Missouri Valley / Iowa

Maximize Your Game

Tammy Arbuckle | April 30, 2020

Are you doing all you can to prevent injuries and stay at peak athletic performance?


May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. The national holiday is an annual observance, designated in 1983 by the President's Council on Fitness, to promote healthy lifestyles among all Americans.


We sat down and talked to Angie Spencer, PT, MSPT, CMPT, CAFS, CCI, owner of Champions Recovery Room and Physical Therapy in Urbandale. Spencer is a physical therapist with nearly 20 years of experience in an outpatient orthopedic physical therapy setting.


“Preventing tennis injuries is important to keeping our tennis athletes healthy and being able to continue their training routine. Many things can be done off the court, reducing the risk of injury,” Spencer said.

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“Stretching and flexibility is important to every tennis player’s performance, as well as good core stability and strength of the upper and lower body. Flexibility and core strength are often overlooked. Doing a proper warm up, including some light stretching before and after every practice or match, while doing another stretching routine, will help keep players’ flexible and agile for the sport of tennis. Stretches to help prevent tennis elbow and shoulder injury should be made a priority, but also remembering your legs need to be stretched as well can help reduce knee and ankle injuries.” 


Training off the court is something not all players make a priority.


“Many tennis players believe the exercise and skills they are practicing on the court are sufficient to reach their top performance. When a player does not train ‘off the court,’ tennis players cannot become well-rounded, strong athletes, which could result in major injuries during a game.”


The right shoe is also important to prevent injuries.


“Many players avoid buying tennis shoes and use running shoes as an alternative. Tennis players need a shoe that supports the foot during the quick side-to-side movements or shifts in weight associated with the game. Buy a shoe that provides stability on the inside and outside of the foot and has ample flexibility in the sole beneath the ball of the foot.”


Following simple tips will help keep you injury-free as you step onto the court. If you do experience pain or injury while playing, a knowledgeable physical therapist can provide you with a rehabilitation program to get you back in the game as soon as possible.

While tennis is an exhilarating game for players and fans alike, many do not realize the extent of injuries that can be caused by playing tennis. Tennis injuries are extremely common, whether you play recreationally, in a weekly league or professionally. Learning how to identify, prevent and heal tennis injuries is crucial if you want your game to be safe and successful.  


Athletic recovery is just as important as your training because it helps reduce muscle soreness caused by a strenuous workout, which can sometimes cause nagging aches and pains that turn into something more involved like an injury from repetitive stress. 


Physical therapists can help with preventative training, athletic recovery, and injury screening and treatment. Many physical therapists, such as those at Champions Recovery Room and Physical Therapy, can also do fittings for custom foot orthotics, perform manipulation of the spine and joints with specialized manual therapy techniques, ACL and hip rehabilitation, work with repetitive stress injuries and sports rehabilitation. 


Celebrate this month (and every month) by keeping physically fit. Children should spend 60 minutes each day doing some type of physical activity and adults should spend 30 minutes daily keeping physically fit. Look for opportunities to be physically active in the workplace, at school and at home.

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