We have all experienced it, we’ve all heard of the pros pulling out of tournaments and matches due to injury. It’s one of those realities of tennis, injuries are going to happen. There’s not much you can do to anticipate when it will happen but know that it will; you can also do many things to try to prolong or even prevent injuries. I”m going to be honest here, I’m not a doctor nor am I any sort of physical fitness trainer so any tips I give are things I do in my own, so please seek professional attention if you have an injury that needs to be corrected.
Right now, as I’m writing this short post, I’m injured and in pain – I suffered some sort of shoulder strain the other day and to make matters worse, I slept on my shoulder and woke up in more pain.
In any event, there are countless injuries that can occur when playing tennis, immediate injuries and long term deteriorating injuries. Some of the more common immediate injures consist of tennis elbow, sprained ankles, shoulder strain, pinched nerves in the neck and spine, lumbar strain, broken fingers, scrapes, and bruises from accidentally whacking yourself with your tennis racquet (I tend to do that at least once a week). Some of the least common injuries have to do with muscles, I’ve had a severe strain in my calf muscle and could hardly walk for a week!
There are of course, very serious types of tennis injuries like broken ankles; ruptured ACLs, dislocated joints; not to mention the wear of the cartilage of the knees, shoulder, back, and hips. Let’s not forget that playing tennis in the extreme heat can be dangerous and even deadly.
All this leads me to stress the importance of having a regular warm-up and stretch routine! No matter how much or little you play tennis, you should always do what you need to do to prevent injury! I like to do a simple regimen of warm up exercises like doing a few slow laps around the tennis court, arm circles, jumping jacks, neck rolls, and some light forearm stretching. I generally stretch after I’m done hitting, but before I’ve cooled down completely, this way I continue to stay limber and I’m not tight the following day. I also like to get the ice on what I think may be soreness areas, in 15 minute intervals of course. If I’ve had a lengthy and physical session, I will take a couple of Advil to reduce any possible inflammation I might encounter. Oh and don’t forget to hydrate properly, before, during; and after.
I really can’t stress this enough, it’s not just about stretching, it’s about warming up properly, loosening the body, getting the blood flowing to the muscles, hydrating, and never pushing yourself too far, sometimes it is too hard
What’s the point of all this? Tennis can be very painful, I’ve had most of my friends have some sort of injury that has benched them for a couple of weeks. I feel for them and I hope that by having your own way of stretching and warming your body up, will prevent you from coming across any serious types of injuries, after all, tennis is one of those things we keep coming back to no matter what.