The Risks Of Shoulder Injuries In Tennis. US Open 2014

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Being one of the most attractive sports worldwide today, tennis is the choice of many people for an afternoon relaxation and fun.

“Tennis is one of my favorite sports, and with the 2014 US Open coming up shortly, everyone’s talking about sports injuries and even arthroscopic shoulder surgery, as a result of Maria Sharapova’s recent shoulder issue that was originally misdiagnosed and ended up requiring another surgery, in addition to the one she had 6 years ago to repair her rotator cuff.” – Dr. Armin Tehrany.

Inspired by the fast and energetic movements of the world’s top tennis players like Djokovic, Nadal, Sharapova and Federer, people often forget that even though tennis is a great sport, it can affect both recreational or professional players with some serious shoulder injuries.

shoulder injuries

According to many studies, around 54 injuries in 1000 tennis matches, occur in the professional tennis world. The numbers for recreational players are even higher, due to their lack of knowledge and understanding about sports and tennis injuries.

According to Dr. Armin Tehrany, a leading New York orthopedic surgeon and founder of Manhattan Orthopedic Care, the risk of shoulder injuries while playing tennis can be largely reduced. The most effective method for this is for people to understand common shoulder injuries and play with a strategy to avoid them.

Why shoulder injuries are the most common tennis injuries?

The repetitive nature of motions in tennis places serious stress over our body and can especially lead to shoulder injuries. The muscles that are around and in the shoulder are very small and being exposed to hard and strong repetitive moves makes them vulnerable and prone to tennis injuries.

“The wide range of shoulder motions requires great stability, which in tennis, when the shoulder is under great amount of stress, the shoulder ligaments can’t provide. This is where the risk occurs. If there isn’t enough stability, the shoulder movements are incorrect. With a repetition of incorrect movements we could be facing serious shoulder injuries.” says Dr. Armin Tehrany.

Shoulder pain – the most common shoulder injury in tennis

Shoulder pain is the shoulder injury that occurs in a great number of tennis players. It is a result of repetitive stressful motions during tennis strokes, especially during serves.

The sources of shoulder pain are different. In most cases the source of shoulder pain is the inflammation of a sac of fluid called bursa. In medical terms this condition is called Shoulder Bursitis, a condition typically caused by excessive use of the shoulder and when the arm is raised the pain gets stronger.

There are various treatment options for shoulder pain. First is resting the shoulder, taking anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections and physical therapy.

In some cases the pain can be only relieved with arthroscopic shoulder surgery.

“Ever since 1970 the orthopedic world has enjoyed the benefits of arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Shoulder arthroscopy has made the process of diagnosis, treatment and recovery from shoulder surgery simpler, smoother and faster than we ever thought it could be. As the technology advances, the shoulder arthroscopy improves in so many ways and now it has become the most suitable solution for many shoulder conditions, from the most complex to the simplest.” says Dr. Tehrany.

Tips & tricks on how to prevent shoulder injuries

Playing tennis can be super effective workout for our body. It’s a no-brainer that the benefits are much stronger if we are aware of the potential risks that come from it, so we can avoid any tennis injury.

According to Dr. Tehrany the first rule for avoiding shoulder injuries for tennis players is strengthening the external rotators. This reduces the risk of shoulder pain enormously and prevents shoulder impingement.

Shoulder Injuries

The following tips, approved by Dr. Tehrany, are essential for all recreational tennis players to maintain a good shoulder health.

Always be very well prepared for a tennis match. This means we should always warm up our body and shoulders, stretch well before the match, and cool down our muscles and shoulders right afterwards.

Good physical shape is important. Avoiding any athletic injury is closely related to maintaining an adequate fitness level. Every sport requires specific exercises for gaining condition. A tennis player should consider an additional routine that will include exercises specific to the physical demands of tennis.

Seek instructions from a qualified coach. This person knows the correct techniques, skills and movements we should be doing. So, having someone to tell us what are the DOs and DON’Ts in tennis, is of a tremendous help.

Over-repetition of any type of shot is not what a shoulder needs. There are a lot of different motions and strokes that can help us win the match. Practicing them is good prevention from any kind of shoulder injury.

Slowing down. Doing any repetitive motion fast without control, increases the chances of getting injured. If we try to slow down, we will have controlled moves, stability and strength in the shoulder which ultimately leads to a decrease in risk of injury in our shoulders.

Even if you feel like you have the most energetic shoulder movements, be careful. The tips mentioned above are a great way to avoid not only a tennis shoulder injury, but any sports injury. They will also help you build strong shoulders that can stand up all difficult and complex positions you put your shoulders in.