Every year, numerous South Florida orthopaedic patients are treated at Fort Lauderdale Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine and thousands more at other hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics and surgery centers for tennis-related injuries, ranging from elbow injuries and shoulder problems to sprained ankles and stiff wrists. If you’re a racket-loving athlete, you may avoid many of these painful problems with appropriate planning and preparation. Follow these tips recommended by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
1. Plan for your environment. Try to avoid playing on hard surface courts with no “give,” such as cement, asphalt or synthetic courts. To prevent lower back injuries when playing tennis on hard surface courts, wear heel inserts to absorb the shock.
2. Prepare. Always take time to warm up and stretch. Research studies have shown that cold muscles are more prone to injury. Warm up with jumping jacks, stationary cycling, or running or walking in place for three to five minutes. Then slowly and gently stretch, holding each stretch for 30 seconds.
3. Dress appropriately. Wear tennis shoes with good support to prevent ankle injuries. For added support, wear two pairs of socks or specially padded tennis socks. To prevent blisters on your hands, dry your racket handle frequently.
4. Focus on technique. When serving or hitting an overhead, do not arch your back unnecessarily. Instead, bend your knees and raise your heels, so your upper body weight is evenly balanced. Avoid landing on the ball of your foot, which could result in an Achilles tendon injury.
In a large majority of cases, tennis injuries can be treated with nonsurgical means including rest, ice packs, over-the-counter pain medication, braces and splints, and physical therapy. The physicians at Fort Lauderdale Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine specialize in the issues that plague tennis players. Feel free to contact us at (954) 400-5544 to schedule a consultation with one of Broward County’s leading orthopedic specialists.