Tennis Injuries: How to Recognize and Treat Them

Throwing and swinging sports can be a great way to build up musculoskeletal strength in your shoulders, and maybe more engaging than a routine gym workout. However, excessive high-impact, shoulder-centric athletic activity like tennis can make your shoulder susceptible to overuse injuries.

If you are a tennis player, a coach, or the parent of an athlete, it’s important to be aware of the risks and nature of potential tennis shoulder injuries. It’s particularly important for you to differentiate between the ordinary soreness that comes from healthy exertion and orthopaedic tennis shoulder pain and symptoms that can come with a serious injury.

Symptoms that may indicate serious injury:

● Localized swelling and tenderness in the front of the shoulder
● Pain spanning from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm
● Pain when reaching, lifting, or lowering the arm
● Pain when throwing during athletics
● Stiffness or reduced mobility related to lifting or lowering the arm
● Minor persistent pain during both activity and rest, increasing over time
● Reduced strength, motion, or ability to perform precision tasks

Because these symptoms can be an indication of serious injury, it’s important to consult a physician as soon as possible. Of course, it’s also important to stop the activity that’s aggravating your shoulder and begin treatment if needed. This will increase the likelihood of a complete recovery.

Targeted Treatments

The majority of shoulder injuries that occur due to tennis activity are related to shoulder impingement, rotator cuff tendonitis, shoulder bursitis, or a combination of more than one of these conditions. Injuries, such as sprains and strains, may likely be responsible for the painful symptoms you are experiencing.

Activity Modification
Moderate how often you’re playing tennis – or stop entirely – while dealing with your shoulder injury. If you continue to play as frequently as normal, it will be unable to heal. If you’re dealing with a lot of pain, stop playing altogether. When it starts to feel better, ease back into playing tennis again.

Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Medications (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs are frequently used to control inflammation and reduce pain, and they’re available both over-the-counter and prescription. Nonprescription NSAIDs include ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. In certain cases, doctors will prescribe higher doses to treat pain and swelling.

Physical Therapy
Physical therapy and targeted shoulder injury exercises can treat your shoulder injury for musculoskeletal resilience and strength-building to make you less susceptible to injuries in the future.

Injections
Injecting steroidal medications, including cortisone, into the shoulder reduces inflammation and pain. Cortisone injections are particularly effective for shoulder bursitis.

Surgery
When non-invasive treatments above are no longer effective, an orthopaedic doctor may recommend surgical treatments depending on your specific injury.

If you are already experiencing any of the symptoms of a serious shoulder injury, it’s important for you to visit an orthopaedic physician for guidance. Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may recommend a course of treatment ranging from physical therapy to possible surgery. Working with a specialized practice like DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Decatur, you can take advantage of the expertise of our 10 providers as part of our multidisciplinary musculoskeletal practice.

Since 1972, DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine has been committed to providing exceptional orthopaedic care through innovative techniques, quality services, patient communication and education. With specialties ranging from general orthopaedics and physical therapy to sports medicine, joint replacement and more, the doctors at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine can provide local expert care for any orthopaedic disorder or injury and help put your life back in motion.

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