Common Tennis Injuries

Common Tennis Injuries

Ankle sports specialist Ali Abbasian summarises

Tennis is known for its dynamic movements and places considerable stress on players’ lower extremities, making ankle injuries a common concern. Among the prevalent issues are high and low ankle sprains, calf tears, and Achilles problems.

Low Ankle Sprains

Low ankle sprains, more frequent than high ankle sprains, involve the ligaments surrounding the ankle joint, typically resulting from the inward rolling of the foot. Symptoms include swelling, bruising, and pain during movement. These sprains are often treated with the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), followed by physical therapy to restore strength and flexibility. Proper rehabilitation is crucial to prevent recurrence and ensure a swift return to the court. If instability recurs, surgery can be effective in eliminating long-term problems.

High Ankle Sprains

High ankle sprains affect the syndesmotic ligaments between the tibia and fibula, often occurring from the outward twisting of the foot. This type of sprain can be more debilitating and has a longer recovery. Treatment also involves the RICE method initially but may require a longer period of immobilisation. These demand careful management to ensure full recovery.

Calf Tears

Calf tears occur when the muscles at the back of the lower leg are overstretched or torn, a common consequence of explosive movements in tennis. Depending on severity, recovery can range from a few weeks to several months. Initial treatment includes rest and ice, followed by gradual stretching and strengthening exercises under professional guidance to prevent re-injury. Sometimes, large blood collections can occur, slowing recovery and may respond well to aspiration.

Achilles Problems

The Achilles tendon, connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone, is critical for running. Overuse or sudden increases in activity can lead to Achilles tendinitis or, in severe cases, a rupture. Symptoms of tendinitis include pain and stiffness along the tendon, particularly in the morning. A rupture, often marked by a sudden sharp pain or popping sound, is a serious injury sometimes requiring surgical intervention and extensive rehabilitation. Preventive measures include proper warm-ups, strength training, and avoiding abrupt changes in activity intensity.

Ali Abbasian is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon specialising in Foot and Ankle Surgery.

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