Tag Archives: knee pain

TENNIS ANYONE?

tennis racket and ball

Tennis is one of the more popular sports on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Year round competition at all levels can unfortunately lead to various “overuse” injuries, and some athletes may even sustain acute traumatic injuries which may force them to miss time. An overview of common injuries as well as ways of preventing and treating them may help to keep a tennis player on the court.

Tennis Elbow

Perhaps the most dreaded of all the overuse conditions is “Tennis Elbow,” or lateral epicondylitis. A degenerative process affecting the tendons on the lateral aspect of the elbow, which help to bend the wrist backwards, it is commonly seen in tennis players given that these muscles help resist impact when the racquet strikes the ball. Combined with their importance in gripping the handle, these muscles/tendons are prone to overuse if not properly prepared. Strengthening, a regular warm-up routine, and paying attention to grip size can help minimize the risk of developing the condition. Treatment often includes rest, therapy, braces, medications, and injections. While most cases improve with these conservative measures, occasionally surgery is needed.

Shoulder Injuries

The shoulder, like the elbow, is also predisposed to overuse injuries in tennis players. The serve is a complex motion that not only requires a balance of muscle coordination around the shoulder, but good core and lower extremity flexibility and strength to minimize risk of injury. The rotator cuff muscles can often become fatigued or weak, which can throw off the balance, and irritate surrounding tissues. The tendons and surrounding bursa can become inflamed, which may affect one even off the court. Again, conservative treatment is often all that is needed, not only focusing on the shoulder, but providing a total body program to minimize the stress on the shoulder during strokes. If symptoms persist, then further imaging and possible surgery may be needed, especially if a rotator cuff tear is present.

tennis_injury_map_all

Lower Extremity Injuries

The legs are just as important as one’s arms on the tennis court. Rapid changes of direction, sudden stopping and acceleration, and jumping are often needed during a match. Muscle strains, knee and ankle sprains, and stress injuries can occur during these movements. Strains, such as “pulling” a hamstring or calf muscle, can often be prevented by adequate stretching prior to playing. An awkward step or twisting episode may result in a sprain. Ankle sprains almost always improve with conservative measures, but recurrent sprains may result in continued instability and require surgery. Knee sprain treatment depends on what is injured. While certain ligament and tendon issues around the knee can heal with non-operative treatment, meniscal and ACL tears often need surgery, but this is determined on a patient-to-patient basis.  Quickly increasing the amount of tennis one is playing may predispose them to a stress fracture, either in the lower leg or foot. These require rest and off-loading of the limb, possibly with the assistance of crutches. Lastly, proper footwear is vital to the health of the lower extremities and minimizing the risks of these conditions.

Summary

Understanding the spectrum of conditions that can affect tennis players is often a good first step into learning ways to avoid them. Every patient/athlete is unique and working with them through their condition in a customized approach will best enable them to get back in the game.

Trevor Born, MD  is a Sports Medicine Physician at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates treating upper and lower extremities with non-surgical treatment as well as minimally invasive options. Click HERE for more information.

 

How much do YOU know?

SKELETON THINKING

Try our fun orthopedic quiz …

  1. What is the meaning of the word orthopedic?
  2. How many bones in the adult human body?
  3. In what part of the body are most of our bones located?
  4. What does PRP stand for, and what is it?
  5. Where is the largest bone in the human body?
  6. What is Radiofrequency Ablation?
  7. Where is the smallest bone in the human body?
  8. What is the most commonly broken bone in the adult human body?
  9. How are falls best prevented?
  10. What is the number one cited reason for seeing an orthopedic physician?

answers

How did you do?   Check your answers here:

  1. Orthopedic comes from the Latin “ortho” (meaning free from deformity) and “pais” (meaning child). Early orthopedists would brace children to grow upward, strong, and straight. At SOA we treat children as well as adults.
  2. The human skeleton at birth is composed of 270 bones. By adulthood, some of these have fused together and decrease to 206, reaching maximum density at around age 30.
  3. Hands have the most bones, 27 in each hand. Feet are a close second with 26 in each foot.
  4. PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma. Blood is drawn, then centrifuged to separate the blood from the platelets; it is then injected into the appropriate site. The theory is that a large quantity of platelets might contribute to healing factors.
  5. The femur, or thighbone, is the largest bone in your body.
  6. RFA is a procedure where a specialized needle uses heat at a nerve site to block pain signals to the brain.
  7. The smallest bone is found in the middle ear, called the stapes.
  8. Almost half of adult broken bones are in the arm.
  9. Exercising may reduce injuries and improve balance.
  10. Knee pain was cited as the number reason in the U.S. for visiting an orthopedic physician.

Did you learn something new about orthopedics?  Want more?  Be sure to check all our blogs for information on many of these subjects, or, goto our home page at  www.SOA.md and learn all about us. Our goal is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life!  Call us at 941-951-2663 (BONE)  for an appointment at one of our three locations with one of our thirteen orthopedic physicians.