How to Prevent Shoulder Injuries In Tennis
There is a good chance if you play tennis you have had some form of a shoulder injury. The shoulder injury statistics are not great for the tennis lover. Having been a tennis fitness trainer for nearly 20 years, I would say shoulder injuries are one of the most common body parts that get messed up.
The majority of tennis shoulder injuries are overuse injuries, which generally means they can be prevented following certain preventive measures. We will look at these later on.
First, let’s look at the complexity of the shoulder joint.
The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint. It is highly mobile. It is estimated the shoulder joint can be placed in 1000s of different positions.
If you compare the shoulder joint to say the hip joint, the hip joint has a lot more structure and support around it, it is a lot more robust.
The shoulder joint, on the other hand, is more isolated and has a lot less muscle mass around it to support the joint.
For this reason, it needs to be well maintained (kept strong) and managed (Mobile). This is how we can best prevent tennis shoulder injuries.
For a tennis player, there is no more important joint than their dominant shoulder. All shots rely on its use and having it unrestricted and strong helps more than most players realize. If you have ever had shoulder issues, you know what I am saying.
When we assess shoulder joint mobility one of the assessments we use is called the Aspley test, it is the easiest to explain and implement.
We use 2 other assessments. The dowel overhead shoulder roll and wall angel. We also have found a strong correlation between lack of thoracic mobility (Mid spine) and shoulder dysfunction, leading to injury.
This is due to the fact through the service motion, we need to get good thoracic rotation and extension, and without it, players tend to overuse the vulnerable shoulder joint to try and generate power.
So, what can we do to help prevent shoulder injuries in tennis?
Here are some key points to consider;
Tips to prevent shoulder injuries in tennis;
Being conscious of your shoulder is the first step to preventing injury. Build up the strength, get it mobile and maintain it. Do those 3 things and you will be on your way to prevent shoulder injuries in tennis!
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