Although tennis is not as high-impact as other sports like football, hockey, and basketball, it still puts you at risk of certain types of injury. Here are some of them:
- Rotator cuff tears – Your rotator cuff is made up of four muscles and various tendons that work together for mobility and stability. Overuse or an acute injury can cause it to tear gradually. The symptoms of a tear include tenderness, weakness, and pain in the shoulder, cracking and snapping noises when you move your shoulder, and difficulty in lifting your arm.
- Tennis elbow – Medically known as ‘lateral epicondylitis,’ tennis elbow is the inflammation of tendons joining your forearm muscles to the outside of your elbow. It is similar to a golfer’s elbow, except that it occurs on the outside of your elbow instead of the inside. The condition occurs because of overuse, and it is common in people who play racket sports like tennis. The symptoms include weak grip strength and burning or pain outside the elbow, and these may worsen as you use your forearm.
- Jumper’s knee – Jumping can put too much strain on the patellar tendon, which attaches your kneecap to the shinbone and helps in the movement of your leg. The tendon supports your weight when jumping and walking, too. Microscopic injuries and tears can occur as a result of repetitive jumping, resulting in swelling and pain, which may intensify as you use the stairs, jump, or kneel.
- Sprains – With all the sudden sideways movements, tennis players often sprain or damage their ankles, resulting in swelling, stiffness, and pain. Some bruising may occur, too. You may not be able to play for a while as long as the ankle is unstable.
- Stress fractures – Tennis requires you to hyperextend your back, which means bending, side-bending, and rotating your trunk, resulting in stress fractures. The actions can put stress on your lower back and may lead to spondylolisthesis, a condition in which your vertebra moves forward.