How To Prevent Tennis Shoulder Injuries


STARNBERG, October 29, 2020 (Guest post)

Tennis is such an awesome way to get fit and have fun… But the repetitive movements required to swing a racket can, unfortunately, cause pain, particularly in the wrists, elbows, and shoulders.

To avoid injuries when playing tennis, it’s imperative that you stretch correctly and mix up your fitness regime with low-impact workouts and strength training, complementing the motions and muscles required.

What are tennis shoulder injuries? 

The shoulder is an incredibly complex joint offering a wide range of motion while remaining stable as you move, which can get hurt when put under pressure. The tendons in the shoulder can often cause shoulder pain, as these can get trapped with unusual movements or swell under pressure.

Many tennis players also experience injuries to the rotator cuff caused by repetitive, highly-demanding movements such as an overhead serve.

Can I experience shoulder injuries if I don’t play tennis?

Although referred to as “tennis shoulder,” there are numerous ways to incur a rotator cuff or shoulder injury. These can include lifting something too heavy, shoulder arthritis, or even simple wear and tear caused by age (rotator cuff injuries are more frequent among those over 40, even if they don’t play sports!).

That said, the repetitive motions required by tennis or similar sports (baseball, rowing, weightlifting, and even swimming, to name a few) is one of the most frequent causes of shoulder injuries. Therefore, making the proper preparations to minimize your risk of injury is essential for a pain-free game and life.

How can I improve my tennis game without sustaining injury?

Simple warm-up and cool-down exercises can work wonders in expanding your shoulder rotation, and mixing up routines to include strength training is essential to building up the muscles required for a great game of tennis.

You should also be sure to get the right tennis racket for your needs – speak to your trainer or a tennis / physical health professional to check the weight balance and size that’s just right for your abilities. You can also use them to help you get the perfect stance and grip that improves your game and minimizes pain.

During the current Covid-19 pandemic, superstar Roger Federer is offering free online tennis lessons and feedback on your form, so if you’re interested in learning from the experts, there’s been no better time to do so!

What stretches are best for preventing shoulder injuries?

The best way to prevent tennis shoulder injuries is by stretching thoroughly both on and off the courts. Any stretches designed to expand the shoulder and/or elbow’s rotation capacity are brilliant for budding tennis players. You should also be sure to fully stretch out the legs, hips, chest, back, and wrists to ensure you’re as limber as possible.

For an even better pre-or-post-match stretch, you could consider adding some resistance bands (like these from Resistance bands are perfect for training various muscle

groups and can help you build strength in the places you need it most.

How can I mix up my physical workouts to help prevent shoulder injuries? 

To avoid shoulder injuries from playing sports, it’s also a great idea to vary your fitness regime to include workouts that strengthen, stretch, and tone all muscle groups.

Any sort of strength, weight, or resistance training makes a fantastic addition to any tennis player’s exercise routine.

You’ll probably also notice many of the best tennis stretches are based on yoga poses, so enrolling in a yoga class could be the perfect way to keep yourself fit and strong! Yoga with Adriane has a brilliant selection of free yoga tutorials, including a variety for the back and shoulder, that are perfect for keeping you in shape all year round.

What should I do if I’ve already incurred a shoulder injury from playing tennis?

If you’re reading this article post-injury, then don’t stress out. Although prevention is always better than cure, most shoulder and rotator cuff injuries can be treated with the RICE method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

Although you certainly shouldn’t continue playing tennis until the pain goes away, by working on the exercises and stretches provided by your physical therapist, it shouldn’t be too long before you can return to the courts.

Be sure to speak to your coach, doctor, or orthopedic physician if you experience any shoulder pain following a game of tennis, and follow our top tips on how to prevent tennis shoulder injuries so you can enjoy your best game ever.