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Tennis can be great fun and an excellent way to blow off some steam. When played correctly, tennis can be safe and enjoyable. Play tennis the wrong way, and your joints will be angry with you! Luckily, we have some tips for making your tennis game more joint-friendly!
1. Protect your feet
Tennis courts can be rough on your feet and ankles. Consider wearing high-top sneakers instead of the standard low-tops. This will give your ankles added support and help prevent rolling them. If you’re playing on hard surfaces, shock-absorbing inserts are a must. Take a minute or two to inspect the court before you play to ensure there are no hazards like a cracked surface, debris, or water. Clay courts will be the most forgiving to your feet. Asphalt, synthetic and cement surface courts are harder and could cause shin splints if you’re not careful.
2. Warm up
If you disregard everything else we have to say, heed this one piece of advice: warm up your muscles! Trying to exert yourself before stretching properly is a recipe for muscle strain and injury. To begin, make sure you’re well hydrated before your warm up to avoid cramps. Always wear comfortable, forgiving clothes. Stretch your hamstrings first. Jog or walk briskly for several minutes before playing. Stretch your back and torso to make sure you feel as loose as possible. Include some gentle wrist stretches.
3. Don’t overdo it–practice good technique
- Bend your arm when serving to avoid sending a shock to your elbow. Keeping your arm bent will distribute the force of the swing through your biceps and shoulder.
- Also bend your arm when making a forehand shot. A stiff, straight arm is not good for your technique!
- For backhand swings, leverage your shoulder–don’t try to use your wrist or hand to force the swing.
- Try to minimize pressure on the balls of your feet.
- If you have to move quickly, try to make your movements as smooth as possible. Jerky or rigid moves could lead to a sprained ankle or a fall.
4. Cool down and stretch
When you’re done with the game, you’re not really done. Remember to stretch your muscles after a workout and rehydrate to avoid strain and soreness later. If you’ve had a particularly rigorous session, go home and soak your affected muscles in Epsom salt to relieve some added inflammation. A light yoga routine can also be beneficial to stretch out any tense muscles.
If you’re dealing with chronic pain, conservative measures like these may not solve your neck or back pain associated with injury or a degenerative condition. At Back Pain Centers of America (BPC), we understand how much you value your active lifestyle. That’s why our board-certified physicians are ready to help you get the treatment you deserve. Call us today at 1.844.201.1308 to learn more about our minimally invasive procedures and how we can help you on the road to recovery!