Physical Therapy Information for Tennis Players

Physical therapy information is vital for all tennis players—for a current injury or for prevention. This information is shared from my personal experience in the university “training rooms” and on the tennis tour. I’m not a medical professional or licensed therapist, so please seek medical advice for conditions requiring medical attention.

The first time I remember back pain was during a growth spurt when I was 17. I woke up one morning, and my back was really tight. My internist prescribed aspirin and a heating pad, which didn’t help. Someone else suggested getting a new mattress, which helped my muscles, ligaments, and joints adjust during my growth spurt.

When I got to college I developed my first overuse injury. The patellar tendon got irritated and after several weeks, I went to the training room for treatment. They did the usual pulling/prodding and iced it for twenty minutes. After a few days of ice therapy (one or two times a day), they suggested heat and exercise (straight leg raises).

The exercises just tightened up the joint and the pain got worse with the heat. It became chronic, and I had this for nine years (four years in college and five years on the tour). The orthopedic doctor discovered a calcium deposit developing on the kneecap. He suggested he could scrape the calcium growth off the bone, but it may not help.

I appreciated his honest assessment and decided to continue my own exercise routine. This included stretching, strengthening the quadriceps through movement and weight training, and track work. It managed my pain well, and my knee got completely well when I stopped playing on the tour. I haven’t had any trouble with it since. Thankfully, I never had any other major prolonged injuries.

I currently do sports injury prevention alternative to yoga exercises, strength training, and cardio cross training. This along with my healthy athlete nutrition keeps me injury free. Even if I step wrong, my ankles, knees, and hips are normally strong and flexible enough to flow with the misstep before any trauma occurs. If I have an accident like banging my knee against the net post, here is the key to a quick recovery…

Get ice on the injury immediately, and keep it on the skin with a thin cloth or paper towel between the ice and skin for fifteen minutes max—more time could have an adverse affect. Ice every two hours at least three times the first day. My injuries are usually gone by the second day. If I wait a day before icing, the injury may hang around longer.

If I don’t ice for a week then I’m risking chronic soreness for years. I hardly ever use heat unless I’m in the shower and want to just relax the muscles. Remember, with sports injuries, there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution, so seek medical advice.

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