I have a lot of patients who play professional and amateur tennis, and in my personal time, I enjoy playing and watching matches with friends and family. The US Open Tennis Championships are in full swing and athletes from all over the world have come to Flushing Meadows, Queens to participate in one of the sport’s biggest competitions.
Unfortunately, some of the tennis stars have had to withdraw due to injury. Slated to be the No. 3 seed, Maria Sharapova released a statement on her official site on August 21 announcing that she is withdrawing from the US Open due to right shoulder bursitis.
Photo Credit: Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/21/maria-sharapova-withdraws_n_3792767.html
Though Roger Federer is no longer in the match, he was in headlines just a few weeks ago for experiencing continued back problems. Victoria Azarenka has also been tending to knee and ankle injuries as well.
I often see sports-related injuries in my patients; they range in severity. The most common back injuries in tennis are:
- Acute Low Back sprains and strains
- Stress fracture of the lower back (common in younger players)
- Facet impingement
- Herniated disk or degenerative disk disease
Injuries can develop over time or immediately. Most injuries result from:
- Improper technique
- Repetitive stress
- Over exertion
- Inadequate pre-game stretching / conditioning
- Wrong-sized equipment
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends always taking time to warm up and stretch. Cold muscles are more prone to injury, so whether you are a professional or just playing a pick-up game with friends, take some time to warm up your muscles by jogging, doing jumping jacks, or walking and then stretch slowly and gently. It is also important to wear proper apparel, especially tennis shoes with good support.
If you experience soreness after playing tennis, try taking some ibuprofen. If you experience persistent pain along with excessive weakness, numbness or tingling, consult your doctor immediately.
I wish all of the players in the US Open the best of luck for a successful and safe competition!
Photo Credit: Empire Guides, http://empireguides.com/2012/08/the-us-open-tennis-tournament-2012/
US Open Tennis Injuries