Tennis and golf are terrific summer sports that provide many health benefits. However, like anything that is not done properly, they can easily result in injuries. NEBH orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Zilberfarb, who specializes in sports medicine, has a few tips to help prevent the most common injuries.
- With both tennis and golf it is helpful to take a few minutes to warm up and stretch 5-10 minutes before playing. An exercise bike, jumping jacks or running in place work well. Shoulder and lower leg stretches are important in both sports.
- Knee injuries are common in tennis due to the very high loads placed on the joint with starting and stopping quickly. Strengthening the knee may help, along with playing on soft surfaces such as clay and grass rather than a hard court.
- Ankle sprains can be minimized with strengthening exercises and wearing shoes with good support.
- The tennis serve (right shoulder if right-handed) and golf swing (left shoulder for a right handed player) place a tremendous amount of stress on the shoulder rotator cuff muscles. To help prevent injury it is important to strengthen these muscles using either rubber bands or weights.
- Tennis and golfer’s elbow is often due to overuse and sometimes associated with playing too many days in a row, rapid change in technique, or a new racquet. Stretching and strengthening the elbow can help prevent this injury.
- Lower back strains can occur in tennis from hyperextension during serving and in golf from the high torque during the swing. Core strengthening may help prevent injury.
If you have any type of persistent pain, you should consult an orthopedic expert. For more information, please visit the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website.