Beyond Tennis Elbow: Other Common Injuries In Tennis Players

What injuries are common in tennis players? Almost everyone is familiar with tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, which is certainly common in tennis players. But there are a few other sports injuries that tennis players should watch out for, too.

Torn Rotator Cuffs

The rotator cuff is the system of muscles and tendons that hold the shoulder in place. These tissues are under a lot of stress when a tennis player swings again and again. Usually, a player's rotator cuff will experience mild to moderate soreness that the player is able to play through at first, but then, the cuff will tears, leading to more serious pain and a weak feeling in the shoulder. Some tears may heal with a few months of rest, cortisone injections, and NSAIDS, but more serious tears often need to be surgically repaired. To prevent rotator cuff injuries, tennis players should ice their shoulders and take time off at the first sign of shoulder soreness.

Achilles Tendinitis

Tennis involves a lot of jumping and quick dodging from side to side. Over time, this can put strain on the Achilles tendon, which is the large tendon that runs down the back of the ankle. Achilles tendinitis is not always serious. At its early stages, it just causes soreness and a little inflammation, which should ease up as the player ices their leg and takes it easy for a while. If a player works through Achilles tendinitis, though, the tendon could eventually tear. This is a much more serious injury that usually requires surgery to treat. Even after surgery, a player who has had a torn Achilles is prone to additional tears in the future.

Jumper's Knee

This condition is more formally known as patellar tendonitis, and it is an inflammation of the tendons that connect the patella to the knee joint. It can occur in any athlete that does a lot of jumping. The first symptom is usually pain behind the knee cap. Stretching and icing the knee can often keep the condition from progressing. If a player does not rest the knee after the early stages, though, the knee may start to become stiff and less mobile. Most cases can be resolved with physical therapy and cortisone injections; surgery is rarely required.

Although tennis elbow may be one of the most common conditions in tennis players, it is not the only one. Keep an eye out for these conditions, and contact a sports medicine doctor if you think you may have one of them. Contact a sports medicine service for more information.