Avoid the injuries that come with the Wimbledon bug

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It’s Wimbledon again, and the tendency is, after an hour or three horizontal on the couch watching Murray, Williams et al, people start to feel the need to dust down their old Stan Smith trainers, dig out the old racquet and venture onto the tennis court again.

A few wayward serves later, the odd volley and maybe even a backhand winner – but then come the injuries, the wrist, the ankle, the knee and the back all start to feel the effect of unaccustomed activity. And often, sadly, that’s where we come in – treating the non-sporty for sporting injuries as enthusiasm got the better of wisdom.

While tennis is a great way to get fit and can help boost speed, power, endurance, strength, and balance, it doesn’t come without some risk to your well-being. The risk of serious injury is relatively low, but nagging injuries can be debilitating, making normal tasks unnecessarily painful.

So, while it’s always nice to see you, we’d prefer you took some precautions and made yourself aware of the best ways to avoid injury:

  • Warm up and warm down. It hugely decreases the likelihood of muscular injuries. And you’ll play better too.

  • Improve your technique – if you’re serving correctly and getting the stroke action right, you can help avoid injury – especially to the elbow and wrist. An incorrect swinging action can be caused by the player relying only on the arm to hit the ball, rather than the body’s full strength. The greatest amount of power in tennis can be generated through correct timing of the ball, combined with strength and coordinated rotation of the legs, hips and trunk.

  • Don’t overdo it – those who only play twice a year are at the risk of over-exertion – one of the most common causes of injury in tennis. Your body needs rest and recovery between training and matches. If you don’t allow your body sufficient time to rest and recover, you may not receive the total benefits of your game. You’ll also have an increased risk of overuse injury.

  • Look after previous injuries – don’t come back too soon, and make sure any old problems are looked after. Don’t re-open old wounds, as it were.

If you’re wondering if you’re ready, then the chances are you aren’t, but it might be wise to:

  • Come and see us for an osteopathic check-up. We can see if the mechanics of your body are up to it, whether old problems are healed and whether hard physical activity is a good idea.

  • Take lessons from a qualified coach – improving your skills will help avoid injury.

  • Build up slowly – take it easier at first. Don’t go mad with enthusiasm the first time, because you’ll certainly feel it afterwards.

  • Remain hydrated. That’s essential for all sport, but especially summer activities, in the heat.

  • Make sure your equipment is good – your trainers will offer the right support, your racquet, and the tension in the strings, is right, and that the courts you play on are dry and with an even surface so that you don’t slip or turn your ankle.

Get all that right and you should avoid the osteopath’s table, but if enthusiasm and excitement outstrip technique and fitness and you end up with back, joint and other problems, then we’re ready for you

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