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Tennis Players and Hip Injuries: An Article Review

Brittany Laxton PT, DPT


Current tennis specific research frequently focuses on injuries and injury prevention of the upper extremity. However, the repetitive loading of joints does not just occur in the wrist, elbow and shoulder. Tennis requires multidirectional movements and asymmetrical rotations of the lower extremity and should be considered [1].


A recent article was published by The Journal of Physical Therapy in Sports discussing tennis-related range of motion alterations of the lower extremity. The article, “Descriptive Profile of Hip Range of Motions in Elite Tennis Players”, used two physical therapists to administer passive measurements of hip flexion, hip abduction, and passive

and active hip internal and external rotation in order to compare the difference between sex (males vs. females) and hip (dominant vs. non-dominant) [1].


After analyzing and comparing 109 professional and/or nationally ranked tennis players (81 males and 28 females) it was concluded that there is a statistically significant difference between a tennis player’s dominant and non-dominant hip flexion and abduction range of motion in both sexes and hip internal rotation in males [1]. The article states that one of the possible reason tennis players, both male and female, have hip flexion and abduction tightness could be explained by the on-court body positions adopted by players, the “low and ready position” for power generation during ground strokes [2].


The results found in this study emphasize that elite level tennis athletes may develop asymmetric adaptations in the lower extremities. It further suggests the importance of passive stretching of the lower extremity, specifically the hip flexors, abductors and extensors in order to avoid a pre-disposition to injury [1].


Tennis medicine providers should evaluate their tennis athletes for asymmetric changes in the lower extremities and should assist athletes in developing a regular stretching and strengthening program for injury prevention.


REFERENCES:

  1. Moreno-Perez, V., Ayala, F., Fernandez-Fernandez, J., Vera-Garcia, F.J., Descriptive profile of hip range of motions in elite tennis players, Physical Therapy in Sports (2015), doi:10.1016/j.ptsp.2015.10.005.

  2. Kovacs MS. Applied physiology of tennis performance. Br J Sports Med. 2006;40(5):381-5.

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