Tennis and Common Shoulder Injuries

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Avoiding common tennis injuriesTennis can be a great way to exercise and stay fit.  However, constantly swinging a racket back and forth can put a great deal of strain on your body, and cause repetitive-motion injuries.

Although tennis elbow, an inflammation of the muscles and tendons of the forearm, is most commonly associated with playing the sport, there are several shoulder injuries closely associated with tennis.

Let’s take a closer look at 3 tennis-related common shoulder injuries:

  1. Shoulder Instability. Patients living with shoulder instability may experience pain, as well as a limited range of motion in the shoulder joint. This condition commonly occurs as a result of a traumatic or sudden injury that tears the ligaments in the shoulder, or  from overuse that fatigues the muscles and stretches the ligaments. Shoulder instability is generally treated with physical therapy. When physical therapy is not effective, however, surgery may be required.
  2. Rotator Cuff Injuries. The rotator cuff is made up of the muscles and tendons that cover the top of the upper arm. These tendons hold the upper arm in place, and provide it with stability and  range of motion.  These tendons can become inflamed and /or torn due to long periods of overuse with surrounding spurs or  a traumatic injury. These injuries are commonly seen in patients over the age of 40.  Patients with torn rotator cuffs can suffer muscle weakness, and severe pains. Rotator cuff injuries can be treated with anti-inflamatories, and use of  pain relievers, though in some cases, surgery is required.
  3. Labral and SLAP Injuries.The labrum is a ring of cartilage found in your shoulder, which helps keep the shoulder in its socket. A SLAP (an acronym for “Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior”) injury is a common labral injury that occurs where the biceps tendon originates from the shoulder socket. These injuries are commonly caused by  overuse or trauma. Symptoms include pain, instability, and a “popping” noise that indicates the labrum may be torn. SLAP and labral injuries are commonly treated with anti-inflammatory medicines and rehabilitation, but surgery may ultimately be necessary to repair the damage.

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