The sporting season is upon us! Summer has finally caught up and if there’s one thing that’s best done in the sun, its sports! The easing of lockdown couldn’t have happened at a better time, teaming up with the European Football Championship and Wimbledon! As a nation, we love sports, so it’s no wonder that Football and Tennis are both in the top 5 spots for favourite UK sport and favourite UK sporting event to attend. The sudden surge in heat and motivation from organised outdoor sporting events has caused us all to dig out our old footballs and tennis rackets from the shed and get playing!

So now that we’re all enjoying playing sports again it is important to know how to prepare yourself for the sport and how to offset the impact on your body to avoid injury – today we’re going to talk about Tennis!

Tennis is a great sport and loved by many, and although it is great for our general health to play Tennis, it is also a heavily one-sided sport. What this means is that your body is constantly working on just one side repeatedly which can have a negative impact on you if not counter acted. Heavily working just one shoulder/arm and side of your back can easily cause overloading and lead to injury. If your chosen sport of 2021 is going to be Tennis, you will need to make sure to do some compensational sports alongside playing Tennis to counter act this.

What makes a good compensational sport?

A good compensational sport is any sport that works a different part of your body than the sport you play. For example, pro Tennis players will strive to play Football in their free time. Football is a great partner sport for Tennis as it works mainly your legs and lower body which will allow your arm time to rest in between Tennis sessions helping you to avoid overloading and creating balance of the body.

Another important thing to bear in mind when playing Tennis is your choice of racket. The wrong racket can cause you to play improperly and can also lead to injury so choosing a good racket is essential.

What makes a good racket?

There are many different types of Tennis rackets, usually varying in size and weight. This is because everyone’s grip strength and arm length differ, so what makes the racket good will be how it matches with your strength/ size and grip. A common mistake is to assume all rackets are the same. Ending up with a racket that is too heavy for you can result in overloading of the shoulder from bearing the weight of this racket. The outcome could either be a poorer performance when playing or even injuries such as Tennis elbow or Golfer’s elbow.

What is Tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is mostly caused by overusing your forearm due to a repetitive or strenuous activity. It can also sometimes occur after banging or knocking your elbow. If the muscles in your forearm are strained, tiny tears and inflammation can develop near the bony lump (lateral epicondyle) on the outside of your elbow. You may get tennis elbow if your forearm muscles are not used to doing a certain activity, or sport. This is why those of us who have just started playing Tennis again recently to get back into the swing of Tennis season, are at high risk of getting this. However, Tennis elbow is not restricted to Tennis players only.

You can develop tennis elbow by doing any form of activity that involves repeatedly twisting your wrist and bending your elbow or using your forearm muscles. Examples include:

  • Any other racquet sport (badminton or squash) or sports that involve throwing (javelin or discus)
  • using hand tools repeatedly (gardening shears, screwdriver or scissors)
  • using tools while decorating, plumbing or bricklaying
  • activities that involve fine, repetitive hand and wrist movements (typing or sewing)
  • activities that involve repeatedly bending the elbow (playing golf, which can also lead to golfers’ elbow)

What is Golfer’s elbow?

Golfer’s elbow, or also known as medial epicondylitis or epicondylopathy, is a condition which causes pain around the inside bony part of the elbow and can radiate down into the forearm. People of any age can get golfer’s elbow but it mainly affects people between the ages of 40 and 60 with males and females equally affected.   

Golfer’s elbow can happen as a result of a specific injury but is more often an overuse injury primarily due to repetitive strain from tasks and activities that involve gripping, rotating your arm and flexing your wrist. Repeated movements of flexing the wrist, gripping or swinging can cause strains or small tears in the tendons at the elbow similar to that of Tennis elbow which is why it is possible to get either Golfers elbow or Tennis elbow while playing Tennis.

If you believe you may be suffering from either of these conditions or you’re unsure if Physiotherapy is for you, why not book a FREE 15-minute discovery visit?

In this complimentary visit you will have a chance to speak to a physio about your needs/and or condition/concerns and they will let you know if physio is right for you.

To book an appointment or a discovery visit, call us on: 0207 636 8845