Every year, around 78,000 Americans are treated for tennis injuries that could be the result of bad form, overuse or poor conditioning. There are techniques and warm-ups that can keep you on the court - injury free!
Bobby Walker knows a thing or two about tennis. "I'm on the court about 40 hours a week teaching tennis," he said.
This Lake Charles Racquet Club tennis pro has played for decades and also knows the injuries that can come along with his favorite sport. "I've had tennis elbow," he said, "it's excruciating. People with severe tennis elbow can't pick up their coffee and can't pick up a pen...it can be pretty rough."
Tennis elbow is one of the most common tennis injuries that orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Geoffrey Collins with Center for Orthopaedics, treats. "It's either caused by poor conditioning or not maintaining strength in your forearm through the course of a season or poor technique," he said.
Another common injury affects the shoulder and can be a result of overuse. "People play and play and they forget their work-out programs, their shoulders get weaker while they're playing and they ultimately can get tendonitis or bursitis," said Dr. Collins.
If you are going to play tennis, Dr. Collins says it is important to warm up the three main muscle groups that tennis taps into - before going 100 percent on the court. "You can extend your arm from shoulder level, then go up and down to the waist with the arm extended for three to four sets of 10," he said.
Another exercise to work the interior and exterior rotator cuff starts with the arm at a 90 degree angle at the side and moving in both the right and left directions.
Walker says to pay a lot of attention to your swing, because the wrong move could cause lots of discomfort. "You don't pull the racquet back, you just turn the shoulders, drop the racquet head, take the racquet face and go forward, through the shot," he said.
Most elbow and rotator cuff injuries can be treated with rest, ice and anti-inflammatories, like Aleve and Motrin.
If you want to learn the warm-up and post-game stretching techniques to keep you matching up, make plans to attend a free seminar on tennis injuries at the Lake Charles Racquet Club on Saturday, June 30th. It starts at noon and lunch is provided, but pre-registration is required. Call 721-2903 to save your seat.