Tennis Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Chicago

Competitive and recreational tennis players devote a lot of time to the court, leading to many other common tennis injuries and overuse injuries.

This sport involves many repetitive arm movements during both the serve and throughout the game, it is a sport that requires a significant amount of agility, frequent running, and coordination.

During the game, the body must change directions quickly while coordinating upper-body and lower-body movements. This requires a combination of leg, core, and upper body strength, stability, and power to execute movement efficiently, as the body fatigues, movement patterns change, which can lead to injury.

physical therapy tennis injury

Our goal at In Motion PT Chicago is to help tennis players of all levels prevent and recover from injuries while improving their performance on the court and practice more. As a Doctor of Physical Therapy and player, Dr. Lauren Schnidman understands that tennis is a physically demanding sport and that injuries related to tennis can be frustrating and debilitating.

Some common tennis injuries we treat include:

  1. Tennis elbow: Pain is experienced on the outside of the elbow often as a result of repetitive use of the forearm muscles used in tennis strokes.

  2. Shoulder impingement: There is pain and sometimes weakness in the shoulder caused by repetitive overhead movements like serving; often patients will have difficulty raising their arms above their head.

  3. Rotator cuff tendinitis: This is very common in tennis players and is caused by degenerative changes or inflammation in the tendons joining the shoulder blade muscles to the arm bone. This will rarely improve without physical therapy, so it is important if you think you have rotator cuff tendonitis to seek the help of a sports physical therapist.

  4. Ankle sprains: Damage to the ligaments in the ankle, often caused by sudden changes in direction or uneven terrain on the court.

  5. Knee tendinitis: Inflammation and feeling pain in the tendons that connect the knee muscles to the bone, caused by repetitive running and jumping.

  6. Plantar fasciitis: Pain in the bottom of the foot caused by overuse and excessive strain on the plantar fascia tissue; can occur because of problems such as tight calf muscles, overpronation of the foot, and unsupportive footwear.

  7. Hamstring strains: Microtears or a tear of the muscle(s) at the back of the thigh, caused by sudden acceleration or deceleration that occurs in tennis.

  8. Groin strains: Microtears or a tear in the muscle(s) located in the inner thigh region, caused by sudden changes of direction leading to overstretching of the muscles.

  9. Low back pain: Pain in the lower back caused by lack of spinal mobility, improper use during the tennis serve, or quick twisting movements with tennis strokes.

Tennis Injuries Assessment and Treatment Plan

Manual therapy: Hands-on techniques that aims to move, stretch, or manipulate soft tissue and joints, reduce discomfort, and improve range of motion.

Therapeutic exercise: Customized exercises to improve strength, flexibility, and stability, that address muscle imbalances, joint restrictions, and decreased flexibility.

Taping and bracing: The use of athletic tape, kinesiotape, and leukotape to provide support and stability to injured areas.

Education and advice: Guidance on proper technique and tennis movement patterns, warm-up exercises, proper conditioning, and other measures to prevent future tennis injuries.

At our Lincoln Park PT clinic, we specialize in helping tennis players recover from their injuries and perform at their best.

Common Tennis Injuries & Treatments

Tennis elbow treatment:

This injury can cause a sharp pain on the outside of your elbow that can be exacerbated by gripping or lifting one arm, both of which are required when playing tennis. When experiencing this type of injury, it is understandably frustrating to feel limited in your ability to play tennis, this is frequently due to repetitive motions and excessive overhead serving.

We use a variety of techniques to treat tennis elbow, including strengthening and stretching exercises and manual therapy including gua-sha, and cross-friction massage. We will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses the root cause of your injury and helps you get back to playing tennis free of those irritating pains.

Shoulder impingement rehab:

Shoulder impingement can cause a dull ache or sharp pain in the shoulder, making it difficult to lift or rotate your arm. This can be especially difficult for tennis players who rely on their shoulders and these motions for their tennis swing, especially for performing serves and overhead shots.

We can help by using manual therapy to reposition and manipulate the shoulder joint and rotator cuff muscles, as well as prescribe exercises and functional movement training to improve strength and flexibility. We may also encourage you to use modalities such as heat or cold therapy at home to reduce discomfort and inflammation.

Knee pain treatment:

Knee injuries can range from a mild ache to a sharp, stabbing pain, and can be caused by a variety of factors including overuse, improper technique, or an acute injury.

We can help by performing a thorough assessment of your knee and developing customized treatments that may include hip strengthening exercises, knee mobility exercises, manual therapy, and education on proper technique to prevent future injuries.

Ankle injury rehab:

Ankle injuries can range from a mild ankle sprain to a more severe ligament tear, and can cause discomfort, swelling, and difficulty walking or running to chase the tennis ball on the court.

We can help by performing hands-on treatment such as manipulating the soft tissue around the ankle to get the ankle moving better. Our physical therapists will also prescribe exercises to improve ankle stability and leg strength. Finally, education is provided fo proper taping or bracing techniques to support the ankle on the courts.

Plantar fasciitis treatment:

Plantar fasciitis can cause a sharp pain in the bottom of the foot, especially with the first steps in the morning or after a period of inactivity. It can be frustrating to experience this type of pain, especially for tennis players who rely on quick, explosive movements on the court.

Our physical therapists will help our athletes with an exercise plan to improve foot and calf strength, manual therapy to mobilize and manipulate the foot and ankle, and stretching to improve calf flexibility. This will often involve balance training.

At our clinic, we are committed to providing individualized and sports-specific care to help you recover from your tennis injury and get back to playing the game even better than you were before. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and start your journey toward optimal health and performance on the court.

Certified Tennis Performance Specialist

Lauren Schnidman is a certified tennis performance specialist, certified by the International Tennis Performance Association (iTPA), and is a recreational tennis player in Chicago. The In Motion PT Studio has the appropriate equipment to help with your new conditioning program. When returning to playing you will have a plan that will help you to reduce injuries and return to top performance quickly and safely without medical attention.

In addition, because of the common movement patterns that occur during play, tennis players are at a higher risk for muscle imbalances and asymmetries. Upon evaluation, your physical therapist will identify these imbalances which can lead to faulty movement patterns and injury.

A neuromuscular retraining program (a program that helps retrain the proper muscles to fire at the right time) will be initiated as you progress.

At In Motion Physical Therapy, your PT will work with you during treatment to decrease the pain associated with your tennis injury and restore your mobility and function to get you back on the court as quickly as possible.

Concerned about a tennis-related injury or interested in a scapular analysis and strengthening program to prevent future injury?


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