Pain from racket sports ruining your game?

You'll know that racket (sometimes known as racquet) sports such as tennis, badminton and squash are demanding games that can be hard on the body. Those quick lunges to return the ball or shuttlecock to the opponent can result in strains and pains that are an unwanted nuisance, threatening your performance and your enjoyment of the game. 

Let's take a look at the most common injuries we see from racket sports and an idea into how we begin to treat them. It's always important to note that this information should be used in conjunction with, rather than in replacement of, a full assessment of your individual case to make sure you're getting the most appropriate advice.

Tennis Elbow

Possibly one of the most frequent injuries from a variety of sports, this painful condition is due to an irritation of the tendon that attaches into the side of the elbow. Pain often comes on slowly initially, often after activity, but can increase in severity as time progresses. It can cause havoc with your daily activities such as pouring a kettle and opening a door.

Treatment itself should never solely focus on the elbow. It has to also look at surrounding joints in the body, including the shoulder and neck, to make sure there is no instability contributing to the strain on your elbow. A great example of this is making sure an exercise rehabilitation plan to help the elbow includes strength for your backside muscles (gluteals) as they provide a large amount of power for serving at the start of a volley.

Back Pain and Injury

Back injuries can destroy any sports players game, regardless of whether you play for fun or are a professional athlete. Muscle strains and ligament sprains are most common, but also facet joint injuries and disc problems such as prolapses can occur, trapping nerves and causing significant pain. Spinal injuries can be extremely serious and it's vital to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan to help you get back to full fitness.

Treatment depends on the nature of the injury, but often includes rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the deep core muscles, and also to work on flexibility and stability of the spine and pelvis.

Ankle Injuries

Ankle injuries are particularly prevalent when people play on slippery surfaces, such as grass courts. The risk of ankle injuries, which can include ligament sprains, ankle impingement syndrome, tendonitis and even fractures, can be reduced by properly training the muscles in the leg that provide stability and ensuring that there is no movement restriction in the joints of the leg and foot. 

Treatment ensures that the joints are working with a good range of motion, and as well as helping to tackle pain from injury, help to train stability and proprioceptive feedback to the brain. Proprioception is an amazing positional sense that helps us to know where our body is in space without the need to look at it. When we walk on rough ground, we don't watch how we place each foot on the floor before we stand on it, our proprioceptive sense does it for us!

Shoulder Pain and Injury

Shoulder injuries can be extremely debilitating, and many people suffer quietly with shoulder pain and injuries thinking that not much can be done to help them, but it couldn't be further from the truth.The majority of shoulder injuries are caused by some kind of trauma to the tendons of the surrounding muscles; either to the rotator cuff (a group of 4 muscles that attach into the shoulder) or by pinching on the tendon as in impingement syndrome.

The key to treating shoulders is to ensure the joint works efficiently through many different ranges of motion, as well as looking at the surrounding joints such as the shoulder blades and upper back. It may sound simple, but if you want to play a sport such as tennis and use an overhead swing, you can't just work your shoulder muscles with your arm by your side!

Whatever your injury, it's important to get your pain fully assessed and treated by a properly qualified practitioner to get you back on the road to playing your favourite sport again, quickly and efficiently. Why not book in online today and let us help you?

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