As you already know, tennis is an individual sport, with success riding on one person only: You. So, you’ll have to go all out in order to win. That will require a good measure of running, and plenty of swinging, placing a great deal of stress on your leg, shoulder, back and forearm muscles, along with corresponding tendons and ligaments.
There aren’t many breaks during a match, so you’ll need to be in top condition in order to keep up with your opponents. But no matter how fit you are, your body will still experience its fair share of achiness and weariness, not to mention the possibilities of injuries—overuse and the sudden onset varieties.
But sports massage, which can be done before or after (or both), is a helpful way to lessen the likelihood of injuries while reducing recovery time by increasing circulation and allowing lactic acid and other metabolic wastes to drain away. Plus, improve muscle tone and flexibility, making the game a fun and healthy outlet for you.
As your leg muscles will get taxed, a sports massage therapist is likely to work on all your leg muscles with focus on your quadriceps, especially the area at the patella, where the muscles, tendons and ligaments all connect.
Because of the consistent, sudden stops, this area will be stressed during a course of match, and will compound exponentially for the hardcore player over the duration of a season, and even for the weekend warrior. Knee tendonitis is a common aliment for tennis players, as is sprained ankles as well.
Since serving is a major aspect of the game, muscles in the upper back and shoulders (trapezius, rotator cuff and rear deltoids) come into play often. This could lead to overuse injuries such as a shoulder impingement and rotator cuff tendonitis and eventual tear if not treated by a medical professional.
Sports massage around the acromioclavicular joint, made up of two bones (the clavicle and the acromion), four ligaments, and a meniscus inside the joint, will help loosen up the area, and may aid in preventing an the said impingement, which could lead to a host of rotator cuff issues. This is because of the increased flexibility and strength of the muscles surrounding the AC joint experience, reducing the stress placed on the tendon and ligaments.
Probably the most common aliment for aces is tennis elbow, more commonly known as lateral epicondylitis, a form of elbow tendonitis in which the tendons on the outer side of the elbow become inflamed, causing pain.
This is usually due to a tight tennis racquet grip and the repeated swing, as the point of contact between the ball and strings cause a violent vibration felt up to the elbow.
A sports massage aides in two ways: the increase in circulation that it provides helps eliminate undesirable metabolites that worsen the inflammation of the elbow, and helps loosen the muscles and tendons around the joint. But the condition will only improve if you give your elbow enough rest in order to fully recuperate. That goes for any nagging, overuse injury.
In the meantime, visit a licensed sports massage therapist for a proper evaluation if injured, or just want to provide relief to your tired muscle and improve your tennis game in the process.
* Special Note — the information above is for reference only. Please consult with a licensed medical professional or licensed massage therapist who specializes in sports massage, for more information.
Written by Jerry Del Priore for Bodono.
Jerry Del Priore has worked as a certified personal trainer, and received his degree in Physical Education from Brooklyn College. Jerry is also a veteran print and digital Sports Writer-Reporter-Author experienced in writing in-depth profile stories on a variety of high school, college and professional athletes and teams. He covers several Brooklyn areas including Canarsie, Bensonhurst, Old Mill Basin, Mill Basin, Bergen Beach, Gravesend, East NY, East Flatbush, Fort Greene, Georgetown, Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach, among other areas in NYC and Long Island. Additionally, Jerry has developed a presentation based on his book, Running Through Roadblocks, that encourages children to overcome obstacles and never give up…no matter what! Specialties: Baseball, football, hockey and basketball writing. Jerry also has covered lacrosse, soccer, golf and track and field, with ample experience cover women’s sports. Food Writer/Blogger experienced in venue write-ups and reviews. In addition, Jerry has ample experience working with medically fragile children, children with behavioral challenges and children with cognitively impairments. Read Jerry Del Prior’s book: Running Through Roadblocks and view his presentation.