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Sports Medicine Physician Discusses Tennis Injuries

April 20, 2007 02:43 PM

by Mary Helen Yarborough

Injuries changed the tone of the 2007 Family Circle Cup before the first serve was even made.
Several matches were shortened. Four of the world’s top women competitors withdrew from the tournament due to injury. David Geier, M.D., director of the MUSC Sports Medicine Center, served as the official physician for the event on Daniel Island. His thoughts about tennis injuries:

Do different court surfaces relate to different injuries?

Little data exist on the incidence of specific injuries on different surfaces in professional tennis. Many lower extremity injuries, such as shin splints, are thought to be more common on hard courts. Players often complain of injuries after an abrupt transition from one surface to another, such as a long stretch of hard court tournaments before an immediate switch to clay courts.

Are women more prone to sustain injuries?

Women are not more likely to suffer injuries, but they are probably more likely to suffer a different set of injuries. [Women] are more likely to suffer injuries to their feet, legs, and calves, while males generally have more difficulties with abdominal, back, and groin problems. In all sports, especially at the recreational level, females have more overuse injuries due to lower levels of physical conditioning and higher rates of shoulder and elbow injuries due to less upper extremity strength. At the elite level of tennis, these strength and conditioning differences are negligible.

What was the most common injury seen in the Family Circle Cup?

No single injury was predominant; in fact, the spectrum of injuries included many upper extremity problems, such as wrist injuries. Many issues involved exacerbations of chronic injuries, which is common at professional levels of most sports when athletes continue to compete despite ongoing aches and pains.

What injuries are more likely to occur with age?

Younger players are more likely to suffer overuse injuries, especially to their lower extremities, possibly due to less flexibility and weakness in certain muscle groups. Older athletes, especially at the recreational level, can suffer overuse injuries of the shoulder and elbow, such as rotator cuff injuries and tennis elbow, and injuries to the back and trunk. These players may be placing excessive demands on these areas without adequate rest and placing themselves at risk for these overuse injuries. Maintenance stretching and strengthening exercises and ample periods of rest are important at all levels and ages.

For more information, visit http://www.muschealth.com/sports.

The MUSC Special Report is provided by the Office of Public Relations and or The Catalyst as a service to news organizations wishing to enhance news content via the web, publication, and broadcast. For any questions concerning content, sources or data, please contact the Office of Public Relations at (843)792-3621




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