Preventing Platform Tennis Injuries


CHICAGO, Ill. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Platform tennis is a popular sport among older adults. It’s a fun way to stay in shape, but new research shows injuries are common in those who play the game. Learn why players are getting hurt and how you can prevent an injury.

Swinging … running … competing … Platform tennis is a great way for people of all ages to stay in shape and socialize.

Ita Sih says, “It’s so much fun! It’s such a fun game.”

Eric Pitcher agrees, “It’s great comradery, too.”

But injuries have sidelined both of these platform tennis enthusiasts.

Sih continued, “I felt a pop in the back of my leg and then a lot of pain.”

Pitcher added, “All of a sudden, I couldn’t swing my right arm.”

The first ever national study of platform tennis injuries found 66 percent of players say they’ve suffered an injury from the sport. And more than half have had two or more injuries.

“It’s usually played by people in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s who may have some underlying wear and tear to begin with,” said Julia Bruene, MD, Sports Medicine Physician at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.

The most common: shin and calf, knee, elbow, ankle, and shoulder injuries. And most of them are caused by preventable problems, such as not warming up.

Leda Ghannad, MD, Sports Medicine Physician at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, encourages, “Performing a dynamic warm-up is very helpful, so that means moving all the joints and muscles into a full range of motion before you play for at least ten minutes.”

Experts also recommend static stretching after a work-out to improve flexibility. Cross-training between play can help strengthen muscles and lower the risk of injuries. Specific exercises can target different body parts. For instance, this one can help prevent a calf strain. Also, don’t forget to drink plenty of water while you play. Simple steps to help you play ball.

Another reason experts believe platform tennis players are at an increased risk for injuries is that the game is played outdoors, usually during cold weather months. Muscles and tendons are typically more prone to injuries if they’re cold.

Contributors to this news report include: John Cherry and Julie Marks, Field Producers; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT #2595

BACKGROUND: The first ever national study of platform tennis injuries revealed 66 percent of players say they sustained an injury from playing the game. The study also found that of the platform tennis players reporting an injury, more than half sustained two or more. The most common conditions reported were tennis elbow, calf strain, meniscus tear, ankle sprain, and rotator cuff injuries. Sixty percent of the injuries were caused by overuse and 40 percent were due to an incident that occurred during play. Platform tennis is similar to tennis but is played outside in the winter on a small, elevated court surrounded by a screen. Courts are heated from underneath to clear snow and ice. Most participants are between the ages of 40 and 65. “Platform tennis is a great way to get exercise in the winter and I don’t want to discourage anyone from playing it,” explains Leda Ghannad, MD, a sports medicine physician at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. “However, because of the high injury rate, it is critical to incorporate warm up exercises and prevention strategies into your routine,” continued Dr. Ghannad.PREVENTING PLATFORM TENNIS INJURIES
REPORT #2595


COMMON TREATMENT: A regular cryotherapy regimen will help prevent injuries like tennis and golf elbow by maintaining a low-inflammatory environment throughout the body. Cryotherapy is the most long-standing and common form of treatment using ice or cold packs to injuries to cause blood vessels to constrict, which reduces blood flow and alleviates pain, swelling and inflammation. While there is still some debate over the longer-term effects on healing, such localized cryotherapy certainly seems to have clear short-term benefits and has long been standard practice among health professionals. Cryotherapy has been shown to accelerate healing so micro-tears, strains and exertion will not lead to serious injuries. If you are active or engage in activities that stress and strain your body, cryotherapy can help prevent injuries. You must address the inflammation as quickly as possible to ensure a complete recovery.

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EMERGING TRENDS FOR ATHLETE RECOVERY: An emerging trend for athlete recovery is the renewed interest of sports-injury specialists in modifying older methods of rehabilitation. This approach looks at tweaking the basics as opposed to going back to the basics. For example, classic modalities, such as cryotherapy and compression are often applied using a one-and-done approach immediately after an injury. Although cryotherapy sessions vary on time, frequent reapplications may be beneficial if done over a period of six hours. Research also suggests that broadening the area of therapy might accelerate healing. As noted in Muscles, Ligaments, and Tendons Journal, “Placing all of the emphasis in the rehabilitation specifically on the injured muscle might not be as beneficial as envisioned previously.” The renewed interest in classic modalities does not eliminate the need for newer technologies. One of the driving factors in the renewed attention on traditional, non-surgical techniques has been the aging population. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that in a five-year period, for Americans age 65 and older, sports injuries rose 54 percent. Both doctors and patients are motivated to avoid costly hospital treatments. This has led to an increase in demand for non-pharmacological and non-surgical treatment options.


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