Many tennis players not only enjoy the game, but are looking for a little exercise without joint stress. Surprisingly, tennis can be tough on your joints.
Follow these five tips from Noah Shaftel, MD, The Christ Hospital Physicians – Orthopedics & Sports Medicine to improve your tennis game and protect your joints:
1. Warm up. Most people jump straight into a game of tennis without warming up. Cold muscles and tendons mean increased joint pain and decreased flexibility. Warming up will allow you a greater range of motion and less pain on the court.
2. Posture. Correct posture will protect the joints, especially the neck, back, hips and knees. Poor alignment means additional stress on the joints trying to keep you in line. Imagine that a string is pulling you from the top of your head. Draw in your pelvis so that the stomach muscles are not relaxed and stretched too much, and pull the shoulder blades back. Correct posture should help you avoid pain that can be troublesome for your game of tennis.
3. Extend it. Tense muscles will reduce your range of motion and may cause increased inflammation. Do a light warm-up then stretch your muscles. This should help increase your range of motion and prevent further joint pain.
4. Pilates and yoga. These low impact workouts will increase your flexibility and stability around the joints. The Arthritis Foundation found that just two yoga classes reduced pain and swelling in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Preventing pain before you get to the tennis court means you can focus on your game rather than those aching joints.
5. Relax your run. Good tennis players have consistent, easy swings and don’t always aim for an ace. A relaxed and constant groundstroke will be easier on your muscles and joints and give you better control over your strokes.
For more information on common services at Christ Hospital, visit TheChristHospital.com/Ortho.