Until 2014, no one was calculating and analyzing injuries in tennis. Only in 2014 was an extensive statistical study carried out, the results of which turned out to be very interesting.
Over the 10 years of the Wimbledon tournament (2003-2012), the injury rate among tennis players was 20.7 per 1000 played sets . Women were injured more often (23.4 per 1000 sets) than men (17.7 per 1000 played sets). Primary injury occurred in 73% of cases, and repeated and exacerbation of chronic injuries occurred in 27%.
We also analyzed the parts of the body that most often suffered:
• injuries of the lower extremities – 48%;
• injuries of the upper extremities – 28%;
• axial (abdomen, back, head) – 24%.
In men, the lower extremities were more injured, and in women, the upper ones.
Top 9 tennis injuries:
- Tennis Elbow.
- Rotator cuff injury.
- Shoulder impingement syndrome.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Ankle sprain.
- Stress fractures of the bones of the foot and back.
- Knee injuries.
- Damage to the muscles and tendons of the lower leg, its back surface (“tennis player’s leg”).
- Achilles tendon rupture.
The list includes both acute and chronic injuries of tennis players. We propose to analyze in more detail their causes and methods of prevention.
Upper limb injuries
An athlete holds a racket in his hands, makes extensive and strong, sharp movements, strikes, which can lead to injury. “Tennis Elbow” Scientific name – epicondylitis. Chronic injury to the tendons of the muscles of the forearm. Due to regular, strong and sharp loads, the tendons are tense and overloaded during impacts. They stretch themselves, causing damage to the bones at the attachment points. There is pain, aggravated by any movement in the elbow.
Prevention of “tennis elbow”:
• teaching the correct execution of strikes, so that muscle tension falls not on the shoulder, but on the forearm;
• formation of coordinated movements of the shoulder and hip upon impact;
• eye training to prevent late contact of the racket with the ball;
• exercises to strengthen the muscles of the shoulder and forearm;
• selection of the racket with the optimal weight;
• choice for playing courts with soft surfaces, from which the ball bounces at a slightly slower speed.
Unfortunately, the development of epicondylitis cannot be completely ruled out in tennis players with experience. In the event of a disease, its treatment is necessary.
Rotator cuff injury
The essence of the injury is damage to the ligamentous apparatus, which restricts movement in the shoulder joint. Symptom is a sharp pain in the shoulder after hitting the ball with a racket.
Only exercise can prevent injury to the rotator cuff. The tennis player must be taught the correct technique of strikes with the racket skidding above the shoulder (serving, receiving the ball from the summer, smash with a reverse). Rotator cuff injury is sometimes equated with impingement syndrome, but there are still differences.
The second, less common name is “impingement syndrome”. Impingement syndrome develops if a tennis player continues to play with a damaged rotator cuff. This leads to a tear or rupture of the supraspinatus tendon. Also, due to reactive inflammation, bursitis of the shoulder joint develops. The symptom is soreness when raising the arm above the head.
Prevention – following the same rules as for maintaining the rotator cuff.
Computer scientists often face such damage, but tennis players are not immune from it either. The bottom line is that with injuries of the wrist (fall, overload when hitting with a racket), small ligaments become inflamed, which cover a small section of the median nerve. As a result, the nerve is compressed, the conduction along it is disturbed. Symptom – weakening of the grip of the racket, weakness in 1, 2 and 3 fingers of the hand, tingling, pain in the wrist and hand, numbness of the skin of the hand.
Prevention – warm baths and massage of the hands, forearms after workouts, reducing the load on the wrists by changing the grip.
Lower limb injuries
Tennis is a very active sport. Players have to run a lot, often and abruptly change the trajectory of movement, and jump. Therefore, the legs are heavily loaded. Sometimes they are overloaded.
A well-known phenomenon to many people, which in everyday life is called “tucking the foot.”
In tennis arises from:
• a sharp change in the direction of movement of the athlete;
• too strong adhesion of the sole of the shoe to the surface of the court;
• uneven court surface when the foot hits a bump and turns.
Symptoms: sharp pain in the foot after twisting, some people even feel a crunch in the ankle. Leaning on the leg is very painful, swelling and redness rapidly increase at the site of injury. The danger is that with a gross injury, the ligaments can break, and fractures are also possible.
To prevent such injury, its causes must be avoided as much as possible. If the trouble nevertheless happened, immediately stop the game, apply cold to the sore ankle and go to the nearest emergency room.
Stress fractures of the bones of the foot and metatarsus
The mechanism is simple: a strong horizontal impact on the foot. It can be a jump, a lunge, an uneven court. It manifests itself as pain in the foot after an unsuccessful movement, edema, a hematoma on the dorsum of the foot is possible. Symptoms are not so pronounced when there is not a fracture, but a crack in the bone. A similar situation is more typical for children and adolescents.
Preventing such an injury is difficult. It is necessary to remember about its possibility and for any pain in the foot – see a traumatologist to exclude a fracture.
The knees are very heavily loaded when playing tennis. Ligaments of the kneecap, menisci, and intra-articular cruciate ligaments can be damaged. Symptoms will be different: from pain when touching the knee pad to complete wedging of the joint in case of infringement of the meniscus. The rupture of the crosses is accompanied by extremely severe pain. The causes of all knee injuries are typical: abrupt change in trajectory of movement, uneven court.
As preventive measures, it is proposed:
• compulsory warm-up before training, match;
• exercises to strengthen the muscles of the thigh;
• playing on soft courts.
Sometimes the pain in the knee, after a minor injury, is not very severe, and the tennis player continues to play. The result is chronic inflammation, which in turn will lead to limitation of joint mobility and deformation. Therefore, the knees must be protected, in case of injury – apply cold and contact the emergency room.
Injuries to the muscles of the back of the lower leg
A fairly typical injury for tennis, which is why it is called the “tennis player’s foot”. The point is stretching or even tearing the calf muscle. Symptoms are typical: severe sharp pain in the calf after an unsuccessful jump, step. Swelling and redness may not be very pronounced.
You can only warn the “tennis player’s leg” with a full warm-up before each game or workout. Help – cold, doctor’s consultation.
Achilles tendon injury
The powerful cord running from the calf to the calcaneus can break. In young tennis players, tendon tears are more common at the site of its attachment to the heel bone.
Reasons: abrupt start of movement, abrupt braking. This type of injury occurs more often on hard courts. Symptoms are sharp pain in the Achilles tendon area, edema. Often athletes themselves say that at the moment of injury they felt a kind of tearing, crunching. In the event of a complete rupture of the tendon, the foot does not bend. Very serious and serious injury. Requires immediate anesthesia (cold, chloroethyl) and emergency treatment at the emergency room.
As a preventive measure, you can recommend an accurate game, warm-up. It must also be remembered that a ruptured Achilles tendon can be triggered by some medications. If a person takes such drugs, it is better for him to refrain from playing tennis until the end of the course of treatment.
Like any other sport, tennis requires a lot of attention to physical fitness, high-quality equipment, adequate training under the guidance of a professional trainer. A comfortable racket is a must.
It is not always possible to avoid injuries. In case of any damage it is necessary to stop playing and consult a doctor. Otherwise, there is a risk of chronic injury, which may jeopardize further activities and sports career. A simple example: With a chronic tendon injury, such as a tennis elbow, the ligaments at the site of the tear become ossified. The result is constant pain and persistent dysfunction of the joint. The same goes for any other damage.
The doctors of our clinic have extensive experience in the treatment and rehabilitation of tennis players. We are focused on conservative treatment of the most difficult injuries, since we understand that surgery is an extreme way to solve a problem. In case of inevitability of surgical treatment, we recommend leading specialists and carry out postoperative rehabilitation, which allows you to return to sports as soon as possible.