Orthopedic Surgeons Talk Through On-Court Injuries
Mentally and physically, tennis is one of the safest and healthiest activities around.
Strengthens your core.
Helps lower stress.
So on, so on and so on.
But after years of forehands, serves and (of course) those sprints up and down the court, we can all get a little…well, banged up.
So, who better to help talk you through injuries and injury prevention than a doctor who also plays tennis?
“It’s a wonderful sport, but a lot can happen out there,” laughed Dr. Randeep Kahlon, an orthopedic surgeon with First State Orthopaedics (FSO) in Delaware. Dr. Kahlon focuses on shoulder, elbow and hand injuries — meaning he frequently treats tennis-playing patients.
Dr. Kahlon is one of many doctors at FSO who love to compete on the tennis court. He also sees the benefits the sport provides for individuals of all ages.
“I played tennis growing up, about five years ago, I picked it up again full swing,” he said. “I’m loving every minute of it.”
Dr. Kahlon referenced his four Fs of tennis: friendship, fun, flexibility and fitness. He also mentioned the physical benefits tennis brings out in players, which is something he experienced first-hand as he picked the sport back up again.
“As I got back into tennis I was really focused on technique and strategy,” he said. “I think what we overlook are flexibility, endurance and strength. If you put those into your regular tennis preparation, you end up being much healthier and lasting a lot longer.”
Dr. Kahlon suggests that players take part in dynamic stretching before and after matches, keeping the body limber, loose and moving well.
Surgeons Dr. Michael Pushkarewicz and Dr. Jeremie Axe are surgeons at FSO who echoed Dr. Kahlon’s advice. They also join him in an overall love and appreciation for tennis.
“I’ve been playing close to 50 years now,” said Dr. Pushkarewicz. “It’s something you can continue well into your later years. One of my favorite things about tennis is that it’s so much fun, even just to go out and hit. Of course if you’re playing singles, the workout is unbelievable.”
Dr. Pushkarewicz spends much of his time focused on lower-body injuries. The most common?
“The good, old ankle sprain,” he said. “It happens a lot. With so much quick, lateral motion and change of direction, ankle sprains are very common. When they happen, the important thing is not to take it lightly. Respect the injury, put the rehab in, and give yourself the proper time to heal.”
Dr. Axe, a partner and orthopedic surgeon, said he sees tennis players quite often in his practice.
“I enjoy taking care of tennis athletes, as they have a strong desire to return to the sport,” he said.
He referenced three common upper extremity conditions that he often sees in his office. Most apply to younger and middle-aged athletes, and all are related to overuse.
The injuries include lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), biceps tendinitis, and shoulder bursitis.
Now the important part. What can you do about it?
He suggests limiting competitive tennis in back-to-back days, and allowing plenty of rest prior to and after highly competitive events. Rest, in many cases, is underrated by athletes.
“When working out, I also recommend cross-training,” he said. “I do not encourage same body part exercises on back-to-back days and if possible two days of rest in between. Similar to getting ready for matches, proper stretching exercises are encouraged.”
This summer, USTA Middle States is partnering with First State Orthopaedics (FSO) as FSO supports and sponsors USTA League Championships across Delaware. In the coming weeks, keep an eye out for more content about tennis-related injuries, injury prevention and more.