Sports Spotlight on: Tennis

Tennis is undoubtedly an explosive and high impact sport; lower limb joints are particularly stressed e.g. hip, ankle and knee. Even through the upper body is not in a weight bearing position, the trunk, torso, shoulder elbow and wrist take a lot of force enabling us to generate the speed and accuracy of certain shots.

The 4 most common tennis injuries we see:

Shoulder Impingement

The shoulder is an unstable joint, surrounded by the rotator cuff muscles, which allows us to complete big ranges of movement. It also keeps the shoulder stabilised during these movements. These large outer range movements are required in tennis and so irritation of the tendons around the shoulder can occur, especially during overhead movements. Players will often complain of a sharp pain when their arm is above their head, and a general aching down the outside of the shoulder.

Patella Tendonitis

The patella tendon attaches the kneecap to the shinbone. Jumping can put excessive strain on this tendon, and repetitive jumping, ( a common movement within tennis), can cause injury to the patellar tendon. Patients usually complain of stiffness in the morning or at the start of exercise which then eases and comes back later during the day or session, pain and swelling.

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are a common injury in tennis – most of the players on the professional tour wear ankle braces to provide extra support. Tennis is a fast-paced game, and the high levels of stress placed through joints can cause injury to ligaments. A sprain can cause pain, stiffness, swelling and bruising in the ankle.

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is an inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles to the outside of the elbow. It is often the result of overuse, and while it can occur in non-athletes, it is common among athletes who play tennis and other racquet sports such as squash. Players usually complain of pain on the outside of the elbow and can lack grip strength due to the pain levels.

5 ways to prevent tennis injuries…


Professional tennis players can spend up to 30 minutes warming up before they even put a racket in their hand and hit a ball. However, amateur players warming up can be deemed an inconvenience and it can take time away from playing. Warming up with some light jogging, arm swings and stretching can be enough; 10 minutes is all you need to increase the heart rate, increase the blood flow to the muscle and reduce the chances of injury!

Cool down

This is similar to your warm-up – it is a prevention of injury. 10 minutes of light jogging to gradually reduce the heart rate and some stretches are advised to stop any muscles tightening up!

Have the right equipment and clothing

Ensure the racket you have is appropriate for you. Rackets that are too heavy, have grips that are too big or small, or tensions in strings that are too heavy will increase the chances of you developing an injury. To ensure your racket is right for you, discuss this with a professional.

There are many surfaces that you can play be it clay, grass, astro-turf or hard court. Ensure the shoes you have are adequate for the surface you are playing on. The wrong shoes can cause lower limb injuries.

Take regular breaks

Pro players get breaks every 2 games in a match – why don’t we employ this idea?! Every 10-15 minutes have a short break to take on fluids and give the body a rest from the higher impact exercise.

General strength and flexibility

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to be like a gymnast. Being strong doesn’t mean you have to be like a body builder! Just some general daily stretches to the lower limbs, upper limbs and back, and some body weight exercises for the lower limbs will help you reduce those injury chances!

Get yourself out there and have a go at tennis!

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