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Tennis related Sports Injuries

Posted 18 June 2014
Written by Steve Griffin

Wimbledon Fever and Tennis Related Sports Injuries

I love this time of the year, the sun is shining and there is almost an over abundance of sporting events. The US Open Golf has just finished, the FIFA Football World Cup has kicked off in Brazil and tennis at Wimbledon is just around the corner. For the cyclists the Tour de France’s first three stages will be taking place in the UK this year and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow starts at the end of July.

With so much sport over the next few months I thought I’d focus on some sport specific blogs starting with tennis.

I remember when I was growing up that major sporting events got everyone out having a go. When Wimbledon was on you couldn’t get a court to play tennis and with Andy Murray aiming to defend his Wimbledon crown interest at home will be very high. Throwing yourself into a game of tennis after not playing for a while can result in a tennis related sports injury.

A lot of the sports injuries resulting from racket sports are actually more related to the shoulder than the elbow! Anything where the shoulder is moved overhead with speed can cause problems for the small muscles that look after it.

The shoulder joint, a ball and socket joint, is complicated because the socket also moves. Imagine all the force required for a tennis serve to slam the ball as accurately and as quickly as possible into the service box, there has to be something to stop the arm pulling out of the socket! This is where the rotator cuff comes in; a group of small muscles that help to keep the ball centred in the socket. When everything works together the shoulder doesn’t complain, but if any of the small rotator cuff muscles are put under more strain than they want pain and debilitation can ensue.

If you haven’t played tennis in a while it is likely that the next day you will feel tight and sore behind your shoulder. This is due to the small rotator cuff muscles tightening up after working so hard. If you fail to stretch these properly after a game of tennis then the balance of the joint is altered and will result in pain

Try doing a ‘Sleeper stretch’ after you play

image of a sleeper stretchLie on your side with your back against a wall, your bottom arm should be out in front with the elbow bent to 90 degrees. Use your top hand to gently push your forearm towards the floor. Although effective, this isn’t a particularly nice stretch as it also stretches the shoulder capsule. Always take care with any stretches and if you are at all concerned then book yourself in to see us at Peak Performance Physio Bristol.

Stretching is one thing but you might also need to strengthen the muscles to take the load. If you are at all in doubt book an appointment and we can guide you through the necessary stretches and strengthening exercises that will help you.

Next time I’ll be looking at cycling, in readiness for the Tour de France!

For further information or to book an appointment please call the clinic on 0117 910 8041. All the physiotherapists at Peak Performance are members of The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and registered with The Health Professions Council.

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