Causes Of Tennis Injuries in Players

As we know tennis is very demanding on the body. The great thing is, with guidance and education, from professionals e.g. tennis coaches, tennis conditioners and health professionals, some tennis injuries can be prevented. It is unlikely you will go through your career without having an injury. If we were to break up total injuries within tennis players, just under half player’s injuries are lower limb (40%), whilst upper limb injuries (25%), with the remaining injuries are to the Trunk/back and abdomen (20%) and Other thigh, hip, head, eye (13%). Let's look into some of the common reasons for injuries-

1. Training faults – Very common cause of injury and this is the most frustrating injury for us as tennis fitness trainers. Is excessive workload on and off court with insufficient recovery. When you are performing exercises for tennis, you overload the body, and with sufficient recovery, favourable adaptations in our body tissues occur (e.g. stronger tendons). With increase load and insufficient recovery time, body tissues are unable to recover.

2. Musculoskeletal imbalances and deficiencies - Muscle weakness, inflexibilities and structural issues can all lead to injury if not identified and addressed. If you’re serious about your tennis training, it is imperative to consult a Tennis fitness or Tennis strength and conditioner, to undergo a tennis fitness assessment and postural analyses. Here a tennis fitness trainer will establish your weaknesses and address them. They will design a individualized strength and conditioning program, which plays a vital role in reducing a player’s injury risk, and improving performance. Improved muscle strength helps to absorb excessive forces and is protective of bone, joints and other soft tissues. It is important, however, that the total load of tennis training (both strength and conditioning and on-court training) is not excessive, which may have a negative effect and actually lead to injury (as in cause no.1).

3. Technical faults - Poor technique is a common cause of injury to the wrist, elbow and shoulder and occasionally the spine. Use of extreme or incorrect grips and poor co-ordination of the kinetic chain should be considered. As a very general rule, players who appear to be able to generate effortless power are less likely to be injured.

4. Equipment faults or recent changes in equipment - Sometimes the cause of the injury may be traced back to changes in equipment or due to inappropriate equipment being used over a long-term period. If an injury occurs following a recent change in racket, string type, string tension, or shoe type then it is important to recognize this as a possible factor.

5. Environmental - Court surface and injury types - Tennis surfaces are changing throughout the year. The most common injuries on Grass courts are lower back and hips, the most common injuries on hard courts are related to high load impact. With Clay courts there is a reduced impact therefore there is a decrease in direct injury rate. However the points are longer and therefore can cause overuse injuries (as in cause no.1). When changing court surface, we definitely recommend, to gradually shift to a different surface and reduce the training volume, to lower the risk of injury.

6. Traumatic - Traumatic injuries are much less common in non-contact sports such as tennis, when compared with contact sports. The most common traumatic injury in tennis is the lateral ankle sprain. Traumatic injuries are difficult to prevent, however, it is important for the tennis coach or tennis fitness trainer to be competent in dealing with these injuries if they occur.  

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