Some common overuse injuries are:
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
This is a common repetitive injury that leads to elbow pain, however it may also be caused by sudden impact. Symptoms are pain on the outside of the elbow which may radiate down the forearm. The RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method is helpful in relieving pain and inflammation. Physiotherapy is recommended for flexibility and strengthening so that you can return to playing tennis.
Rotator cuff tendonitis
This is a tennis injury that results from repeated overhead movements. This causes inflammation in the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles, leading to shoulder pain and weakness with overhead movements or pain at night, especially when lying on the affected shoulder. Rest and icing are the first forms of treatment followed by physiotherapy exercises for strengthening. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
Inflammation of the tendons of the thumb may occur when someone starts playing tennis for the first time but it can also be an overuse injury. Injury to the arm, poor technique or improper equipment may also lead to this type of tennis injury. Wrist pain is felt in the front of the wrist and if you make a fist with the thumb inside, there would most likely be pain. Rest and icing should be employed to allow the inflammation to heal. Stretching and strengthening exercises will be helpful to allow you to return to tennis.
A sprained wrist may occur from a fall on an outstretched hand. This causes stretching or tears to the ligaments of the wrist. Pain, tenderness and swelling over the wrist will be seen. If you experience these symptoms you should rest from the activity and apply ice. Once the symptoms have subsided you should contact your physiotherapist for a rehabilitation programme.
During a game, a tennis player is required to stop, start or make sudden changes in direction. This can result in stretching or tearing of the ligaments of the ankle leading to ankle sprain. Sometimes a loud “snap” or “pop” may be heard at the time of injury, followed by pain, swelling and tenderness over the site. Applying the RICE treatment should be your first course of action. Rest is needed to take the strain off the ankle and ice helps to relieve pain and inflammation. Compression of the ankle with a bandage and elevation of the foot while sitting and lying helps to reduce oedema or swelling. Physiotherapy will help with rehabilitation and your return to tennis in a short time.
ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries
ACL injuries are quite common among tennis players for the reasons mentioned above. The ACL is one of the two major ligaments that help to stabilise the knee. When this is injured, knee stability is compromised, and knee pain, swelling and difficulty walking result. The first thing to do is use the RICE method, then seek out physiotherapy.
For these or any other injuries you may have sustained playing tennis, see us first. We can help.