The main injuries in tennis


The main injuries in tennis

Are injuries inevitably accompanying professional tennis players? Do they get injured more now than before? There are several reasons why this theory could be true: the current style of play is much more intense and faster; the calendar is extensive and very demanding, and tennis players lengthen their careers much more than before.


The truth is that, surely, injury is an almost inevitable companion of the professional athlete. That is why prevention work is so important. Young athletes must be educated on this subject and must become aware that it is daily work, a habit that they must acquire from the very first moment.


How can they work to try to prevent them? The first thing is to understand that injury prevention is multidisciplinary work. The coach, physical trainer, doctor, physiotherapist, osteopath, podiatrist, nutritionist, and even the supplier of sports and technical equipment must work in coordination.


We can include all this preventive work in 5 main areas:


Medical control: It is essential to perform a complete medical check-up every year, with medical examination, blood tests, spirometry, electrocardiogram, kinanthropometry, podiatric study, functional assessment. All this helps us to assess the state of health and physical capabilities of each tennis player in order to program optimal workloads.


Nutrition: Proper nutrition plays a fundamental role in creating healthy habits and improving sports performance. Especially, if we deal with growing youngsters, adding to their own energetic needs of development, the needs of sportswear.


Technique: Given a large number of repetitions of strokes in each training session and match, we need each gesture to be technically efficient to avoid overload injuries. It is important to control the load of matches and training and make the young tennis player understand that rest is part of the training.


Physical preparation: The basis of physical preparation should be aimed at performing compensatory exercises to seek the balance of the musculoskeletal system. Of course, an adequate warm-up is mandatory before the effort, as well as stretching after the effort, which will help us to a better muscular recovery.


Material: The use of inadequate and non-individualized material (footwear, racquet) can be the cause of many injuries. It is essential to be advised by a professional before buying.



Here is a compilation of the most common injuries in tennis, as well as preventive treatments for each of them, the symptoms, and the necessary treatment in case of suffering them.


Tennis elbow : the most famous injurie

It is a repetitive pain in the external part of the elbow when hitting the backhand, volley, and the rest, especially when the wrist is in a bad position. It is an overuse injury due to repeated microtraumas. It appears in people over 30 years old, with few, initiated or intense weekend players. The incorrect technique or inadequate equipment.


Symptoms: pain appears in the lateral region of the elbow, punctual in the epicondyle, or radiating towards the forearm or arm. It disappears during the game and reappears after the game. It increases until it makes daily life gestures such as shaking hands impossible.


Preventive treatment of this injurie: it is recommended to use a large racket, with flexible material, avoiding vibration. Weight no more than 360gr and gut or synthetic strings. Good basic physical preparation. Progressive training and a good warm-up. Correct nutrition and hydration. Adequate stretching of the flexor and extensor muscles (with the elbow stretched). Never play with wet balls.


Treatment: Rest (active), exercise without situations that lead to pain, avoid backhand. Heat, ice, massages in different modalities. Infiltration in extreme cases, and if there are no results surgery.


Tendinitis of the wrist


It is seen in the non-dominant hand by the two-handed backhand especially in girls and young people who have very flexible tendons and musculature. They are usually patients with very lax musculature. Caused by repeated microtraumas.


Symptoms: pain and inflammation.

Preventive treatment: not to take hours and hours of exercises in volleys, not flexions in the floor with flat hands, they stretch a lot of the tendons. Not to make many exercises of backhand to two hands lifted. It is recommended to play forehand, use the dominant hand for the backhand and make simple shots at the net. Strengthen wrist.


Treatment: Rest, ice, massage. Strengthen by bringing the thumb to the face. Playing with a wrist brace allows the backhand to be crossed because it helps the wrist not to make such an abrupt movement in the accompaniment.


Rotator cuff or tennis shoulder


The dominant shoulder is lower than the non-dominant shoulder. They touch more easily on one side of the back than on the other. Usually, on the right, they touch both hands in the back. The biggest risk factor is the biomechanics of the throw, especially if you throw a lot and do not rest enough.


Symptoms: shoulder pain.

Preventive treatment: Exercises to avoid: serve, spike, high topspin forehand, high far volleys. Bad gym exercises: front raises, lateral raises, pectorals. Good gym exercises: internal rotation and wall push-ups, saw movements, weight lifting, external rotation saw.



Rest, no pulling, ice, massage, flexibility, strengthening. It is essential to stretch the shoulders since one of them, above all, is contracted. The best ones are triceps in front of the face and back, never pectoral as it destabilizes the shoulder even more.


Achilles tendinitis

It is a frequent affection mainly in runners, jumpers, basketball players, and tennis players. About 25% is bilateral and affects more men.


Symptoms: morning numbness, even lameness that takes time to disappear. Presence of nodules, transverse striations or granulations on palpation of the tendon.


Preventive treatment: Causes: training on hard floors such as parquet floors, quick, cement, etc. Excessively intense running, long daily walks. Shoes are in poor condition, especially if they are very worn out. Anomalies in the statics of the foot. Prevention: correct footwear, without sole or heel wear. Training on soft ground. Dietary adjustments especially hydric. Use of insoles if necessary.


Treatment: Essential rest, correction of static anomalies, use of a heel pad, physiotherapy.


Injury of the internal calf, leg of tennis or tennis Leg.

This is a total or partial tear or muscle disinsertion of the inner calf. It occurs when the knee is extended and the ankle in dorsal flexion the triceps sural contracts. This occurs in tennis in the service and the net when returning a volley that is not easily reached. More frequent in people over 40 years of age, mainly due to lack of adequate stretching and warm-up.


Symptoms: the tennis player feels a strong pain like a « stone ». Sometimes a hematoma appears quickly and retraction of the muscular end.

Treatment: Necessary application of ice and rest of the area. Depending on severity can be immobilized in the first few days. Only when it is an extensive break or complete disinsertion is sewn. The tendency is to immobilize with a bootie and wait 4-6 weeks for good scarring. Then gradually electrotherapy, stretching, and massage.


Preventive treatment: prevention by avoiding fatigue, convalescence, climatic conditions (cold), environment, absence of heating, not wearing adequate protective clothing during training, prolonged use of shoes with studs or spikes.


Ingrown toenail

Preventive treatment: loose-fitting shoes, never wear tight socks. Careful foot hygiene. Cut the nails regularly, at least once a week, and cut them straight. Trim nails if they are thick. If ingrown toenails appear, the bacterial infection can invade the cuticles and cause great discomfort.


Treatment: drain infections, keep the area dry, local antiseptics or antibiotic powders. Surgery if problems persist. In general, the nail wedge or the entire nail is removed.


Blisters and corns

They are formed by the friction of the layers of the skin before appearing in red. It must be well hydrated and protected. They usually appear at the beginning of the season. Effective cleaning, soap, and water, dry well especially at night, creams rich in glycerin.


Stress fractures

They are infrequent in sports practice but are injuries that occur due to overuse. Stress fractures are the result of a rapid increase in the pace of training. When the muscles become tired, the bone is subjected to more stress. Suspect them in the knowledge of overuse, hypersensitivity in the fracture zone. In x-rays, a small notch is appreciated in the tibia, in members. More frequent in young people because their bones are weaker.


Other common tennis injuries


lumbar injuries in tennis

The tennis stroke requires the whole body to be effective and powerful, from the soles of the feet to the racquet hitting area. This also includes the lower back, which often makes a ballistic rotational movement.


The vertebrae in the lumbar region are not designed for a wide range of rotational motion, which can damage the facet joints or even the disc due to the shear forces that occur at this level.


Carpal Tunnel

Continued pressure on the racquet handle, coupled with hours of hitting, can injure the carpal tunnel. This ligament of the wrist is a highly sensitive area due to the passage of the

nerve bundle. The median nerve in its passage under the carpal tunnel can be compressed, giving symptoms such as tingling, changes in insensitivity, and even functional impotence.


As we have seen throughout the article, there are different injuries in tennis as it is a complex sport with enormous physical demands, which means that it requires good physical preparation and prevention with physiotherapy sessions.

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