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How To Manage Shoulder Injuries in Tennis Players

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The shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in the body. The repetitive overhead motion when hitting the ball is highly unnatural and could exceed the limit of the joint. Over time, this could lead to trauma of the structures in and around the shoulder. Thus, a tennis player should not just be mindful of the risks, but also follow safety tips to prevent any injury.

Around ⅔ of these injuries are caused by overuse, which means the joint has been repeatedly subjected to movements beyond its physiological capability. And while the physical activity itself already puts you at risk, you can still minimize it by following safety precautions.

What are the common injuries in tennis players?


1. Subacromial bursitis

This is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain. It happens when there’s an inflammation of the large bursa located at the top of your shoulder. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac, which serves as a cushion in the joint to reduce the friction in the shoulder spaces. 

This condition is characterized by stiffness, tenderness and pain, especially when trying to reach your arm overhead. If it’s too severe, you may not be able to move your shoulder even slightly. 

2. Rotator cuff tears

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that provides strength and stability when moving your shoulder. Rotator cuff tears may happen as a result of the repetitive movement required when playing tennis, or a single traumatic event. 

This condition is characterized by a dull ache in your shoulder, which may be accompanied by weakness. The pain gets worse if you try to sleep on the affected side.

3. Glenoid labrum injury

This occurs when there’s a tear in the cartilage surrounding the socket in your shoulder. Some of the symptoms include pain, catching, grinding or locking sensation, weakness, and decreased range of motion. 

4. Shoulder dislocation

Whether it’s a partial, or complete dislocation, there will be instability and pain in your shoulder. It will be accompanied by bruising, deformity, weakness, numbness and swelling. 

5. Stress fracture

Depending on the severity, you may be left with permanent shoulder stiffness even after you have fully recovered. This could also affect your performance.

6. Muscle strain

Aside from the pain, redness, bruising and swelling, you may also be unable to move your shoulder at all. 


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Home Management of Shoulder Injuries


1. Rest your affected shoulder to speed up the recovery process. You may be required by your physician to avoid playing tennis for a few weeks or months, depending on the severity of your injury.

2. Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatories for pain. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Consult your doctor if the pain has not been reduced within a week.

3. Use a cold compress to help ease the pain and discomfort. You can simply use a bag of frozen corn, or peas and wrap it in cloth before putting it on your injured shoulder. You can do this several times a day, but make sure you don’t use it for more that15 minutes at a time.

4. Immobilization is also recommended aside from merely resting the affected area. In the case of some injuries, you will be required to wear a sling or brace.

5. With the help of a physical and an occupational therapist, you will have to perform strengthening and other rehabilitation exercises to further boost the muscle healing. 


When do you need to visit our occupational therapy clinic in Miami?

While the majority of shoulder injuries can heal with non-surgical treatments, others may require a more aggressive approach. Even so, most of these conditions are not only painful, but they can also affect your daily activities and career as an athlete.

If you are not sure how you can manage your daily activities following a shoulder injury, a trip to Hands on Therapy miami occupational therapy clinic can be beneficial for you. Our qualified occupational therapists are here to help you optimally manage your injury and improve your quality of life. 


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Miami occupational therapy – your trusted health care provider for shoulder injuries

Anyone with a shoulder injury should consider calling a doctor, or seek medical attention. If medical attention is delayed, the potential for devastating and sometimes irreversible injuries increases greatly. The primary goal with injuries to the shoulder is a rapid and accurate initial evaluation followed by appropriate treatment.


The treatment provided in our occupational therapy clinic in Miami leads to pain relief, shorter treatment duration, improved treatment results, and decreased indirect expenses resulting from the injury. For inquiries, Contact Us.


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

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