8 Tips for Preventing Tennis Injuries

You’ve been looking forward to your weekly tennis match with your friend all week, reviewing last week’s games in your mind and wondering how you’ll be better able to return that wicked serve. While you dream of jumping the net in victory, you’d do well to give a little thought to preventing any injury that may keep you off the courts — including NOT jumping the net in victory!

Here at STAR Ortho, our goal is to keep our patients in San Diego on the courts, on the fields, and in the water, enjoying the sports they love, safely. To that end, we’ve pulled together eight tips for our tennis-playing clients that will serve them well for years to come by helping them to prevent sidelining injuries.

1. Warm it up

Before you grab your racquet and hit the court, spend a few minutes to activate your muscles with some gentle stretching. Reach down and touch your toes, hold each heel behind your back, stretch each arm across your chest and hold. And even though you haven’t begun to play, reach up with each arm behind your head and give yourself a pat on the back, a movement that really warms up the muscles in your arms and shoulders.

2. If the shoe fits

Tennis involves a lot of pivoting, lunging, and jumping, so make sure your shoes hold your feet in place, giving them the support, and grip, they need. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to ankle twists and falls, so be sure that your tennis shoes fit snugly with enough wiggle room for your toes to avoid blistering. And remember to lace them up tightly!

3. Off the courts

One of the best ways to prevent any sports injury is through strength training outside your sport of choice. Spend a little time in the gym, or at home, strengthening all of the muscles in your body, paying close attention to the muscles you will be summoning during your tennis match. Good quad work, as well as shoulder and elbow strengthening, not only improves your game, but helps you avoid injury.

4. Bottoms up

Our weather here in San Diego can’t be beat, but the abundant sunshine and warm temps also mean you need to need pay more attention to hydrating during your tennis game. If your body doesn’t get the water it needs, your soft tissue suffers, stiffening and growing prone to cramping and injury.

5. Got game?

Whether you’re new to tennis or you’ve been frequenting the courts for years, a little professional advice on your technique every once in a while can go a long way toward creating better habits, or correcting bad ones. Some of the most common tennis injuries we see are repetitive-use injuries to shoulders and elbows. By learning better techniques that protect these areas, you can swing your way to a better game.

6. Can you hear me now?

Even if you’re tied at one set each, if your body is starting to ache or tire, you’d do well to listen up. Sports injuries often occur when people ignore their bodies’ cries for help in the name of competition, only making matters worse in the end. It’s better to call it quits so you can play another day than push yourself, risking an injury that will keep you off the courts for weeks or months.

7. Cool it

As important as a good warm-up is, so, too, is a cooldown. After your match, it’s always a good idea to cool your body down with the same gentle stretches you started with. This cooldown stretching allows your soft tissue to slowly wind down and may prevent some very sore muscles the next morning.

8. Heed the call

If you’re starting to notice that your shoulder or elbow is beginning to weaken or ache a little more each time you play, it’s time for you to come see us before you do any irreversible or harder-to-treat damage. As sports medicine specialists, we know the signs of trouble and we can help you treat the problem with an eye toward preventing it from recurring.

If you’d like to spend more time on the courts and less time nursing injuries, give us a call for more information about preventing tennis injuries. Or use the online scheduling tool on the website to request an appointment.

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