How to treat and prevent Tennis injuries

by Louise McQuaid
Early intervention with the right treatment for tennis related injuries will get the best results
Pain in the wrist, arm and elbow in tennis players is quite common and is frequently seen in the occasional or seasonal player. Professional players tend to have more chronic conditions from years of repetitive strain on joints and soft tissue. Tennis is quite strenuous on the persons whole arm, and injury is usually the result of poor technique, incorrect equipment or over used muscles, tendons and ligaments. At Hand Kinetics, we also see acute hand and finger injuries from tripping and slipping.

If you are experiencing pain in the wrists, hands or arm from playing tennis or any other racket sport it is important to have treatment to avoid the problem affecting other areas of your life. Below are some of the problems that can occur and tips on how to prevent them.
Common Injuries from Playing Tennis
  • Tennis Elbow - Although called Tennis elbow, it is a condition that can happen to people who have never played tennis in their lives. Tennis elbow is also known as Lateral Epicondylitis and is an injury to the muscles that attach to the condyle, the bony outer part of the elbow, and extend down to the wrist. It is usually the result of extended, repetitive strain on the elbow while playing tennis. Even small wrist and finger movements can cause severe pain at the condyle when performing activities off the court too.
  • Ulnar Sided Wrist Pain - Ulnar sided wrist pain is commonly the result of damage to the Triangular Fibro Cartilage Complex (TFCC).The TFCC is the main ligament that stabilises the ulnar side of the wrist, supporting the wrist under load during rotation of the forearm and is especially painful when performing top spin.
  • Rotator Cuff Injury - The Rotator Cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that provide the shoulder with stability and allow the arm to rotate. Overuse or a heavy blow while playing tennis may cause small tears or strains in the Rotator Cuff which can be quite painful during serving.
  • DeQuervain's Tenosynovitis - DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis is the irritation of the two tendons that insert at the base of the thumb as they pass through their own extensor sheath. It can be caused by repetitive use of the thumb or wrist while using back hand or from injury when the ball hits the base of the thumb at force.
How can these Injuries be Prevented?
How can these Injuries be Prevented?
Equipment - Ensuring you are using the proper equipment that is right for you is the first step towards preventing serious injury. The right sized and weight racket, with a suitable grip size and appropriate non-slip surface, can help reduce the risk of injury. Use good quality balls with a correct bounce so you don't have to swing harder.

Technique - Technique is another key factor that may cause an injury. Incorrect standing position in preparation to hit the ball or poor grip technique can really increase the risk of repetitive stress injuries. Ask a tennis coach to check over your technique every season to prevent bad habits forming.

Strengthening - Many injuries associated with tennis are the result of too much too soon. If you are an occasional player, work towards building strength and flexibility in your arm in the months leading to league matches to prevent on court injuries and repetitive strains. Professional or year-round players should perform conditioning exercises off court to lesson chronic over use problems.
Treatment of Injuries
A Hand Therapist can prescribe specific exercises for upper limb injuries, and these will vary depending on the issue. Risk assessment of provocative muscle actions may be recommended for injuries caused by repetitive stress, and orthotic devices or splints may be necessary to help injuries heal. Relative rest is a key factor for treatment of many of these issues too. In some cases, surgical treatment may be considered by your GP and you will require post-surgical hand therapy as part of the rehabilitation process.

If you have been unfortunate to have a traumatic accident, such as a fracture or a dislocation to your hand or fingers, you will need skilled Hand therapy to get better. Early intervention with the right treatment will maximise repair and return you to full range of movement so you can return to court as soon as possible.

If you have any questions regarding a condition you have or how to prevent injuries from playing tennis, book an appointment or feel free to contact us here. We'd be more than happy to help!

Hand Kinetics Telephone: 0044 28 417 72301


15 The Avenue, Burren, Warrenpoint. Co. Down. BT34 3XJ

0044 28 4176 7238
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