Keep the Rally Going

How tennis players can maintain their strokes by staying injury-free

Women playing tennis

From Grand Slam tournaments to recreational leagues, tennis players are feeling the strain after their matches.

You might think that tennis elbow is the most likely injury for the serve-and-volley set — but it’s no match for more common afflictions. Sixty-seven percent of tennis-related injuries involve the lower extremities, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS).

The jarring nature of tennis, with its intermittent stops and starts, can be devastating on the hips, knees, feet and ankles. To keep tennis players on the court, the AAOS tosses up these recommendations on how to reduce your risk of injury on the court.

PRACTICE EARLY PREPARATION
Walking, jumping rope or riding a stationary bike for a few minutes can get your blood flowing and muscles warmed up. Before you step up to the baseline, do a complete set of stretches including lunges, arm circles and quick racket swings. These stretches will mimic your movements on court while increasing your power and flexibility.

CHOOSE APPROPRIATE ATTIRE
Find tennis shoes that provide excellent arch support and heel stabilization. For added protection, wear two pairs of socks or padded tennis socks. You can avoid plantar fasciitis and other foot injuries by using orthotics or a heel cup.

WATCH YOUR STEP
The constant pounding your joints take on hard courts made of asphalt or concrete often leads to pain. Play on softer surfaces like clay instead. In order to avoid slips and falls, clear away any loose debris or other impediments on the court.

EXPLORE OFF-COURT TRAINING
Aerobic conditioning and cross-training exercises will reduce the stress on your feet and ankles. Strengthen your lower body by adding trunk rotations and squats to workouts for better stability.
Finally, if you’re feeling excessive pain, numbness or discomfort, get checked out by a doctor.

Source: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons