevent injury.
- If you do experience an injury, don't try to "play through it"; take care of it immediately.