Anyone for Tennis? How to avoid sprains and strains

Has Wimbledon inspired you to head to the tennis courts in the hope of becoming the next tennis superstar?

If so, Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group has advice on hand to help you avoid unnecessary injuries this summer.

Tennis is enjoyed by so many people across the globe. It’s a great way to stay active, social and fun to do as a family.

But if you’re competitive or have improper technique and training, it can lead to overuse injuries, such as "tennis elbow" or wrist injuries. The good news is that these injuries can be prevented.

Dr Anita Pereira, who is Basildon and Brentwood CCG's clinical lead for self care said: “Tennis can cause injury to many parts of the body due to the high speed on racquet impact, repetition and use of your spine, legs and arm. It can also contribute to a variety of shoulder, elbow, wrist, knee, ankle, hip and spine injuries.

“But don’t let this put you off. Exercise also has so many health benefits, such as reducing the risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.”

Before you start the game, it’s important to loosen up the muscles in your arms. Do this by beginning your game slowly and allow yourself to gradually tune into the game until you’re completely warmed up.

Then do some gentle stretching exercises, paying particular attention to the muscle groups you’ll be using - so in this case, your shoulders and wrists. A gentle cool-down after exercise will mean less muscle stiffness and soreness afterwards.

 Dr Pereira added: “If you suffer from tennis elbow, stop doing the activity that is causing the pain, or find a way of doing it that does not place stress on your tendons. Avoid using your wrist and elbow more than the rest of your arm and spread the load to the larger muscles of your shoulder and upper arm.

“Coaching advice can improve your technique and may help to avoid tennis elbow in the first place. Using lightweight tools or racquets and enlarging their grip size can help to avoid putting excess strain on your tendons, as well as increase the strength of your forearm muscles.”

Try wearing a tennis elbow splint when you are using your arm and take it off while you are resting or sleeping to help prevent further damage to your tendons.

You can ask your GP or physiotherapist for advice about the best type of brace or splint to use, as well as the exercises that can help to build up strength in your forearm.

NHS 111 is a useful service if you need advice about what do to and where to go. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just dial 111 to be put through to the NHS.

Find more more information about sports injuries and treatment at NHS Choices

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