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Life in Motion

Protecting Your Shoulder this Tennis Season

Sports & Exercise

Tennis is a great recreational activity that offers a number of health benefits, including improved coordination, muscle development and cardiovascular health. Although tennis is a year round activity, with warmer weather and summer upon us it is a perfect opportunity to get outside and play. This past June and July brought out the best players in the world at the Wimbledon championship, and watching them may have inspired you to hit the court.

In tennis, as in many sports, the repetitive motions and force on the shoulder and elbow can greatly increase risk for injury. Dr. Andrew Jawa, an orthopedic surgeon at NEBH who specializes in the shoulder, hand and wrist, offers three tips on how to protect yourself while playing tennis.

Conditioning

One common cause of tennis injuries is poor conditioning. Before hitting the court it is important to engage in a proper conditioning program that focuses on endurance, flexibility, strength training and core strengthening. In addition, it is important to stretch properly before and after playing to maintain flexibility.

Strengthening exercises, keep your shoulder strong

One cause of shoulder injuries is a weak rotator cuff muscle. The rotator cuff helps to position the shoulder in the shoulder socket. When weak or tired the tissues in the ball and socket can become irritated or inflamed, and pain can be felt during serving or other overhead motions. To help prevent this, try strengthening exercises for your upper body.

Focus on Technique

Over time poor technique can lead to injuries causing insufficient shoulder endurance and muscle strength. Players may get in the habit of using poor technique to compensate for tired muscles, leading to pain or overuse injuries in the shoulder. To prevent injury it is important to use the correct stroke and serving action. A player should use their body’s full strength and not just rely on the arm and shoulder to hit the ball. It is important to keep your body weight balanced combined with strength and coordination of the legs. In addition having good cardiovascular endurance will allow you to appropriately hit the ball while using your body and the proper technique while playing.

Tennis is a great activity to play and you can have fun while doing it. Keep aware of these tips and soon you could find yourself in full swing. 

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