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Wimbledon and all things Tennis

As the excitement builds for the London Wimbledon tennis tournament, the hype around playing tennis increases and it's essential to be aware of the potential injuries that can occur on the court. Tennis is a physically demanding sport, and without proper care, injuries can sideline even professionals. However, with the correct treatment, you could be back playing at a high level. Here's a brief overview of common tennis injuries and their treatments:

Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis):

This is one of the most prevalent injuries among tennis players. It's characterised by pain and tenderness on the outer part of the elbow. Overuse of the forearm muscles, particularly during backhand strokes, can lead to this condition. Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications can help alleviate pain. Additionally, physiotherapy exercises focused on strengthening and stretching the forearm muscles are essential for recovery. Shockwave therapy is a beneficial treatment option which I will discuss further. 

Shoulder Injuries:

Rotator cuff injuries and shoulder impingement are common among tennis players due to the repetitive overhead motions involved in serving and hitting forehand shots. Treatment may include rest, ice, and physical therapy to strengthen the shoulder muscles and improve the range of motion.

Shoulders are complicated multifaceted joints and using your physiotherapist's expertise to adjust rehab is essential. 

Knee Injuries:

Tennis involves a lot of lateral movement, which can put stress on the knees. Injuries such as patellar tendinitis or meniscus tears can occur. Treatment will often include the usual rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), along with graded exercises to rebuild range and appropriately strengthen the surrounding musculature. Working with a physiotherapist is very important as with meniscus tears, onward referral could be necessary followed by rehabilitation. 

Ankle Sprains:

Quick changes in direction and sudden stops on the court can increase the risk of ankle sprains. Treatment will include rehabilitation exercises to restore strength and stability to the ankle. By ensuring the joint is happy and healthy we will be able to appropriately re-strengthen the ankle to be able to support bodyweight, adapt to changing movements and improve balance. 

Shockwave Therapy:

Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment option that has shown promising results for various tennis-related injuries, including tennis elbow, hamstring tendonitis and greater trochanteric pain syndrome.  It involves applying high-energy shockwaves to the affected area, which stimulates the body's natural healing process and helps reduce pain and inflammation. Many athletes find shockwave therapy to be an effective complement to traditional treatments like rest and physical therapy.

Preventing tennis injuries is key to enjoying the sport and staying in the game. Incorporating proper warm-up and cool-down routines, using the correct technique, and listening to your trainers are essential. If you experience persistent pain or discomfort, seeking physiotherapy opinion and support is the best next step to get you back to playing pain-free. 

Caitlin Erlank

MSK Physiotherapist BSc, MCSP, HCPC 

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