Tennis is one of the sports where knee injury risk is higher. They can be either random occurrences, from falls for example, or from excessive strain on the knee.
Injuries from overuse can be minimized or prevented by using some simple techniques.
This includes appropriate equipment and seeking medical attention when necessary.
This article will look further into;
- Common tennis knee injuries
- Prevention methods
- Tennis knee injury treatment
If you already have a knee injury, consider using a tennis knee brace.
Common Tennis Knee Injuries
The most common knee pain in tennis players is found at the anterior (front) of the knee.
There are many possible causes, such as chondromalacia, the softening of the cartilage in the patella, or tendonitis.
Regular tennis players are much more likely to incur these injuries than casual players, but they can occur in anyone.
It is related to the action of springing up from the hard surface to serve.
Treatment for undiagnosed knee pain usually involves rest and the RICE method.
Some people also opt for anti-inflammatory medications for fast relief.
You can help avoid these injuries using knee strengthening exercises.
Calf and Achilles tendon injuries
These injures can be sustained due to the tight calf muscle-Achilles tendon unit.
This tendon crosses the knee and the ankle.
You will know if your muscle-tendon complex is tight if you cannot raise the ball of your foot higher than the heel of the foot with your leg extended.
These tendon injuries can occur in tennis when you push off your foot while your leg is fully extended.
Achilles tendinitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon as a result of overuse.
To treat this particular injury you should reduce your playing time, take anti-inflammatories, and use heel lifts in your shoes.
You can also make sure to regularly stretch the calf muscles with your leg straight.
A ruptured Achilles tendon is a much more severe case.
It will cause a snap in the lower leg and although is not particularly painful, it can make you feel as if the injury is not as severe as it actually is.
Tennis leg, a tear in the calf muscle on the inside of the leg, feels as if you have been shot in the leg with a pellet gun.
It can be very uncomfortable and it is important to stop playing altogether.
It should be treated with the RICE method and will take many weeks to fully heal.
One of the most common knee injuries is patellar tendonitis or Jumper’s knee. This occurs from repetitive strain and overuse of the knee joint.
It affects the patellar tendon, attaching the kneecap to the tibia.
The explosive movements in the sport can cause the micro-tears and degeneration to the tendon which causes this specific injury.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most common injuries in tennis?
There are many injuries that can occur during tennis and not all centers around the knee. The most common are outlined below.
- Tennis Elbow
- Rotating cuff tendinitis (shoulder blade)
- Wrist Strains
- Back pain
- Knee pain
- Calf & Achilles tendon
- Tennis toe
Is tennis hard on knees?
The name ‘Jumper’s Knee’ came from the injury common in basketball players.
It was often related to the repetitive strain from jumping off the hard surface of the courts.
If you are a casual tennis player you are most likely using similarly hard surfaces.
This increases the chance of Jumper’s knee or other knee injuries occurring.
Why do my knees hurt after playing tennis?
Tennis, as mentioned above, can be hard on the joints. It causes repetitive strain and pressure on the joints through the movements involved.
Injuries such as Jumper’s Knee is quite common among players, both recreational and professional.
If you experience regular pain in the knees immediately after playing tennis then you may wish to consult with your doctor.
This will help to pinpoint the cause and best treatment for your knee injury.
How do you treat tennis injuries?
The best way to heal as with most sporting injuries is to take time off.
Two to three months of rest should fully heal mos knee injuries.
In this time you can also begin rehabilitation and knee strengthening exercise programs to prevent future injuries too.
Eccentric strengthening has been shown to be much more effective than other programs.
Eccentric strengthening involves strengthening the muscle as the muscle and tendons are lengthening or being stretched.
Injections of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can also stimulate tendon healing.
This is of course conducted by your doctor.
If all else fails, a tendon excision may be necessary. this involves removing the frayed tendon to begin the healing process.