Girls Can Be Like Venus: The Most Common Tennis Injuries
Posted by Jenn F. on Wednesday, August 21st, 2013
It’s the second qualifying day of the US Open, which is scheduled for August 26th to September 9th this year. No doubt the eyes of every young aspiring tennis pro will be glued to favorites like Serena Williams, who won her first US Open title at age 17. Yet, as we see pros like Venus Williams struggle to overcome physical injuries, we must keep in mind that overuse, not to mention muscle and ligament sprains, are a dangerous part of the game.
Overuse Injuries: Uncommon In Girls’ Tennis
We’ve talked about the most common tennis injuries in the past, but there are special considerations when looking at girls’ tennis. For instance, older tennis players suffer overuse injuries much more frequently than young girls. We don’t see much patellar tendinosis, tennis elbow, or spinal stress fractures. Young bodies tend to bounce back from injury quicker and perhaps they do not have the years of wear-and-tear required to cause these types of injuries. Many young players also cross-train in other sports, so they are less likely to suffer a repetitive motion injury.
Boys vs Girls: Tennis Injuries
Compared to boys, the number of lower extremity injuries is higher for girls. Boys suffer from more abdomen, back and groin injuries, but girls suffer more injuries to the foot, leg, calf, knee and wrist. Boys also injure their backs and shoulders more often than girls, and have a greater incidence of lacerations and contusions. For both boys and girls youth tennis players, strains, inflammation and sprains are most commonly reported.
Tennis Training Matters
In general, young tennis players often suffer from injuries such as:
- Muscle strains
- Ankle sprains
- Hip injuries, and
- Knee cap instability.
“But one injury you rarely see in kids is tennis elbow,” said Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, lead author of a study following young tennis player injuries. “That’s because they learn to hit the ball correctly,” he adds. In his study, he found that the best ways to prevent injuries in young girls was to send them to lessons, avoid overexertion (like playing 10 tournament matches in a row), and work on strengthening / conditioning exercises.
The Importance of Podiatry in Girls’ Tennis
We also penned a post about the state of tennis players’ feet. One New York Times story compared a tennis star’s feet to “fresh hamburger” after a long day of playing. Yuck! Corns, bunions, calluses and (more commonly) blisters can become bad enough to halt game play. Just ask Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic! These things happen!
If you are an avid tennis player, it’s good to find yourself a trusted podiatrist who can take a look at the wear and tear tennis is taking on your feet over the years. Regular exams can help protect you from developing plantar fasciitis heel pain, fallen arches, foot infections, and ankle fractures as the years wear on. Here at our NYC Center for Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine, we specialize in feet, as well as all other types of sports injuries you may incur.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.