Many injuries that young tennis players receive are due to overuse from long hours of practice and competition on the tennis court and repetitive swinging motions. The injuries are a result of muscle imbalances in shoulder girdle strength, flexibility, and poor swinging techniques.
- Shoulder pain: could be caused from bursitis, impingement, or rotator cuff tendinitis
How to prevent: become educated in appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises for the shoulder/rotator cuff muscles, as well as learn biomechanically correct swinging techniques
For immediate relief: use a cold pack for ~ 10-15 minutes to decrease inflammation; see a doctor so he can prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication and possible physical therapy
- Tennis elbow: also called lateral epicondylitis; pain with elbow and wrist extension (bending back wrist)
How to prevent: do not play with wet tennis balls, be sure your racket is not strung to tight and that the racket is the proper size; strengthen muscles around elbow and learn proper stroke techniques
For immediate relief: fill up a paper cup with water and freeze it; when frozen, remove cup from freezer and tear off top of cup; place the ice directly on the painful elbow; move in a circular direction for 3-5 minutes; perform 2-3 times daily; see a doctor so he can prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication and possible physical therapy
- Stress fractures in the lower leg or foot: an overuse injury which occurs when muscles become fatigued and are unable to absorb added shock
How to prevent: be sure your shoes are not worn out; decrease the amount of pounding and physical stress; attempt to play more on clay courts rather than hard courts; do not ramp up your intensity too rapidly, increase it slowly
For relief: Unfortunately there is not a quick cure; participating in pain free, low weight bearing activities/exercises for 6-8 weeks (AQUATIC THERAPY is a great choice to help speed your recovery process); cross train; incorporate calcium and Vitamin D rich foods in your meals; use proper tennis/running shoes
- Back pain: 95% of the time it is a muscle strain due to overuse, instability, poor flexibility, and muscle and postural dysfunction.
How to prevent: core stabilization and flexibility exercises; posture training
For relief: apply ice to your back for 10-15 minutes; talk with your doctor about pursuing physical and or aquatic therapy