Tennis is a popular sport for many reasons. Not only is it a great aerobic exercise, but it can improve your metabolism and increase your flexibility. While it can help you stay active, tennis can result in certain injuries, especially muscle problems. This article will explore more behind frequent muscle injuries in tennis players and a few easy ways you can prevent and treat them.
Tennis players need to watch out for a few muscle injuries:
Repetitive Strain Injury
One of the most frequent muscle injuries in tennis players is the repetitive strain injury. As its name suggests, this injury is caused when a tennis player does repetitive movements. These can put strain on a certain muscle.
SLAP tears happen in the shoulder joint’s cartilage. These can make it difficult for tennis players to move their arms and could cause pain throughout their upper back. If not fixed, SLAP tears can result in grinding or popping noises in your shoulder.
Tennis elbow is a common problem among tennis players. This issue occurs due to repetitive motions that irritate the tendons around your elbow. If you don’t rest these tendons, they could slightly tear apart and cause radiating pain from your elbow down to your forearm.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This condition affects the muscles and nerves in the hand. Because tennis players rely on their hands to serve and hit the ball, they can overwork these muscles, causing them to press on the median nerve. Once this nerve is shifted out of place, it can cause numbness, tingling sensations, and hand weakness. If not corrected, it could eventually lead to arthritis.
Five Muscle Recovery Techniques for Tennis Players
Eat Enough Calories
Eating calories can be very helpful at encouraging your muscles to recover faster.
Calories help you build muscle. If you have a muscle injury, eating calories will encourage your body to repair it faster.
Tennis players should try to eat at least 2,500-3,000 calories per day. Some of the best options to consume to help you reach this goal include:
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water is crucial if you want your muscles to recover correctly. If your body is dehydrated, it will make it easier for muscles to tear because there isn’t fluid surrounding them. Dehydration can also make the pain worse because there’s an inadequate amount of fluid coating your nerves. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure to drink at least eight cups of water per day.
Use Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care is a great way to naturally relieve muscle tension and pain. Many tennis muscle injuries can cause a variety of surprising side effects. For instance, shoulder muscle injuries can tighten your back muscles and cause them to press on nerves that could result in headaches.
A chiropractor will try various techniques, but will mainly perform the active release technique. This adjustment works to release tension and scar tissue surrounding your muscles. By doing so, it will reduce pain and increase your flexibility.
Regular chiropractic treatment can prevent future muscle injuries because your chiropractor can monitor your body. They’ll give you tips as to how you can keep your body flexible and free from injuries when playing. Some might also explain what a sports massage is and why it would be beneficial to have done.
Do Static Stretching
Static stretching focuses on one set of muscles. This can be very beneficial as it focuses on stretching out specific ones, especially those that are tense. These stretches will boost blood circulation to the muscles to help them repair themselves faster. They will also encourage better flexibility which can prevent future muscle injuries.
There are plenty of static stretches you can do to heal injured muscles. Below are a few.
Posterior Deltoid Stretch
The posterior deltoid stretch focuses on releasing tension in your deltoid muscle. This can help reduce tightness in your shoulder.
To begin, stand with proper posture. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed. Take your left arm and stretch it across your chest. Use your right arm to hold your left arm’s wrist to keep it in place. As you do this, you should feel a small pull in your shoulder. Hold this pose for about 15 seconds and then release. Repeat with your right arm.
The butterfly stretch releases tension in your hamstrings. It can also target injured back muscles to help them relax.
The first step for this stretch is to sit on the ground. Move your legs in front of you so that the bottom of your feet touch each other. Hold onto your ankles with your arms and gently bring your body forward. Keep this position for a few seconds and then release. Continue to do this for about a minute.
This stretch is designed to increase hip flexibility and reduce pain in your lower back and knees.
To begin, stand with proper posture and place your hands on your hips. Put your left foot in front of you and gently lower your body so that it bends. Keep your right leg behind you and bend it so that your body is level. Hold for a few seconds and then return to the original position. Repeat this process but put your right foot in front of you. Continue alternating between them for two minutes.
Use Ice and Heat
You can also use ice and heat to calm muscle injuries. When the injury first occurs, it’s best to place ice on it. Ice will numb the area which can reduce pain and prevent swelling. Once the swelling has subsided, put a heating pad on it. This can help stop stiffness caused by inflammation.
Make sure to only place heat on the injury after the swelling has stopped. Otherwise, it will worsen the problem because it opens your blood vessels, something which can increase inflammation.
Muscle injuries are unfortunately common in tennis players. However, by keeping the tips above in mind, you can avoid many of them while keeping your body strong and healthy.
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. is a licensed chiropractor who founded Better Health Chiropractic Juneau. He is currently leading 10,000 Alaskans to more active and pain-free lifestyles without drugs or invasive surgeries. He brings a progressive and highly innovative approach to chiropractic care, physical rehab therapy and chiropractic massage. Dr. Wells continues to further his education with ongoing studies in spine conditions, neurology, physical rehabilitation, biomechanics, occupational ergonomics, whiplash, and brain injury traumatology. He is also a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians.