As Wimbledon is upon us again, I thought that this week I would talk about three common injuries relating to playing tennis that may come up in a Personal Injury claim.
Common Injury 1: Tennis elbow
One of the most common injuries is tennis elbow (medical name lateral epicondylitis), which is caused by using the tendons and muscles around your elbow joint too much. This overuse can result in inflammation of the tendon in the outer side of your elbow (medical term extensor carpi radialis brevis).
Symptoms of tennis elbow include sharp pains in the elbow joint and not being able to fully move your wrist. The pain can become more intense if you move your hand backwards or straighten your fingers.
If you get this injury, make sure you rest your elbow to allow it time to heal. Ice or a cold compress may also help to ease the pain.
Using supports when training and properly warming up before exercising may help to mitigate the risk of getting tennis elbow.
Common Injury 2: Sprained ankle
Many tennis players can also sprain their ankle. Sprains range from mild to severe. Falling, walking and running on uneven ground can cause this injury, as can changing direction quickly. When you play tennis, you regularly have to change direction quickly to return the ball. This makes it one of the most common injuries, as you can ‘go over’ your ankle whilst doing this, which can apply lots of pressure to your ligaments.
You can get swelling or pain in your ankle. It can also become bruised but this will usually take a day or so to appear. The ankle joint may make a clicking or popping sound.
If you get a minor sprain, it will heal if you strap the ankle, rest it often, and use ice, inflammatory medication and pain relief. The ankle may take up to six weeks to heal – however, in most cases, it takes less time than this.
Severe sprains will need to be rested for a longer period of time to allow the ligaments to heal fully; connective tissue heals much slower than bone so this may take several weeks. You may have to use a cast or a supportive brace to support the ankle. In extreme cases, using crutches may also be a good idea to prevent the ankle from bearing weight. Physiotherapy could be used to steadily increase strength in the joint and improve movement.
This is hard to prevent, as the very nature of tennis requires you to change direction quickly. Try to avoid playing on an uneven surface, and warm up and cool down to prevent injury.
Common Injury 3: Metatarsal stress fractures
A metatarsal stress fracture is caused when you crack one of the metatarsal bones in your foot. (There are five metatarsal bones in each foot, which are between the hind of your foot and your toes). These fractures can be caused by playing tennis or by a sudden change to your training.
Pain over the area you have fractured, along with swelling.
As with the other two injuries, resting is the best treatment. Ice, strapping and anti-inflammatory medication can also help.
Make sure you have plenty of rest after exercise, and if you do intend to exercise more, make sure you build this up gradually.
If I have any of these injuries, how can I make a valid Personal Injury claim?
As with any personal injury claim, if you have suffered any of these injuries whilst playing tennis, you must prove that the injury is through no fault of your own. Document the accident and any events leading up to that accident. Also make sure you tell staff of an injury if playing on a public or private owned ground so that it can be written up in an accident book.
Stay safe when trying to emulate Andy Murray or Serena Williams – personally, given all these injuries, I will stick to watching tennis rather than playing it!