The fast-paced and intensely competitive nature of tennis means that injuries are common. Tennis requires quick stopping, pivoting, and sprinting; all of which can lead to injury if performed incorrectly. In addition to immediate injury, over time these movements can lead to wear and tear on the muscles and ligaments of the leg. For this reason, avid tennis players should take the necessary precautions to protect against these common leg and ankle injuries.
Common Tennis Injuries
In layman’s terms, tennis ankle refers to a sprained or twisted ankle. This is the most common type of injury for players of the sport, and typically occurs when an individual lands on the outside of their foot. This causes it to turn inwards in an unnatural way, injuring the lateral ankle ligaments on the inner part of the leg. Ankle sprains are notorious for causing pain, swelling, and even stiffness in the ankle.
Calf muscle strains, also known as tennis leg, are incredibly common for tennis players of all skill levels. This usually occurs when players are sprinting or rapidly changing speed to get the shot or changing direction quickly. The sudden contraction causes the muscle to stretch beyond its limits, resulting in a tear or rupture. Often, when this injury occurs players feel a sudden, sharp pain of burning sensation in their leg. The pain from a muscle strain is usually too severe for players to continue on with the game, and can leave players out of commission anywhere from three to six weeks.
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body, and is imperative for running motions that happen on the court. When this type of injury occurs, players report hearing a “pop” followed by the feeling of someone kicking the back of their leg. With excessive overuse, the Achilles tendon will try to repair itself, causing inflammation and irritation. This causes excessive pain and greatly restricts a player’s activity.
With proper preventative care, tennis players can greatly reduce their risk of incurring these injuries.
Tips for Preventing Tennis Injuries
1. Wear Tennis Shoes
When it comes to footwear, don’t settle for anything less than official tennis shoes. Wearing the right shoes during your match is important because they are designed to give you the extra support needed for playing tennis. Tennis games require large amounts of lateral movements, and tennis shoes are designed with extra cushioning to account for this. If you’re someone who plays a few times a week, replacing them every six months is important in keeping your foot supported.
2. Grab a Pair of Tennis Socks
Partner your tennis shoes with a quality pair of compression socks for injury prevention that goes the extra mile. Graduated compression is great for preventing leg injuries and ankle sprains, and can also greatly improve post-game recovery. Compression socks can be a great tool to strengthen the joint, all while providing much-needed stability during your match. The design of Lasso’s compression socks mimics ankle taping that is used by many tennis players, but unlike traditional taping, doesn’t compromise the strength of your ankle when worn for long periods of time. Our athletic compression socks also improve blood circulation, reducing pain and swelling, allowing you to keep playing for longer.
3. Warm Up with Stretches
Before and after you hit the court, stretching should become part of your routine. Prior to practice, the best way to warm-up is by performing light hitting movements. Essentially, you’ll want to use the proper footwork you would use during your game, but at a significantly lower intensity. The goal is to warm your body up in the same way to it will be playing on the court. After you’ve put your racquet away for the evening and while your muscles are still warm, perform calf stretches for 15-30 seconds for each leg.
4. Take Breaks
It’s true that practice makes perfect, but sometimes rest is necessary for improvement. Overexertion (or stress injuries) is a leading cause of ankle and leg injuries in tennis players, so resting is crucial to your game. Additionally, players should avoid rapidly increasing intensity all at once, but should rather slowly increase this each practice to prevent muscle strain.
Before you hit the court next, keep these tips in mind to greatly reduce your risk of injury. Practice your stretches, give your body a break, get the right shoes, and never underestimate the power of a good pair of athletic compression socks.
Keep your ankles strong and stable with Lasso’s Tennis Performance Compression Socks! The only tennis socks with built-in ankle and arch support.