Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
Tennis is a great sport for all ages. The sport is growing here in the US, and it’s becoming popular with all age groups, from high schoolers to seniors. Not only is it a fun activity, but it can help strengthen key muscles groups and joints in your body. That being said, with any physical activity comes the potential for injury. Your spine is no stranger to tennis-related injuries, so we wanted to share some tips for preventing back injuries during tennis.
Stretch and Warm Up
As with any sport, you should always take some time prior to activity to warm up. Stretching helps to transition your muscle groups into an active state, which helps prevent back sprains and strains. 5-10 minutes of stretching before picking up a racket can go a long way to protecting your spine.
Another thing you can do before stepping on the court is to make sure you are properly hydrated. Hydration helps to facilitate healthy muscle movement, which can help prevent back spasms and pulled muscles. Make sure you hydrate before, during and after you hit the tennis court.
Play on Clay
If you’re fortunate enough to live near a few different tennis courts, try to opt for the ones that offer a synthetic clay surface. These courts are often green and are comprised of what’s known as Har-Tru. This synthetic substance has a little more give than hard courts, which will do wonders for your spinal discs and joints. It also leads to less abrupt stops because you can slide a little on the surface, which takes stress off your feet. Do some research to see if there are any Har-Tru courts near you.
Consider a Coach
If you’re picking up the game after a few years, or you’ve never played before, consider taking lessons or finding a coach that can teach you the basic swings and movement across the court. Poor swing form can put undue stress on your spine, and a coach can help show you how to position your body during serves and returns so that your back isn’t overworked. See if your local club offers lessons or instructors.
Wear the Right Shoes
Like most sports, there are shoes that are designed for that particular activity, so don’t just assume that your running shoes will work. Find a tennis shoe that offers you enough cushioning, because this will help take stress off both your feet and your spine. Shoes that offer multi-directional movement can also prevent ankle sprains or fall injuries, so invest in a good pair of shoes before you hit the court.