Almost all regular tennis players - even Rafael Nadal - will eventually get one form of injury or another
A: Below is what my doctors in the past have recommended when I had mild tennis injuries in the past.
Fortunately, I've never had any injuries that lasted more than 2-3 weeks.
I would advise you to seek advice from a medical professional if you experience any lasting pain while playing tennis to make sure it is not something more serious. See our full medical disclaimer.
The most common tennis injury among players is Tennis Elbow. There is a lot of tennis literature out there for causes of tennis elbow.
How do you know if you have it?
Basically, tennis elbow, or tendinitis in your elbow feels like your elbow is having a heart attack. Weird but true. The tendons around the joint are over-exerted and your body is telling you to stop. Typically if you're using improper technique with your swing or possibly adding too much shock to your arm, can lead to tennis elbow and other injuries.
- Keep off the injured arm - how long depends on the person..
- Use a stress ball, the gel kind you squeeze: I prefer the egg-shaped ones (green for medium firmness) from Isokinetics
- Help strengthen the muscle groups around your elbow: your forearm and your biceps/triceps
- Use a Tennis Elbow Strap - this prevents pressure from reaching your sensitive tendon to help relieve the pain entering the elbow area (but does not fix the actual problem)
- I like the ones from Futuro (found at local drug stores), because it has the tendon pad on spreads out the pressure around the elbow
- The Yasco - which has an adjustable design and has great online reviews (from Amazon)
Tennis Groin Strains or Thigh Strains / Pulls
- Immediately ice the effect area, repeat 2-3 times a day, for the first 48 hours
- Keep off the injured leg as much as possible - you may have some difficulty walking the first day or two
- If the strain is mild and you do not see bruising, then you can generally treat this Grade 1 strain with rest and after the acute pain has subsided, do some light stretching.
- I use and would recommend this McDavid Neopene Wrap - the compression wrap will help with keeping the pain away from that area
- Use the wrap whenever you do any physical activity to prevent re-injuring yourself.
- It may become sweaty so be ready to dry it off and then re-secure the wrap.
- Generally after 1-3 weeks, you can gradually get back to playing with the wrap on again.
- Remember that if you feel any pain while running, jumping or serving, then you should stop. Do not rush back into playing until fully healed!
Knee pain, knee strains and joint arthritisFor Knee injuries, you should really see a doctor because this is one of the most vital areas. But for common strains and arthritis:
- You can use a Knee Brace or support
- I recommend one that is breathable with an open patella design if you plan to play with it on
- Make sure your tennis shoes have enough arch support and are using cushioning insoles
- I recommend Thorlo Tennis Socks (Level 3) to get extra support (a bit expensive, but last a long time and to me they are worth every penny)
- Make sure you're at a healthy weight and diet
Did you know?...Every extra pound of body mass puts 4x the pressure on your joints
Wear your brace and/or use support aids properly whenever doing physical activity or playing tennisIt is good to keep these aids later to help prevent future injuries too. If there is inflammation or swelling, you can also take some Aleve or aspirin. After wearing these braces for a few weeks, the injured muscles will have a chance to eventually heal and in my cases, I was back to playing without pain again in a few weeks. If your symptoms do not go away after 3-4 weeks, it may be a sign that you have a more serious injury and you should definitely see your doctor for advice.
Generally surgery is the last resort, but for some athletes it may be the only choice to stay active.