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Love Hurts

Posted on Sep 01, 2017 in Seaside Tennis , Tracy Townsend , September-October 2017

Tennis is a great game. We all know and agree on that. But the game we love can also cause us to experience some pain or soreness from time to time. Most days, I have someone complain of a pain or discomfort with some body part. I am no doctor, but I can sometimes help.

Frequently, pain comes from the elbow. Carpenters are the most common sufferers of tennis elbow, typically brought on by the overuse of a hammer or screwdriver. Those same motions are used over and over by tennis players as well. The spins we create using the elbow and wrist are simply hard on an arm. Over time, our muscles develop and become stronger. We can still strain them occasionally, and this can cause aggravating arm pain.

Some things can be done to help tennis elbow. Make sure you have the proper grip size on your racket. You may need to go up or down in size to best fit your hand. Try loosening your string tension next time you have your racket strung. You can even go to a softer string, which is what I recommend for most all my clients. And above all, check with a pro to make sure your motion is sound and you aren’t going to further injure your arm with a bad swing. Rest is also sometimes mandatory for recovery, though I know most players do not want to hear that.

Knee pain is another common complaint. The pounding and change of direction required in a typical match is more wear and tear than the normal knee is used to. As you train and get in better shape, these pains go away or at least subside. Strength training can help, too. Proper footwear is essential. Make sure you’re wearing tennis shoes that provide support where it’s needed. Shoes wear out, so replace when yours lose their cushion. Playing on a softer surface like the clay courts we have in Seaside are easier on your knees and body as a whole.

And what about your back? Do you think it is normal for a body to turn violently from side to side over and over for a couple of hours? The torque you put on your body with a good tennis swing is rough on a back. Please be sure to stretch before and after each tennis session you have. Try strength training for this area, too. And work on your technique to ensure no further damage is done.

Other pains also arise, and most can be cured with proper training, rest and some common sense. And schedule a lesson with one of our pros to assess your form and improve your comfort. Hope to see you on the courts soon, and please do tell us of your pains. Sometimes, we can actually help. c

Tracy Townsend is the Director of Tennis at Seaside. A resort tennis expert, his company 30A Tennis manages Seaside Tennis on behalf of Seaside Community Development Corp. You can reach him at or call (850) 231-2214. For news, events and court conditions, find Seaside Tennis on Facebook.

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