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At some point in our lives we’ve all scrolled through TV channels during the summer and found ourselves watching elite tennis stars battling it out on centre court at Wimbledon. In recent times rivalries between tennis stars such as Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have ensured that the profile of the sport is as high as ever. What does this mean for participation at grass roots level? Well, park tennis courts are busy (when it’s not raining), and local clubs continue to receive healthy volumes of membership enquiries. More of us are having a go sliding across the baseline trying to get that back hand over the net!

Tennis Physio

Tennis Physiotherapy

Like most dynamic sports, tennis can place a strain on various structures of the human body, which if pushed to excess, leads to injury, irrespective of the level you are playing at.

Niggling injuries and long terms aches don’t have to be a part of your tennis experience. Effective physiotherapy can help to determine the extent of an injury, advise you on rest and methods of recovery and where necessary and identify if further intervention is required in the form of an X-ray or MRI scan.

Common Tennis Injuries

In tennis you are susceptible to particular injuries associated with the fast acceleration and deceleration involved in the game. Changes of direction and extremes of motion at joints like the hip and shoulder can put these structures under high levels of stress.

Although there are a wide variety of potential injuries that can be brought on by playing tennis, lower limb injuries are most common. In the hip, hip flexor strains and in the groin adductor strains are common. Ankle problems can also occur due to the side-to-side movements inherent in the sport, making you more susceptible to sprains caused by rolling over on the ankle.

Examples of elite-level tennis players suffering from such injuries include Andy Murray, who has suffered a long term hip injury and Rafael Nadal who has been plagued by several foot/ankle injuries over several years.

Tennis Injury Prevention

Prevention is always better than cure. To minimise the effects of injury and its recurrence, you need to include effective warm up, strength and conditioning exercises, stretches and mobility drills all as part of your programme. These need to specific to tennis.

Selecting a Tennis Physiotherapist

It is important to find a physio who understands the particular demands that tennis places on the joints of the body.

The physio should not only take into account your most recent injury, but also any previous issues that might be hindering current performance. In this way, the treatment program can be specifically tailored to you.

So when choosing a physiotherapist, try to find out how what experience the physio has and look on the physio’s website to see what method of diagnosis and treatment is used. The best physiotherapy approach is one which doesn’t simply attempt to fix the immediate problem, but identifies underlying weaknesses that need to be addressed in order to prevent the injury returning.

Tennis injury recovery: it’s not just physical

It’s not until you experience an injury that you realise how multifaceted recovery is. It’s not just the physical demands of getting over the acute effects of an injury i.e. swelling, bruising and most of all pain. There is also a mental component which often stops us from getting back as quick as we potentially could.

A good physiotherapist should be capable of addressing both aspects: the physical components that affect your recovery and any emotional ones too. Finding a physio you believe in, one who empathises with your struggle, and one who can provide you with the confidence that you will get back to fitness: these intangibles can be as important in helping you recover as the technical input of the physio. You want to feel that your physio is ‘on your side of the court’, committed to your recovery and to getting you back playing again.

If you choose Full Motion Physio

I have experience working with people who have suffered multiple different types of injuries while playing tennis. This includes ankle sprains, shoulder sprains and hip impingement issues.

My focus is not simply treating and discharging my patients: I aim to provide you with the tools to help self-manage your recovery, giving you a sense of ownership and an understanding of the problem, to help you to get back in action as quickly as possible.

My approach is described in the Full Motion Method page. Extensive research has identified the essential elements for the best physiotherapy. The Full Motion Method covers each of these elements.

One last point: Early diagnosis and intervention minimises the risk of the injury getting worse.


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