This year’s Australian Open Tennis Tournament was plagued with player injuries before it began, with big names, like Andy Murray, forced to withdraw and other players such as Rafael Nadal starting the tournament but carrying an injury.
At Turramurra Sports and Spinal Physio, we have compiled an injury checklist – here are our top five:-
The dynamic sideways moves that tennis players make, especially when playing on grass or when fatigued, are the commonest cause of Ankle sprains and strains. Ligament damage and tearing and bleeding of the soft tissues in the ankle can be caused by twisting the ankle resulting in pain and swelling.
At Turramurra, our physiotherapists suggest taping of the ankle or an ankle brace to reduce the risk of injury, particularly for those who have already had an ankle injury in the past.
Immediately after injury, ice and compression of the ankle combined with rest and elevation of the foot will help to relieve inflammation and pain. Once this initial phase has passed, one of our sports and spinal physio team can provide treatment with the aim of speeding recovery and restoring full and correct ankle function.
Tennis players make many of their shots, pushing off one foot only. This is when a calf strain is most likely to occur as the tissues of the calf muscles can tear if this movement causes muscles to be stretched too far.
As with ankle injury, ice, compression (which helps to lessen bleeding within muscle tissue), elevation of the leg and rest, is the order of the day in the acute phase. After this, your physiotherapist will help you with gentle exercises designed to stretch and strengthen the damaged muscle groups.
Your physiotherapist can advise on how to reduce your chances of getting a repeat injury. For example, they can advise on diet as correct nutrition, with the appropriate amount of carbohydrate may help in preventing calf strain by providing muscles with the energy needed.
Stress fractures affecting the back are common, particularly among younger players who are growing rapidly. Players often notice stress fracture pain is worsened by the serving action and is often relieved by resting.
Correct coaching support should ensure that the risk of stress fracture is minimised by limiting the amount of serving practice done. In addition, learning exercises to improve core stability and strength like the ones we teach in sports and spinal physio will help as will participating in Yoga or Pilates classes.
Unfortunately, the best thing to do after picking up this type of injury is simply to rest – completely for several weeks! Using heat or ice packs can be helpful in relieving pain.
In the rehabilitation phase, our physiotherapists will work with patients to correct any postural problems and to strengthen and stabilize the muscles of the lumbar spine. This reduces pain and can help to minimise the risk of further injury by supporting the spine better.
One of the most common elbow injuries for tennis players is ‘Tennis Elbow’. This is a painful problem, caused by inflammation and affects forearm tendons and muscles at the point where they join the Humerus.
One of the best ways of minimising risk of tennis elbow is to have the right size racquet-grip for your hand – thus avoiding gripping too tightly. Our physiotherapists can advise on the use of a compression strap to minimise elbow strain and the risk of injury.
For those experiencing their first bout of Tennis Elbow, anti-inflammatories, combined with rest and sometimes injections of Corticosteroid preparations can be very effective. After reduction of the initial inflammation, our physiotherapists support patient recovery with exercises for the extensor tendons, designed to strengthen and protect from further injury.
Shoulder injuries are common in tennis players because of the repeated stresses on the shoulder joint, especially when serving. Bursitis is among the most frequently seen shoulder injuries and can be very painful when raising the arm in particular. This is because of impingement of the fluid-filled sac in the shoulder which gets trapped between bone in the shoulder joint and the muscles of the rotator cuff that stabilize it.
After the initial ‘acute’ period after injury, during which, topical and oral anti-inflammatory treatments are used in combination with ice applied to the affected area a physiotherapist can help with exercises designed to improve range of motion, flexibility, strength and stability in the shoulder.
A Final Word …
The Physiotherapy team at Turramurra Sports and Spinal Physio regularly treat patients who have picked up an injury in one of many different sporting disciplines. As physiotherapists, we can support you in the initial stages of recovery, (acute phase) and in the longer-term recovery period, (rehabilitation phase). At whatever level you play, you could be sidelined permanently if your injury is not treated effectively right from the outset. So, whether you have already suffered an injury, or you would like advice on preventing injury, call us today on 9144-1510 and schedule your first appointment with a member of our team.