Tennis is an excellent sport to learn, play, and get serious about. However, just like any other physical activity, it puts you at risk of many injuries. It’s a stop-and-go racket sport that’s played on a variety of surfaces, and requires high impact swings and sudden bursts of speed (forward, backward, and lateral). There’s also the medical condition, lateral epicondylitis, or what WebMD simply calls, “tennis elbow.”
Based on a study on the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health’s website, men have a slightly higher injury rate (2.7 injuries per 1000 hours of playing) than women (1.1 injuries per 1000 hours of playing). Hospital admission for tennis injuries is at a rate of 33 out of 100,000 players. Thankfully, a bulk of these injuries don’t require hospitalization.
Despite the widespread occurrence of the aforementioned “tennis elbow,” lower limb injuries are still the most common in tennis. The former is triggered by wear and tear, while the latter is caused by the constant sprinting and stopping, as well as pivoting and hitting nature of the sport. It ranges from something as minor as an ankle sprain, to something as significant as a torn ACL. A couple examples of these contrasting injuries happened to Coco Vandeweghe and Mary Pierce.
Two weeks prior to her Olympic debut in 2016, Coco Vandeweghe sprained her ankle in a Bank of the West Classic quarterfinal match against Alison Riske. The recent Australian Open semi-finalist, who, according to Play Your Court, is one of the five ‘Rising Tennis Stars to Watch in 2017’, still managed to compete in Rio. As luck would have it, the severity of the injury wasn’t half as bad as what happened to former women’s tour player, Mary Pierce.
In 2005, Mary Pierce was enjoying reaching the height of her tennis career after making it to the Grand Slam singles finals of the French Open and the US Open. However, fate had other plans for the French-American player, as she tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) the following year in a match (she was winning) versus Vera Zvonareva. The knee injury was a freak accident, really; it didn’t look bad until the audience – both at the venue and those in front of the TV – heard her piercing shriek. Today, Mary Pierce coaches tennis in Mauritius, and is a match commentator on a French TV and radio station.
Whether in individual sports such as tennis, or team games like football and basketball, overall, injuries will always be part of any physical endeavor. This is why it’s important to have and wear the proper equipment from shoes and socks, to compression garments and supports. Also, preparation is key. Other than skills training and strength and conditioning exercises, you have to warm up, stretch, and cool down. Though it doesn’t necessarily stop the inevitable, these practices help lessen the risk factors of injuries. For more injury prevention, exercise, and many other tips, be sure to visit my Youtube channel and blog on Caroline Jordan Fitness.
Stay healthy and fit my friends! Here’s to you and a life of enjoying the sports you love.