The thrill of enjoying tennis can be dampened if players don’t take the necessary precautions to minimize and prevent injury. Whether it’s Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, or Maria Sharapova, all players must abide by best practices to maintain tennis safety. If you learn the right techniques and consistently apply them in your routine, many injuries can be prevented.
The Right Equipment
Make sure you have the right equipment; shoes with good support to prevent ankle injuries, socks with extra padding, and a racket the right weight, size, and string tension. Once you’ve chosen the right racket, prevent blisters by dabbing it with sawdust or powdered chalk before playing, and keep a first-aid kit handy, including compresses for bruises, antiseptics and non-adhesive dressings for abrasions.
Warm up Appropriately
Warming up appropriately is the next key to avoiding problems. Not only will a good five or ten-minute warm-up help prevent injury, it will also improve your game, so take that jog around the court before beginning. Stop when you begin perspiring so that you don’t overdo it. Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after play, to avoid stiffness and cramps. Do strength-building exercises. Ideally, you should work with a professional trainer, who will help you with such techniques as:
- Learning just how far to arch your back when serving or making an overhead shot. Also bending the arm to the right degree while serving will allow you to prevent too much pressure from elbow to wrist.
- Doing gradual stretching exercises for the wrist.
- Starting backhand swings from your shoulder, and properly gripping the racket to get more support on the backhand.
- Bending your arm on forehand shots, so your biceps and shoulder will take the force of the swing rather than the elbow (thus avoiding a common problem – tennis elbow.)
- Avoiding using an excessive top spin on the ball when hitting ground strokes.
- Refraining from quick stops and starts which can result in ankle sprains.
Practicing not landing on the ball of your foot (reducing chances of Achilles tendon injury.)
If You Suffer an Injury
Although many tennis injuries do not require hospitalization, once injured, you need to be sure you get the treatment needed. If you believe you’re suffering from any of the common tennis injuries, such as tennis elbow, ankle sprain, wrist injuries, stress fractures, rotator cuff tears, or patellar tendinitis (jumper’s knee), call our office in Palm Springs at 760-416-4511, or our newest office in Palm Desert at 760-340-6784.
The first step toward successful treatment is accurate diagnosis. In the meantime, remember the tips we’ve offered, as the well-known saying is true. “Prevention is the best cure.”